Culture

The concept of a “confirmation loop” in psychology is a critical element to understand in the contexts of media literacy, disinformation, and political ideologies. It operates on the basic human tendency to seek out, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one’s preexisting beliefs or hypotheses, known as confirmation bias. This bias is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning that affects the decisions and judgments that people make.

Understanding the confirmation loop

A confirmation loop occurs when confirmation bias is reinforced in a cyclical manner, often exacerbated by the selective exposure to information that aligns with one’s existing beliefs. In the digital age, this is particularly prevalent due to the echo chambers created by online social networks and personalized content algorithms.

These technologies tend to present us with information that aligns with our existing views, thus creating a loop where our beliefs are constantly confirmed, and alternative viewpoints are rarely encountered. This can solidify and deepen convictions, making individuals more susceptible to disinformation and conspiracy theories, and less tolerant of opposing viewpoints.

Media literacy and disinformation

Media literacy is the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they’re sending. It’s crucial in breaking the confirmation loop as it involves critically evaluating sources of information, their purposes, and their impacts on our thoughts and beliefs.

With the rise of digital media, individuals are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information, making it challenging to distinguish between credible information and disinformation. It is paramount to find your own set of credible sources, and verify the ethics and integrity of new sources you come across.

Disinformation, or false information deliberately spread to deceive people, thrives in an environment where confirmation loops are strong. Individuals trapped in confirmation loops are more likely to accept information that aligns with their preexisting beliefs without scrutinizing its credibility. This makes disinformation a powerful tool in manipulating public opinion, especially in politically charged environments.

Political ideologies

The impact of confirmation loops on political ideologies cannot be overstated. Political beliefs are deeply held and can significantly influence how information is perceived and processed.

When individuals only consume media that aligns with their political beliefs, they’re in a confirmation loop that can reinforce partisan views and deepen divides. This is particularly concerning in democratic societies where informed and diverse opinions are essential for healthy political discourse.

Operation of the confirmation loop

The operation of the confirmation loop can be seen in various everyday situations. For instance, a person might exclusively watch news channels that reflect their political leanings, follow like-minded individuals on social media, and participate in online forums that share their viewpoints.

Algorithms on many platforms like Facebook and Twitter (X) detect these preferences and continue to feed similar content, thus reinforcing the loop. Over time, this can result in a narrowed perspective, where alternative viewpoints are not just ignored but may also be actively discredited or mocked.

Becoming more aware and breaking the loop

Becoming more aware of confirmation loops and working to break them is essential for fostering open-mindedness and reducing susceptibility to disinformation. Here are several strategies to achieve this:

  1. Diversify Information Sources: Actively seek out and engage with credible sources of information that offer differing viewpoints. This can help broaden your perspective and challenge your preconceived notions.
  2. Critical Thinking: Develop critical thinking skills to analyze and question the information you encounter. Look for evidence, check sources, and consider the purpose and potential biases behind the information.
  3. Media Literacy Education: Invest time in learning about media literacy. Understanding how media is created, its various forms, and its impact can help you navigate information more effectively.
  4. Reflect on Biases: Regularly reflect on your own biases and consider how they might be affecting your interpretation of information. Self-awareness is a crucial step in mitigating the impact of confirmation loops.
  5. Engage in Constructive Dialogue: Engage in respectful and constructive dialogues with individuals who hold different viewpoints. This can expose you to new perspectives and reduce the polarization exacerbated by confirmation loops.

The confirmation loop is a powerful psychological phenomenon that plays a significant role in shaping our beliefs and perceptions, especially in the context of media literacy, disinformation, and political ideologies. By understanding how it operates and actively working to mitigate its effects, individuals can become more informed, open-minded, and resilient against disinformation.

The path toward breaking the confirmation loop involves a conscious effort to engage with diverse information sources, practice critical thinking, and foster an environment of open and respectful discourse.

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The concept of ego defenses, also known simply as defense mechanisms, is fundamental in the field of psychology, particularly within the psychoanalytic framework established by Sigmund Freud and further developed by his daughter Anna Freud and other psychoanalysts. These mechanisms are subconscious safeguards that protect individuals from anxiety and the awareness of internal or external dangers or stressors.

Understanding ego defense mechanisms

Ego defenses operate at a psychological level to help manage the conflicts between internal impulses and external reality. They often work by distorting, transforming, or somehow denying reality. While these mechanisms can vary widely in terms of their sophistication and the level of distortion they involve, all serve the primary function of reducing emotional distress.

Some common defense mechanisms include:

  • Denial: Refusing to accept reality because it is too painful or difficult to face.
  • Repression: Unconsciously blocking unacceptable thoughts or desires from consciousness.
  • Projection: Attributing one’s own unacceptable thoughts or feelings to others.
  • Rationalization: Creating a seemingly logical reason for behavior that might otherwise be shameful.
  • Displacement: Redirecting emotions from a ‘dangerous’ object to a ‘safe’ one.
  • Regression: Reverting to behavior characteristic of an earlier stage of development when confronted with stress.

These mechanisms aren’t inherently bad; they can be essential for coping with stress and can be adaptive in many circumstances. However, when overused or used inappropriately, they can lead to unhealthy patterns and psychological distress.

Ego defense mechanisms and disinformation

When it comes to disinformation, conspiracy theories, and extremist ideologies, ego defenses play a crucial role in how individuals process and react to information that conflicts with their existing beliefs or worldviews. This intersection is particularly apparent in the phenomena of denial, projection, and rationalization.

  1. Denial comes into play when individuals refuse to accept verified facts because these facts are uncomfortable or threatening to their pre-existing views or sense of self. For example, someone might deny the impacts of climate change because acknowledging it would necessitate uncomfortable changes in their lifestyle or worldview.
  2. Projection is evident when individuals attribute malicious intent or undesirable traits to others rather than recognizing them in themselves. In the realm of conspiracy theories, this can manifest as accusing various groups or organizations of conspiring for control, thereby projecting one’s own feelings of vulnerability or distrust.
  3. Rationalization allows individuals to justify belief in disinformation or extremist ideologies by providing reasonable but false explanations for these beliefs. This can often involve elaborate justifications for why certain pieces of disinformation fit into their broader understanding of the world, despite clear evidence to the contrary.

The psychological appeal of extremist ideologies

Extremist ideologies often provide a sense of certainty, control, and identity, all of which are deeply appealing on a psychological level, particularly for individuals feeling disconnected or powerless. These ideologies can effectively reduce psychological discomfort by providing simple, albeit inaccurate, explanations for complex social or personal issues.

How ego defenses facilitate belief in extremist ideologies

Ego defenses facilitate adherence to extremist ideologies by allowing individuals to:

  • Avoid cognitive dissonance: Maintaining a consistent belief system, even if it’s flawed, helps avoid the discomfort of conflicting beliefs.
  • Feel part of a group: Aligning with a group that shares oneโ€™s defensive strategies can reinforce a sense of belonging and identity.
  • Displace emotions: Directing negative emotions towards ‘out-groups’ or perceived enemies rather than dealing with personal issues or societal complexities.

Ego defenses keep false beliefs “sticky”

Ego defenses are not only fundamental to personal psychological functioning but also play a significant role in how people interact with and are influenced by broader societal narratives. Understanding the role of these mechanisms in the context of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and extremist ideologies is crucial for addressing these issues effectively. This understanding helps illuminate why such beliefs are appealing and resistant to change, highlighting the need for approaches that address underlying psychological needs and defenses.

Knowing the power of ego defenses helps explain why we shouldn’t expect people to part with their strongly-held false beliefs based on simple exposure to actual facts or corrective information — there is often something much deeper going on. In fact, confronting a conspiracy theorist or extremist with contradictory facts or information can often lead to a backfire effect, where the individual comes away more strongly committed to their false beliefs than they were before.

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Fact-checking is a critical process used in journalism to verify the factual accuracy of information before it’s published or broadcast. This practice is key to maintaining the credibility and ethical standards of journalism and media as reliable information sources. It involves checking statements, claims, and data in various media forms for accuracy and context.

Ethical standards in fact-checking

The ethical backbone of fact-checking lies in journalistic integrity, emphasizing accuracy, fairness, and impartiality. Accuracy ensures information is cross-checked with credible sources. Fairness mandates balanced presentation, and impartiality requires fact-checkers to remain as unbiased in their evaluations as humanly possible.

To evaluate a media source’s credibility, look for a masthead, mission statement, about page, or ethics statement that explains the publication’s approach to journalism. Without a stated commitment to journalistic ethics and standards, it’s entirely possible the website or outlet is publishing opinion and/or unverified claims.

Fact-checking in the U.S.: A historical perspective

Fact-checking in the U.S. has evolved alongside journalism. The rise of investigative journalism in the early 20th century highlighted the need for thorough research and factual accuracy. However, recent developments in digital and social media have introduced significant challenges.

Challenges from disinformation and propaganda

The digital era has seen an explosion of disinformation and propaganda, particularly on social media. ‘Fake news‘, a term now synonymous with fabricated or distorted stories, poses a significant hurdle for fact-checkers. The difficulty lies not only in the volume of information but also in the sophisticated methods used to spread falsehoods, such as deepfakes and doctored media.

Bias and trust issues in fact-checking

The subjectivity of fact-checkers has been scrutinized, with some suggesting that personal or organizational biases might influence their work. This perception has led to a trust deficit in certain circles, where fact-checking itself is viewed as potentially politically or ideologically motivated.

Despite challenges, fact-checking remains crucial for journalism. Future efforts may involve leveraging technology like AI for assistance, though human judgment is still essential. The ongoing battle against disinformation will require innovation, collaboration with tech platforms, transparency in the fact-checking process, and public education in media literacy.

Fact-checking stands as a vital element of journalistic integrity and a bulwark against disinformation and propaganda. In the U.S., and globally, the commitment to factual accuracy is fundamental for a functioning democracy and an informed society. Upholding these standards helps protect the credibility of the media and trusted authorities, and supports the fundamental role of journalism in maintaining an informed public and a healthy democracy.

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In this post, we dive deep into the heart of American political tradition by presenting a complete collection of first presidential inaugural address speeches that have shaped the United States from its inception to the present day. Each speech, a time capsule of its era, is summarized up front (with a link to the full text) to highlight the core messages, visions, and promises made by the presidents at the dawn of their administrations during their first (or singular) inaugural address.

Accompanying these summaries, we’ve included visual opportunities to get a sense of the inauguration speeches “at a glance,” via word clouds and histograms. These are generated from the text of the speeches themselves, to offer a uniquely infovisual perspective on the recurring themes, values, and priorities that resonate through America’s history.

One of the earliest Presidential inaugural speeches, as imagined by Midjourney

Understanding our history is not just about recounting events; it’s about connecting with the voices that have guided the nation’s trajectory at each pivotal moment. These speeches are more than formalities; they are declarations of intent, reflections of the societal context, and blueprints for the future, delivered at the crossroads of past achievements and future aspirations.

By exploring these speeches, we not only gain insight into the leadership styles and political climates of each period but also engage with the evolving identity of America itself. We can compare the use of language by different presidents in a way that reflects both shifting trends in culture and geopolitics as well as the character and vision of the leaders themselves.

This collection serves as a vital resource for anyone looking to grasp the essence of American political evolution and the enduring principles that continue to inform its path forward.

George Washington inaugural address (1789)

Washington speech summary

George Washington’s inaugural speech, delivered in New York City on April 30, 1789, reflects his reluctance and humility in accepting the presidency. He expresses deep gratitude for the trust placed in him by his fellow citizens and acknowledges his own perceived inadequacies for the monumental task ahead.

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The concept of cherry-picking refers to the practice of selectively choosing data or facts that support one’s argument while ignoring those that may contradict it. This method is widely recognized not just as a logical fallacy but also as a technique commonly employed in the dissemination of disinformation. Cherry-picking can significantly impact the way information is understood and can influence political ideology, public opinion, and policy making.

Cherry-picking and disinformation

Disinformation, broadly defined, is false or misleading information that is spread deliberately, often to deceive or mislead the public. Cherry-picking plays a crucial role in the creation and propagation of disinformation.

By focusing only on certain pieces of evidence while excluding others, individuals or entities can create a skewed or entirely false narrative. This manipulation of facts is particularly effective because the information presented can be entirely true in isolation, making the deceit harder to detect. In the realm of disinformation, cherry-picking is a tool to shape perceptions, create false equivalencies, and undermine credible sources of information.

The role of cherry-picking in political ideology

Political ideologies are comprehensive sets of ethical ideals, principles, doctrines, myths, or symbols of a social movement, institution, class, or large group that explains how society should work. Cherry-picking can significantly influence political ideologies by providing a biased view of facts that aligns with specific beliefs or policies.

This biased information can reinforce existing beliefs, creating echo chambers where individuals are exposed only to viewpoints similar to their own. The practice can deepen political divisions, making it more challenging for individuals with differing viewpoints to find common ground or engage in constructive dialogue.

Counteracting cherry-picking

Identifying and countering cherry-picking requires a critical approach to information consumption and sharing. Here are several strategies:

  1. Diversify Information Sources: One of the most effective ways to recognize cherry-picking is by consuming information from a wide range of sources. This diversity of trustworthy sources helps in comparing different viewpoints and identifying when certain facts are being omitted or overly emphasized.
  2. Fact-Checking and Research: Before accepting or sharing information, it’s essential to verify the facts. Use reputable fact-checking organizations and consult multiple sources to get a fuller picture of the issue at hand.
  3. Critical Thinking: Develop the habit of critically assessing the information you come across. Ask yourself whether the evidence supports the conclusion, what might be missing, and whether the sources are credible.
  4. Educate About Logical Fallacies: Understanding and educating others about logical fallacies, like cherry-picking, can help people recognize when they’re being manipulated. This knowledge can foster healthier public discourse and empower individuals to demand more from their information sources.
  5. Promote Media Literacy: Advocating for media literacy education can equip people with the skills needed to critically evaluate information sources, understand media messages, and recognize bias and manipulation, including cherry-picking.
  6. Encourage Open Dialogue: Encouraging open, respectful dialogue between individuals with differing viewpoints can help combat the effects of cherry-picking. By engaging in conversations that consider multiple perspectives, individuals can bridge the gap between divergent ideologies and find common ground.
  7. Support Transparent Reporting: Advocating for and supporting media outlets that prioritize transparency, accountability, and comprehensive reporting can help reduce the impact of cherry-picking. Encourage media consumers to support organizations that make their sources and methodologies clear.

Cherry-picking is a powerful tool in the dissemination of disinformation and in shaping political ideologies. Its ability to subtly manipulate perceptions makes it a significant challenge to open, informed public discourse.

By promoting critical thinking, media literacy, and the consumption of a diverse range of information, individuals can become more adept at identifying and countering cherry-picked information. The fight against disinformation and the promotion of a well-informed public require vigilance, education, and a commitment to truth and transparency.

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Stochastic terrorism is a term that has emerged in the lexicon of political and social analysis to describe a method of inciting violence indirectly through the use of mass communication. This concept is predicated on the principle that while not everyone in an audience will act on violent rhetoric, a small percentage might.

The term “stochastic” refers to a process that is randomly determined; it implies that the specific outcomes are unpredictable, yet the overall distribution of these outcomes follows a pattern that can be statistically analyzed. In the context of stochastic terrorism, it means that while it is uncertain who will act on incendiary messages and violent political rhetoric, it is almost certain that someone will.

The nature of stochastic terrorism

Stochastic terrorism involves the dissemination of public statements, whether through speeches, social media, or traditional media, that incite violence. The individuals or entities spreading such rhetoric may not directly call for political violence. Instead, they create an atmosphere charged with tension and hostility, suggesting that action must be taken against a perceived threat or enemy. This indirect incitement provides plausible deniability, as those who broadcast the messages can claim they never explicitly advocated for violence.

Prominent stochastic terrorism examples

The following are just a few notable illustrative examples of stochastic terrorism:

  1. The Oklahoma City Bombing (1995): Timothy McVeigh, influenced by extremist anti-government rhetoric, the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff, and the 1993 siege at Waco, Texas, detonated a truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, killing 168 people. This act was fueled by ideologies that demonized the federal government, highlighting how extremism and extremist propaganda can inspire individuals to commit acts of terror.
  2. The Oslo and Utรธya Attacks (2011): Anders Behring Breivik, driven by anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant beliefs, bombed government buildings in Oslo, Norway, then shot and killed 69 people at a youth camp on the island of Utรธya. Breivik’s manifesto cited many sources that painted Islam and multiculturalism as existential threats to Europe, showing the deadly impact of extremist online echo chambers and the pathology of right-wing ideologies such as Great Replacement Theory.
  3. The Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting (2018): Robert Bowers, influenced by white supremacist ideologies and conspiracy theories about migrant caravans, killed 11 worshippers in a synagogue. His actions were preceded by social media posts that echoed hate speech and conspiracy theories rampant in certain online communities, demonstrating the lethal consequences of unmoderated hateful rhetoric.
  4. The El Paso Shooting (2019): Patrick Crusius targeted a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 23 people, motivated by anti-immigrant sentiment and rhetoric about a “Hispanic invasion” of Texas. His manifesto mirrored language used in certain media and political discourse, underscoring the danger of using dehumanizing language against minority groups.
  5. Christchurch Mosque Shootings (2019): Brenton Tarrant live-streamed his attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people, influenced by white supremacist beliefs and online forums that amplified Islamophobic rhetoric. The attacker’s manifesto and online activity were steeped in extremist content, illustrating the role of internet subcultures in radicalizing individuals.

Stochastic terrorism in right-wing politics in the US

In the United States, the concept of stochastic terrorism has become increasingly relevant in analyzing the tactics employed by certain right-wing entities and individuals. While the phenomenon is not exclusive to any single political spectrum, recent years have seen notable instances where right-wing rhetoric has been linked to acts of violence.

The January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol serves as a stark example of stochastic terrorism. The event was preceded by months of unfounded claims of electoral fraud and calls to “stop the steal,” amplified by right-wing media outlets and figures — including then-President Trump who had extraordinary motivation to portray his 2020 election loss as a victory in order to stay in power. This rhetoric created a charged environment, leading some individuals to believe that violent action was a justified response to defend democracy.

The role of media and technology

Right-wing media platforms have played a significant role in amplifying messages that could potentially incite stochastic terrorism. Through the strategic use of incendiary language, disinformation, misinformation, and conspiracy theories, these platforms have the power to reach vast audiences and influence susceptible individuals to commit acts of violence.

The advent of social media has further complicated the landscape, enabling the rapid spread of extremist rhetoric. The decentralized nature of these platforms allows for the creation of echo chambers where inflammatory messages are not only amplified but also go unchallenged, increasing the risk of radicalization.

Challenges and implications

Stochastic terrorism presents significant legal and societal challenges. The indirect nature of incitement complicates efforts to hold individuals accountable for the violence that their rhetoric may inspire. Moreover, the phenomenon raises critical questions about the balance between free speech and the prevention of violence, challenging societies to find ways to protect democratic values while preventing harm.

Moving forward

Addressing stochastic terrorism requires a multifaceted approach. This includes promoting responsible speech among public figures, enhancing critical thinking and media literacy among the public, and developing legal and regulatory frameworks that can effectively address the unique challenges posed by this form of terrorism. Ultimately, combating stochastic terrorism is not just about preventing violence; it’s about preserving the integrity of democratic societies and ensuring that public discourse does not become a catalyst for harm.

Understanding and mitigating the effects of stochastic terrorism is crucial in today’s increasingly polarized world. By recognizing the patterns and mechanisms through which violence is indirectly incited, societies can work towards more cohesive and peaceful discourse, ensuring that democracy is protected from the forces that seek to undermine it through fear and division.

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Microtargeting is a marketing and political strategy that leverages data analytics to deliver customized messages to specific groups within a larger population. This approach has become increasingly prevalent in the realms of digital media and advertising, and its influence on political campaigns has grown significantly.

Understanding microtargeting

Microtargeting begins with the collection and analysis of vast amounts of data about individuals. This data can include demographics (age, gender, income), psychographics (interests, habits, values), and behaviors (purchase history, online activity). By analyzing this data, organizations can identify small, specific groups of people who share common characteristics or interests. The next step involves crafting tailored messages that resonate with these groups, significantly increasing the likelihood of engagement compared to broad, one-size-fits-all communications.

Microtargeting and digital media

Digital media platforms, with their treasure troves of user data, have become the primary arenas for microtargeting. Social media networks, search engines, and websites collect extensive information on user behavior, preferences, and interactions. This data enables advertisers and organizations to identify and segment their audiences with remarkable precision.

Microtargeting, by Midjourney

Digital platforms offer sophisticated tools that allow for the delivery of customized content directly to individuals or narrowly defined groups, ensuring that the message is relevant and appealing to each recipient. The interactive nature of digital media also provides immediate feedback, allowing for the refinement of targeting strategies in real time.

Application in advertising

In the advertising domain, microtargeting has revolutionized how brands connect with consumers. Rather than casting a wide net with generic advertisements, companies can now send personalized messages that speak directly to the needs and desires of their target audience. This approach can improve the effectiveness of advertising campaigns — but comes with a tradeoff in terms of user data privacy.

Microtargeted ads can appear on social media feeds, as search engine results, within mobile apps, or as personalized email campaigns, making them a versatile tool for marketers. Thanks to growing awareness of the data privacy implications — including the passage of regulations including the GDPR, CCPA, DMA and others — users are beginning to have more control over what data is collected about them and how it is used.

Expanding role in political campaigns

The impact of microtargeting reaches its zenith in the realm of political campaigns. Political parties and candidates use microtargeting to understand voter preferences, concerns, and motivations at an unprecedented level of detail. This intelligence allows campaigns to tailor their communications, focusing on issues that resonate with specific voter segments.

For example, a campaign might send messages about environmental policies to voters identified as being concerned about climate change, while emphasizing tax reform to those worried about economic issues. A campaign might target swing voters with characteristics that match their party’s more consistent voting base, hoping to influence their decision to vote for the “right” candidate.

Microtargeting in politics also extends to voter mobilization efforts. Campaigns can identify individuals who are supportive but historically less likely to vote and target them with messages designed to motivate them to get to the polls. Similarly, microtargeting can help in shaping campaign strategies, determining where to hold rallies, whom to engage for endorsements, and what issues to highlight in speeches.

Ethical considerations and challenges

The rise of microtargeting raises significant ethical and moral questions and challenges. Concerns about privacy, data protection, and the potential for manipulation are at the forefront. The use of personal information for targeting purposes has sparked debates on the need for stricter regulation and transparency. In politics, there’s apprehension that microtargeting might deepen societal divisions by enabling campaigns to exploit sensitive issues or disseminate misleading information — or even disinformation — to susceptible groups.

Furthermore, the effectiveness of microtargeting in influencing consumer behavior and voter decisions has led to calls for more responsible use of data analytics. Critics argue for the development of ethical guidelines that balance the benefits of personalized communication with the imperative to protect individual privacy and maintain democratic integrity.

Microtargeting represents a significant evolution in the way organizations communicate with individuals, driven by advances in data analytics and digital technology. Its application across advertising and, more notably, political campaigns, has demonstrated its power to influence behavior and decision-making.

However, as microtargeting continues to evolve, it will be crucial for society to address the ethical and regulatory challenges it presents. Ensuring transparency, protecting privacy, and promoting responsible use will be essential in harnessing the benefits of microtargeting while mitigating its potential risks. As we move forward, the dialogue between technology, ethics, and regulation will shape the future of microtargeting in our increasingly digital world.

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Fundamentalism starves the mind. It reduces and narrows a universe of dazzlingly fascinating complexity available for infinite exploration — and deprives millions of people throughout the ages of the limitless gifts of curiosity.

The faux finality of fundamentalism is a kind of death wish — a closing off of pathways to possibility that are lost to those human minds forever. It’s a closing of the doors of perception and a welding shut of the very openings that give life its deepest meaning.

It is tragic — a truly heartbreaking process of grooming and indoctrination into a poisonous worldview; the trapping of untold minds in airless, sunless rooms of inert stagnation for an eternity. What’s worse — those claustrophobic minds aim to drag others in with them — perhaps to ease the unbearable loneliness of being surrounded only by similitude.

They are threatened by the appearance of others outside the totalist system that entraps them — and cannot countenance the evidence of roiling change that everywhere acts as a foil to their mass-induced delusions of finality. It gnaws at the edges of the certainty that functions to prop them up against a miraculous yet sometimes terrifying world of ultimate unknowability.

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Power is the water we swim in; the air we breathe. So pervasive we forget, ignore, or never even become fully aware of it.

It’s the ability to offload risk and responsibility if things go wrong, while accruing credit and authority if things go right. Blame flows downward, and reward flows upwards.

Where does power derive from? In a just world, it comes from knowledge, mastery, excellence, and merit. In an unjust world, it comes from itself — power qua power.

What is power?

This is a work in progress:

  • Power is a “strong force” acting on us everywhere, in every interaction.
  • Power is having the luxury of meeting a lack of resistance to one’s directives, desires, or assumptions. Friction tends to “get out of the way” of those in power.
  • It’s the ability to get what you want to have done, done.
  • The ability to influence others to your way of thinking.
  • Having enough gravity to warp reality — a reality-distortion field. Controlling reality itself.
  • It is the ability to hack your inner People Pleaser.
  • The ability to ignore feedback loops.
  • The ability to accrue accolades and offload risk: Offloading risk and responsibility
  • The ability to appear confident without any supporting factual basis.
  • The ability to make claims and have them taken seriously, at face value.
  • The ability to control reality.
  • The ability to say something enough times that, despite insufficient evidence, you can make it become โ€œtrue.โ€
  • The ability to make other people feel crazy about your own lack of memory.
  • The expectation that others will read your mind and give you what you want before you even have to say it.
  • The assumption that anything anyone else has to do takes them only 5 minutes and can be done by anyone without special expertise. The assumption that things you have to do are arduous, time-consuming, and require excessive skill.
  • Now, in the age of instant 24/7 media orgy gratification, we are sitting ducks โ€” waiting to be hijacked every day over some deliberately manufactured crisis.
  • These days everyone seems to want Power without responsibility.
  • Power is a FEELING.
  • It flows from social dominance games.
  • It’s the raison d’รชtre of those who believe in a hierarchical worldview.
  • It’s being able to export DISCOMFORT to others.
  • It’s when you keep the fun parts & โ€œdelegateโ€ the gruntwork to underlings.

About power:

  • Who is the master and who is the servant?
  • Who gets to do what they want, and who has to do what others say?
  • Tricks of power:
    • vagueness
    • citing invisible data you aren’t able to see
    • controlling the agenda
    • being “too busy” to have time for you
    • unreasonable criticism
    • refusing to be satisfied by any reasonable means
  • Interrelation of power and control
    • To avoid destroying ourselves, men will have to learn how to give up control and be more gentle; self-reflexive. Yet I don’t see this happening — instead they prefer their power games and petty squabbles
    • Privilege is about being groomed to control
  • Having material needs met is not enough — American culture trains us to believe that we need psychological domination to “be happy.” We confuse the rush of power with happiness — and for some, it’s all they know.
  • Power is a story the powerful made up, and got everyone to believe.
    • Some are True Believers
    • Some just recognize it as useful
    • Others become True Believers along the way
  • Power is a very large lensing effect. It’s seen as “right” and sees itself as “right” no matter what, or how clueless
  • 1% power: the theater of friendly coercion. Get everything leveraged up just below the threshold of detectable overt tyranny.
  • The rich and powerful are so rich and powerful that their main obstacle left is Mother Nature herself taking their life away. They hate the messy organic reality of life and all its flaws and limitations.
  • Celebrity culture = denial of death. Leveraging fame as a way to live on, and have the kind of wealth and power that insulates one from many dangers
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The term Christian nationalists brings together a number of radical religious sects seeking to overthrow the democratic republic of the United States and installing a strict theocracy, from dominionists to orthodox Catholics to Evangelicals and many more.

They tend to believe in Strict Father Morality, and desire to establish some sort of Christian fascist theocratic state in America, under the backwards idea that the founders never intended to separate church and state — despite religious freedom and the ability to worship as one pleases being precisely one of the major founding ideals of the United States.

Christian nationalists abstract

Christian nationalism

For more on Christian nationalism, please see the following topics:

Christian nationalists list

Here are some of the people and organizations involved in — or foundational to — the modern day movement to establish a Christian theocratic government in America (this is a work in progress!):

  • 700 Club — Airing since 1966, the 700 Club is one of the longest-running Christian TV programs in the U.S. The show is produced by the Christian Broadcasting Network, founded by evangelist and one-time presidential candidate (1988) Pat Robertson.
  • Howard Ahmanson Jr. — American businessman, philanthropist, and Christian conservative activist who has donated millions of dollars to right-wing organizations and the GOP. Ahmanson is the son of the late financier and philanthropist Howard F. Ahmanson Sr., and a supporter of the Intelligent Design movement.
  • Awake 88 — A 2008 initiative sponsored by the Family Research Council (FRC) in which J.C. Church visited 2500 churches in all of Ohio’s 88 counties in an effort to turn the state red in the 2008 elections.
  • Alexander AcostaTrump‘s Secretary of Labor from April 2017 to July 2019 who resigned when new details of his unlawful “sweetheart” plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein came to light. He was known to attend the weekly White House Bible study gatherings led by Dominionist and Evangelical proselytizer Ralph Drollinger.
  • Alex Azar — Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services from January 2018 to January 2021, who was also known to attend the weekly White House Bible study gatherings led by Dominionist Ralph Drollinger.
  • Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — The ADF is a nonprofit founded in 1994 by James Dobson, Bill Bright, and other Christian leaders to provide legal representation and support to people and organizations facing legal challenges based on their religious beliefs. The ADF was involved in the high-profile Masterpiece Cakeshop case, defending the baker who refused to make a gay wedding cake.
gay wedding cake, by Midjourney
  • American College of Pediatricians — ACPeds is a small, socially conservative group of pediatricians founded in 2002 that has been criticized for its support of the discredited “conversion therapy” practice for LGBTQ+ youth and other views that run counter to the group’s stated purpose of promoting healthy and respectful development of children. The group is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties or the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • American Enterprise Institute (AEI) — A conservative think tank based in the United States that conducts research and advocacy on a range of public policy issues. Founded in 1938, the AEI is known for its promotion of conservative social values.
  • American Family Association (AFA) — A non-profit conservative Christian organization based in the United States, founded in 1977. The group has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which cites the organization’s history of spreading false and harmful information about LGBTQ+ individuals and promoting intolerance and bigotry.
  • American Family Radio Network (AFR) — A Christian radio network in the U.S.
  • American Heritage Girls (AHG) — The American Heritage Girls (AHG) is a faith-based scouting organization for girls based in the United States. The organization was founded in 1995 and describes itself as “a Christ-centered character and leadership development program for girls 5 to 18 years of age.” It requires all members to agree to a statement of faith that affirms a belief in God and a commitment to Christian values.
  • American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — Along with CNP, one of two primary right-wing groups with deep funding ties over the past half century to Republican lawmakers and donors & covertly driving “local” and state legislative agenda centrally from a nationally-coordinated source that shrinks from public view and carefully shields its operations from scrutiny.
  • Americans of Faith — A massive church-based get-out-the-vote campaign in 2004 led by conservative Christian activist and Salem Radio founder Edward Atsinger III.
  • America Wake Up — “America Wake Up” was a religious movement that emerged in the United States during the early 21st century, primarily gaining momentum in the late 2010s and early 2020s. The group, which combined elements of evangelical Christianity with apocalyptic and nationalist themes, aimed to rally Americans to restore traditional religious values and preserve the nation’s spiritual and cultural heritage. Its followers believed that America was in a state of moral decline and that God’s favor could only be reclaimed through a mass spiritual awakening. Although “America Wake Up” was never a centralized organization, its adherents often united through social media, small-group meetings, and public rallies. Critics accused the group of promoting intolerance and divisiveness, and its influence waned as mainstream religious and political figures distanced themselves from its more extreme rhetoric.
  • Robert Arnakis — Robert Arnakis was a prominent conservative political operative and trainer in the United States during the early 21st century. As the Director of Domestic and International Programs at the Leadership Institute, he played a crucial role in mentoring and training conservative activists, politicians, and future leaders. Although he maintained a relatively low public profile, Arnakis significantly impacted the conservative movement by shaping the careers of numerous political figures and promoting conservative values through education and training initiatives.
  • Arlington Group — The Arlington Group was a coalition of influential conservative Christian leaders and organizations in the United States, formed in 2002 to facilitate cooperation and strategic coordination among various religious and political factions. By focusing on shared goals such as opposition to same-sex marriage and the promotion of traditional family values, the group aimed to advance a socially conservative agenda on a national level. While the Arlington Group’s influence diminished over time, its efforts significantly impacted American politics and contributed to the ongoing debate surrounding social issues in the country.
  • Larry Arnn — Larry Arnn, the long-serving president of Hillsdale College, has been influential in guiding the institution towards a more conservative and Christian nationalist direction. Under his leadership, Hillsdale has emphasized a curriculum rooted in the traditional values of Western civilization and has increasingly associated with conservative religious and political figures. Arnn’s tenure has undeniably made Hillsdale a central hub for promoting and advancing conservative ideology and Christian nationalist delusions in American education and public discourse.
  • Edward Atsinger III — Edward Atsinger III is an American businessman and broadcasting executive, who co-founded and served as the CEO of Salem Media Group, one of the leading conservative and Christian media companies in the United States. Established in 1986, Salem Media Group operates a vast network of radio stations, digital media platforms, and publishing houses, targeting conservative and faith-based audiences. Under Atsinger’s leadership, the company has played a pivotal role in shaping American conservative and Christian media landscapes, with its platforms serving as influential channels for promoting conservative and religious viewpoints.
conservative talk shows and right-wing radio
  • Marcus Bachmann — Marcus Bachmann is an American clinical therapist and entrepreneur who gained national attention due to his marriage to former Republican Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. He holds a PhD in clinical psychology and is the founder of Bachmann & Associates, a Christian counseling center in Minnesota that offers therapy services for a wide range of mental health issues. Bachmann has faced criticism for his views on conversion therapy for LGBTQ individuals, which he allegedly practiced at his clinic, although he has denied promoting this controversial treatment.
  • Michele Bachmann — Michele Bachmann is an American politician, lawyer, and former Republican Congresswoman who represented Minnesota’s 6th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to 2015. A prominent figure in the Tea Party movement, Bachmann was known for her conservative stances on issues such as limited government, pro-life advocacy, and opposition to same-sex marriage. In 2012, she sought the Republican nomination for the presidency but eventually withdrew from the race, returning to the private sector after completing her congressional tenure.
  • Jim Bakker — Jim Bakker is an American televangelist, entrepreneur, and former minister who became a prominent figure in the 1970s and 1980s as the host of the successful Christian television program “The PTL Club,” alongside his then-wife, Tammy Faye Bakker. Bakker’s ministry took a downturn in the late 1980s when he was embroiled in a series of scandals involving financial fraud and extramarital affairs, ultimately resulting in his conviction and imprisonment. After his release in 1994, Bakker returned to televangelism and has continued his ministry, albeit on a smaller scale, focusing on end-time prophecy and the sale of survival products.
Jim Bakker, by Midjourney
  • Steve Bannon — Steve Bannon is an American political strategist, filmmaker, and media executive who gained national prominence as the executive chairman of Breitbart News and later as the chief strategist for President Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign and his early White House administration. Through his work at Breitbart and in the Trump campaign, Bannon promoted conservative and nationalist ideologies, often aligning with Christian nationalist values and narratives. Although not solely focused on Christian nationalism and more oriented towards nationalism more broadly, Bannon’s influence in shaping the political landscape and amplifying the voices of the far-right contributed to the resurgence of Christian nationalist sentiments in the United States.
Steve Bannon, by Midjourney
  • Baptist Press — The Baptist Press, established in 1946, is the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.
  • George Barna — George Barna is a renowned American pollster, researcher, author, and speaker, best known for his extensive research on religion, culture, and public opinion. In 1984, he founded the Barna Group, a market research and polling firm specializing in studying the religious beliefs and behaviors of Americans, as well as the intersection of faith and culture.
  • Jeff Barke — Dr. Jeff Barke is an American physician, conservative activist, and author, known for his outspoken views on various public health and policy issues. He came out against the majority of the covid-19 public health measures including mask mandates, stay-at-home orders, and vaccines along with pushing unproven treatments.
  • Mari Barke — Mari Barke serves on the Orange County Board of Education, having been first elected in 2018. Married to Dr. Jeff Barke, she shares her husband’s conservative political views.
  • Stephen Barney — Stephen Barney is a conservative philanthropist, American businessman and donor to various conservative organizations, political campaigns, and educational initiatives.
  • David Barton — David Barton is an influential American evangelical Christian author, speaker, and political activist, known for his advocacy of conservative Christian values in politics and education. Born on January 28, 1954, in Texas, Barton is the founder and president of WallBuilders, a national organization known for its revisionist historical claims — including the idea that the First Amendment is not meant to establish freedom of religion.
  • Gary Bauer — Gary Bauer is known for his staunch advocacy of social conservatism and his prominent roles in various right-wing organizations. Born in Kentucky, Bauer served in the Reagan administration, first as the Deputy Under Secretary for Planning and Budget in the Department of Education, then as the Under Secretary of Education and Chief Domestic Policy Advisor. He left the White House in 1989 to become the president of the Family Research Council, a position he held until 1999. Bauer is especially known for his conservative views on issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In 2000, he made an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Since then, he’ has remained active in conservative politics, notably founding’s founded the Campaign for Working Families, a political action committee dedicated to electing conservative candidates to office.
  • Andrew Beck — Brand consultant and member of the Christian nationalist secretive fraternal order, the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR).
  • Glenn Beck — Glenn Beck is a prominent American conservative political commentator, radio host, television producer, and founder of the news and entertainment network, TheBlaze. He began his career in radio as a DJ, but his career took a turn towards political commentary in the 2000s. Beck hosted the nationally syndicated radio talk show, “The Glenn Beck Program,” and his television show, “Glenn Beck,” which aired on Fox News from 2009 to 2011, was known for its emotionally charged commentary, chalkboard diagrams, and historical analysis. His shows have often been controversial for their provocative content. Beck is recognized for his libertarian-leaning conservatism and his vocal support for the Tea Party movement.
Glenn Beck is shouting on TV, by Midjourney
  • David and Jason Benham — David Benham, along with his twin brother Jason, is a prominent figure in American conservative circles, known for his outspoken views on Christianity and social issues. Prior to his involvement in political and social activism, Benham was a professional baseball player, drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1998. After retiring from baseball, he and his brother co-founded the Benham Companies, a real estate conglomerate. The brothers gained national attention when their planned HGTV show, “Flip It Forward,” was canceled in 2014 due to controversy over their views on homosexuality and abortion. They are known for their strong pro-life stance, their opposition to same-sex marriage, and their misunderstanding of religious freedom.
  • Philip “Flip” Benham — Philip “Flip” Benham is an American evangelical Christian minister and anti-abortion activist, notable for his leadership roles in pro-life organizations. He was born on April 16, 1948, in Hartford, Connecticut. Benham is the father of David and Jason Benham, also known for their conservative activism. Flip Benham was the director of Operation Save America (formerly known as Operation Rescue National), a pro-life group advocating for the criminalization of abortion. The organization has been associated with protests at abortion clinics and other locations. Benham’s activism has often courted controversy, and he has been arrested multiple times during demonstrations. His vocal stances on issues such as abortion and homosexuality reflect his conservative Christian beliefs.
  • Robert J. Billings — Robert J. Billings was a significant figure in the American conservative movement, particularly known for his contributions to the rise of the Christian right in the late 20th century. Born on October 19, 1929, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Billings advocated for Christian education, founding Christian schools and serving as a superintendent in Wisconsin. His involvement in politics began in earnest in the 1970s, when he co-founded the American Association of Christian Schools and later became an influential figure in the Moral Majority, an organization that played a key role in mobilizing conservative Christian voters. Billings served as an advisor to President Ronald Reagan and was an instrumental figure in shaping the political landscape of the Christian right. He passed away on November 3, 1997.
  • Dr. Henry Blackaby — Dr. Henry Blackaby is an influential Christian pastor, author, and speaker, best known for his work “Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God,” a study that has sold millions of copies worldwide. Born on July 11, 1935, in British Columbia, Canada, Blackaby served as a pastor in California and Canada before becoming the president of the Canadian Southern Baptist Conference. In 1976, Blackaby started working for the Home Mission Board (now North American Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention. His work in spiritual revival and church leadership has had a profound impact on evangelical Christianity, particularly in the Southern Baptist tradition. His “Experiencing God” study, developed with his son Richard, has been widely used in churches and study groups and is considered a seminal text in contemporary Christian education.
  • Sen Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) — Marsha Blackburn is a prominent figure in American conservative politics, known for her tenure as a U.S. Senator from Tennessee. Born on June 6, 1952, in Laurel, Mississippi, Blackburn attended Mississippi State University, earning a degree in home economics. Her political career began in the Tennessee State Senate, where she served from 1998 to 2002. In 2002, Blackburn was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Tennessee’s 7th congressional district, where she developed a reputation as a staunch conservative, particularly on issues such as healthcare, internet privacy, and fiscal responsibility. In 2018, Blackburn was elected to the U.S. Senate, becoming the first woman from Tennessee to serve in the upper chamber. Known for her support of President Donald Trump and her opposition to big government, Blackburn has remained a significant figure in the Republican Party and American conservative politics.
Senator Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, by Midjourney
  • Morton Blackwell — Morton Blackwell is an influential figure in American conservative politics, best known for his role in the development and training of young conservative activists. Born on November 16, 1939, in LaHarpe, Illinois, Blackwell became involved in conservative activism early in life, working on Barry Goldwater‘s 1964 presidential campaign and serving as executive director of the College Republicans. In 1980, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the position of Special Assistant to the President for Public Liaison, working on youth outreach. Blackwell is perhaps best known as the founder and president of the Leadership Institute, an organization established in 1979 that provides training for conservative activists, particularly college students.
  • Bob Jones University — Bob Jones University (BJU) is a private, non-denominational evangelical university located in Greenville, South Carolina. It was founded in 1927 by Bob Jones Sr., a prominent evangelist and religious leader, with the aim of creating a training center for Christian workers. Throughout its history, BJU has been known for its conservative cultural and religious views. The university requires students to adhere to a strict code of conduct in line with its religious beliefs. Historically, BJU has been at the center of several controversies, notably regarding its policies on racial segregation, which it maintained until 1971, and its ban on interracial dating, which was not lifted until 2000. Despite these controversies, BJU has had a significant influence on conservative Christian education in the United States.
  • Bolthouse Foundation — The Bolthouse Foundation is a private foundation established by the Bolthouse family, who made their fortune in the farming and food production industry, notably through the Bolthouse Farms brand. The foundation’s mission has been to invest in Christian organizations and causes that align with their commitment to spreading the Christian faith and promoting social good. The foundation’s funding has often focused on supporting Christian education, religious activities, and other nonprofit organizations that align with their values.
  • Dick Bott — Dick Bott was an influential figure in American Christian radio broadcasting, known for founding the Bott Radio Network. Born on March 23, 1928, in Kansas City, Missouri, Bott launched the Bott Radio Network in 1962, which grew to become one of the nation’s largest Christian radio networks, featuring Bible teaching, Christian news, and music. Bott’s commitment to broadcasting Christian content led to a network that includes over 100 radio stations across the United States. Bott’s influence extended beyond his radio network, as he served on the boards of numerous Christian organizations and was a strong supporter of Christian education. He passed away on November 6, 2019.
Christian radio, by Midjourney
  • Bott Radio Network — A network of 120 Christian radio stations operating in 14 of the United States, broadcasting Christian talk radio programs.
  • Lt. Gen. William Boykin (ret.) — Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin is a retired American Army officer and conservative political commentator known for his Christian views and involvement in special operations. Born on April 19, 1948, in Wilson, North Carolina, Boykin’s military career spanned over 36 years, during which he played key roles in several U.S. military actions, including the Iran hostage rescue attempt and operations in Grenada and Somalia. He was one of the original members of the U.S. Army’s Delta Force and eventually served as its commander. He also served as the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under President George W. Bush. After retiring from the military, Boykin became an outspoken conservative Christian activist, serving as Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian think-tank and lobbying organization. He has drawn controversy for his comments on Islam and other topics.
  • Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation — The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation is one of the largest and most influential conservative grantmaking foundations in the United States. Established in 1942 by Lynde and Harry Bradley, co-founders of the Allen-Bradley Company, a successful Milwaukee-based electronics and industrial automation manufacturer, the foundation began its significant conservative philanthropic activity in the 1980s, after the sale of Allen-Bradley to Rockwell International. It has provided substantial funding to conservative think tanks, advocacy groups, and scholars, with a focus on areas such as limited government, free markets, education, and the traditional family structure. The foundation has had a considerable impact on shaping conservative policy and intellectual discourse in the United States.
  • Bob Branch — Bob Branch is an educator and conservative political figure known for his involvement in Arizona politics. Branch is recognized for his conservative stance on issues such as education, immigration, and the Second Amendment. He ran for the position of Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2018, campaigning on a platform of local control of education, school safety, and curriculum transparency.
gun rights in Arizona and the 2nd Amendment / 2A position
  • Lincoln Brewster — Lincoln Brewster is an American contemporary Christian musician and worship pastor known for his guitar-based songs. Born on July 30, 1971, in Fairbanks, Alaska, Brewster developed a passion for music at a young age, with his mother nurturing his talent. He became a sought-after session guitarist in his early 20s and had the opportunity to work with mainstream artists, including journeyman rocker Steve Perry. However, Brewster felt a spiritual calling to use his musical talents for religious purposes and transitioned to contemporary Christian music. In addition to his music career, Brewster has served as a worship pastor at churches including the Bayside Church in California.
  • Jim Bridenstine — a former U.S. Representative and NASA Administrator. Though not overtly a Christian nationalist, his political stances often align with conservative Christian values. He has advocated for limited government and traditional family structures.
  • Harold O. J. Brown — was a theologian and co-founder of the Christian Action Council. He was instrumental in shaping the Christian right movement, emphasizing the role of Christianity in public life.
  • Brown v. Board of Education — this landmark Supreme Court case isn’t directly related to Christian nationalism but had a profound impact on American society by desegregating schools. Some Christian nationalists have criticized it for undermining local autonomy.
Brown v. Board of Education, by Midjourney
  • Pat Buchanan — a political commentator and former presidential candidate. He has often fused conservative Christian beliefs with his political ideology, advocating for a return to traditional American values.
  • Mark Bucher — a lesser-known figure in the Christian nationalist movement. He is an attorney who has been involved in legal cases that aim to advance conservative Christian principles in public policy.
  • Building a Nation — not a person but a concept often invoked by Christian nationalists to emphasize the role of Christianity in the founding and sustaining of the United States.
  • Jonathan Cain — a musician, best known as a member of the band Journey. His connection to Christian nationalism is tenuous but he has expressed strong Christian beliefs.
  • Capitol Ministries — an organization that aims to evangelize elected officials. It has been criticized for pushing a Christian nationalist agenda by seeking to influence policy through religious teachings.
  • Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation — this foundation is named after a Hungarian Cardinal who opposed communism and has been adopted as a symbol by some Christian nationalists in their fight against secularism.
  • Ben Carson — a retired neurosurgeon and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. While not explicitly a Christian nationalist, his conservative views often align with the movement’s principles.
Ben Carson and Donald Trump, by Midjourney
  • CBN University — now known as Regent University, the institution was founded by Pat Robertson. It aims to provide a Christian education and has been influential in training leaders who align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • A Choice Not an Echo — a political pamphlet by Phyllis Schlafly, published in 1964. It has been influential in conservative circles and is often cited by Christian nationalists as a call to action against liberal ideologies.
  • Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) — Founded by Pat Robertson, CBN is a television network with a Christian focus. It has been a significant platform for disseminating Christian nationalist views and influencing American politics.
  • Christian Coalition — a political organization founded by Pat Robertson. It aims to mobilize conservative Christians in the U.S. and has been a driving force in the Christian nationalist movement since the 1990s.
  • Christian homeschooling movement — advocates for homeschooling as a way to instill Christian values in children. It has gained traction among Christian nationalists who view public education as secular and morally corrupt.
  • Christian Satellite Network — a media outlet that broadcasts Christian content. While not overtly nationalist, it serves as a platform for voices that often align with Christian nationalist views.
  • J. C. Church — a pastor and political activist who has been involved in promoting Christian nationalist ideologies. He advocates for the integration of Christian principles into American governance.
  • Church United — an organization that aims to politically mobilize churches. It has been criticized for promoting a Christian nationalist agenda, particularly in local and state politics.
  • Church Voter Lookup — a tool often used by Christian nationalist groups to identify and mobilize Christian voters. It aims to influence elections in favor of candidates who uphold Christian values.
  • Claremont Institute — An influential right-wing think tank with fellows who participated in the attempts to overturn the 2020 election, and who have promoted the idea of an American authoritarian “Red Caesar” who might redeem a decadent nation.
  • Tom Coburn — Tom Coburn was a U.S. Senator known for his conservative stances. While not explicitly a Christian nationalist, his political ideology often aligned with the movement’s principles.
  • Mary Colbert — a Christian author and speaker. She is known for her books that blend Christian teachings with conservative political views, making her a voice in the Christian nationalist sphere.
  • Concerned Women for America — a socially conservative Christian women’s activist group. It focuses on issues like abortion and religious freedom and has been influential in promoting Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Conscience and Religious Freedom Division — this division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aims to protect religious freedoms in healthcare. It has been praised by Christian nationalists for upholding Christian values in public policy.
  • Conservative Caucus — a political organization that aims to mobilize grassroots conservatives. While not exclusively Christian nationalist, it often aligns with the movement’s goals.
  • Kellyanne Conway — a political strategist best known for her role as counselor to President Donald Trump. She has often defended policies that resonate with Christian nationalist ideologies.
Kellyanne Conway bloody from the fight, by Midjourney
  • Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation — this alliance focuses on environmental stewardship from a Christian perspective. It often opposes mainstream climate science, aligning more closely with the conservative Christian viewpoints of climate change denialism.
  • Council for National Policy (CNP) — a secretive organization that brings together influential conservatives, many of whom are Christian nationalists. It aims to shape public policy in line with conservative Christian values.
  • Culture Impact Teams (CITs) — grassroots groups often found in churches. They aim to influence local politics and culture in line with Christian nationalist principles.
  • Jan Crouch — She was a co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), a major Christian television network. TBN has served as a prominent platform for Christian nationalist voices.
  • Paul Crouch — also a co-founder of TBN and husband to Jan Crouch. Like his wife, he played a significant role in disseminating Christian content that often aligns with nationalist ideologies.
  • Rafael Cruz — Ted Cruz’s father and an American evangelical preacher.
  • Ted Cruz — a U.S. Senator from Texas known for his staunch conservative views. He has been a vocal advocate for integrating Christian values into American governance, making him a key figure in the Christian nationalist movement.
  • Dr. Kenyn M. Cureton — a Baptist minister and Vice President for Church Ministries at the Family Research Council. He is known for advocating the role of Christianity in American public life, aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Robert Lewis Dabney — Robert Lewis Dabney was a 19th-century theologian and Confederate Army chaplain. His writings have been cited by modern Christian nationalists as foundational texts for their movement.
  • The Daily Signal — a news outlet run by The Heritage Foundation. It often publishes articles that resonate with Christian nationalist and conservative viewpoints.
  • Marjorie Dannenfelser — the President of the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that focuses on electing pro-life candidates. She is a key figure in the Christian nationalist movement.
  • Jeff Denham — a former U.S. Representative from California. While not overtly a Christian nationalist, his conservative stances often align with the movement’s principles.
  • Betsy DeVos — a former U.S. Secretary of Education known for her advocacy for “school choice” (i.e. allowing parents to use public tax dollars to send their kids to private Christian academies) and Christian education, making her a significant figure in the Christian nationalist movement.
  • Richard DeVos — Richard DeVos was an American entrepreneur and co-founder of Amway. He was a major donor to conservative and Christian causes.
  • James Dobson — the founder of Focus on the Family, an organization that promotes Christian values in American families. He is a key figure in the Christian nationalist movement.
  • Mark Drever — a lesser-known figure in the Christian nationalist movement who has been involved in various Christian organizations.
  • Karen Rudolph Drollinger
  • Ralph Drollinger — the founder of Capitol Ministries, an organization that aims to evangelize elected officials. He has been criticized for pushing a Christian nationalist agenda, as well as for advocating corporal punishment for children.
  • Dinesh D’Souza — a conservative author and filmmaker. While not explicitly a Christian nationalist, his works often resonate with the movement, particularly in his critiques of liberal ideologies.
  • Alan P. Dye — a Washington, D.C.-based attorney known for representing conservative and Christian organizations. His legal work often intersects with the goals of the Christian nationalist movement.
  • Eagle Forum — Founded by Phyllis Schlafly, the Eagle Forum is a conservative organization that has been instrumental in opposing feminist and liberal policies, often from a Christian nationalist perspective.
  • Stuart Epperson — the co-founder of Salem Media Group, a Christian and conservative media company. He has been influential in disseminating Christian nationalist views through various media platforms.
  • Equal Rights Amendment — a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution aimed at guaranteeing equal legal rights regardless of sex. It has been opposed by some Christian nationalists who argue it undermines traditional family values.
The women behind the Equal Rights Amendment that sent the right-wing shrieking in fear, by Midjourney
  • Frank Erb — serves as a minister to California State Capitol leaders and is associated with Capitol Ministries. He aims to integrate Christian principles into governance, aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Tony Evans — a pastor and author who focuses on building strong Christian families. While not overtly a Christian nationalist, his teachings often align with the movement’s principles.
  • Jerry Falwell — Jerry Falwell was a prominent televangelist and founder of the Moral Majority, an organization that played a key role in the rise of the Christian right and Christian nationalism.
  • Faith & Freedom Coalition — aims to mobilize conservative religious voters and has been a significant force in promoting Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in electoral politics.
  • The Family — Also known as The Fellowship, this organization is a Christian association that has been criticized for its secretive nature and influence on American politicians. It is often associated with Christian nationalist agendas.
  • Family Christian Academy (FCA) — a private religious academy offering a “Christ-centered” curriculum and the teaching of a “biblical worldview.”
  • Family Life Radio — Family Life Radio is a Christian radio network broadcasting contemporary Christian music and Christian talk radio programming across the United States.
  • Family Policy Alliance — The Family Policy Alliance is a conservative Christian organization in the United States that advocates for various policy issues from a faith-based perspective. It focuses on issues such as religious freedom, anti-abortion policies, and the promotion of the traditional family structure (aka Strict Father Morality).
  • Family Policy Councils — Family Policy Councils in the United States are typically conservative organizations at the state level that focus on lobbying and advocating for policies they believe support family values. These councils often address issues like gay marriage, parental rights, religious liberty, and anti-abortion initiatives.
  • Family Research Council (FRC) — The FRC is a prominent conservative Christian group that advocates for policies they believe uphold traditional family values. It is influential in right-wing politics, often shaping public debate on social issues.
  • Family Worship Center — Associated with the ministry of televangelist Jimmy Swaggart, the organization reflects his blend of evangelical worship and conservative family values.
  • Fellowship Foundation — Also known as “The Fellowship” or “The Family,” this is a religiously-oriented group that operates the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. It is known for its influence on American politics, fostering relationships among political, business, and religious leaders.
The National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump presiding -- by Midjourney
  • Nate Fischer — A Texas-based member of the clandestine Christian nationalist fraternal order the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR).
  • Reverend Wilber Fisk — An influential 19th-century Methodist educator and theologian, remembered for his strong advocacy for Methodist doctrine and education. His work has inspired many current Christian nationalist groups and ideologies.
  • Tami Fitzgerald — Fitzgerald is a contemporary figure known for her conservative activism, particularly in North Carolina, where she has been a prominent voice on issues like gay marriage and gender, reflecting broader right-wing advocacy trends.
  • Florida Family Action — This is an organization that works at the state level in Florida, engaging in grassroots lobbying and electoral involvement to promote conservative values on social issues.
  • Florida Family Action PAC — The political action committee of the Florida Family Action, this group supports candidates and initiatives in Florida that align with its conservative, family-centered policy goals.
  • Florida Family Policy Council — This council operates in Florida, advocating for conservative social policies. It’s part of a network of state-based conservative policy groups with similar aims.
  • Focus on the Family — A well-known evangelical organization based in Colorado Springs, it promotes conservative policies related to family structure and parenting, and is a major producer of Christian-themed media content.
  • Foster Friess — Friess was a prominent conservative donor and philanthropist, who financially supported various Republican candidates and causes aligned with right-wing politics until his death in 2021.
  • Free Congress Foundation — Founded by Paul Weyrich, this right-wing think tank historically has been instrumental in promoting conservative legislative agendas and played a pivotal role in the development of conservative strategies and policies.
  • Lynn Friess — Lynn Friess is the widow of Foster Friess and has continued to be active in philanthropy and conservative causes, supporting various initiatives that align with her and her late husbandโ€™s values, particularly in the realms of education, Christian outreach, and family services.
  • Jim Garlow — A pastor and author, Garlow is a notable figure in conservative Christian circles, known for his advocacy on traditional marriage and anti-abortion issues, and has been a key influence in the intersection of faith and politics.
  • Rosemary Schindler Garlow — A speaker and activist, she is married to Jim Garlow, and is also a distant relative of Oskar Schindler. She is involved in Christian ministry work and advocacy, often in conjunction with her husbandโ€™s activities.
  • W. Barry Garrett
  • Godspeak Calvary Chapel — Non-denominational church in California that gained attention in conservative media for its defiance of public health orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Barry Goldwater — Known as the “father of modern conservatism,” Goldwater was a five-term U.S. Senator from Arizona and the 1964 Republican nominee for President. His libertarian-leaning conservative philosophy laid the foundation for the conservative resurgence in the following decades.
Barry Goldwater running for US President, by Midjourney
  • Peggy Goldwater — As the wife of Barry Goldwater, Peggy Goldwater was a supportive figure in his political career. While less politically active herself, she played a role in the personal side of the conservative movement during her husbandโ€™s career.
  • Grace Community Church, Sun Valley — A prominent evangelical church in California, led by Pastor John MacArthur. It is known for its conservative theological stance and has been influential in evangelical Christian circles.
  • Billy Graham — Reverend Billy Graham was one of the most influential Christian evangelists of the 20th century, serving as a spiritual advisor to multiple U.S. presidents and preaching to millions globally, with a message that was generally hard-lined conservative.
  • The Green family — Best known for founding Hobby Lobby, the Green family is prominent in conservative circles for their Christian faith and legal battles over religious freedom and opposition to certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Ken Ham — a young-earth creationist and the founder of Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and the Ark Encounter. Ham is a significant figure in promoting a literal interpretation of the Bible and opposing evolutionary theory, which is often referenced in conservative Christian education debates.
  • Abraham Hamilton III — host of American Family Radio‘s “Hamilton Corner” who described the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas as “Satan’s work” that was “immune to legislation.” He went on to claim that the Democrats were “exploiting” the victims by calling for hearings on gun control.
  • Mark Harris
  • Kristan Hawkins
  • Charles Haywood — A self-described “industrialist” and Chicago-educated attorney who helped to incorporate the secretive patriarchal Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR), and sits on its board.
  • Carl F. H. Henry — a prominent American evangelical theologian and a key figure in the neo-evangelical movement, advocating for evangelical engagement with broader culture while maintaining orthodox Christian theology who played a vital role in shaping evangelical thought in the 20th century. Henry’s influence continues through his foundational role in institutions like Fuller Theological Seminary and Christianity Today magazine.
  • Heritage Academy — Heritage Academy is a private Christian school known for its emphasis on providing education based on Christian principles and traditional academic subjects. It aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in its approach to education, integrating conservative Christian values and teachings into its curriculum and school culture.
Christian academies began sprouting up after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling ending segregation in schools
  • Heritage Action — Heritage Action for America is a conservative advocacy organization and the political action sister organization of the Heritage Foundation. It focuses on promoting conservative policies and legislation, and while not exclusively Christian nationalist, its activities often align with Christian nationalist principles, advocating for policies rooted in conservative Christian values.
  • Heritage Foundation — a prominent conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., established in 1973. It focuses on promoting conservative public policies based on principles like free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional values, and strong national defense. The foundation has significantly influenced American politics and policy through research, policy recommendations, and influencing decision-makers, making it a key player in shaping U.S. conservative policy.
  • Eric Heubeck — Eric Heubeck is known for his involvement in conservative political strategy, notably for authoring “The Integration of Theory and Practice: A Program for the New Traditionalist Movement,” which outlines strategies for conservative cultural renewal.
  • Hugh Hewitt — Hugh Hewitt is an American radio talk show host, lawyer, academic, and author, known for his nationally syndicated conservative talk radio show and his contributions as a political commentator.
  • Jack Hibbs — Jack Hibbs is a prominent evangelical pastor and founder of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in California, known for his teachings and influence in Christian conservative circles.
  • Rob Hilarides
  • The Hillsdale Collegian — The Hillsdale Collegian is the student newspaper of Hillsdale College in Michigan, known for its coverage of campus events and its emphasis on conservative perspectives in higher education.
  • Kay Hiramine
  • A. A. Hodge — Archibald Alexander Hodge (1823โ€“1886) was an American Presbyterian theologian and principal of Princeton Seminary, recognized for his contributions to theological education and the Presbyterian Church.
  • John Henry Hopkins
  • Mike Huckabee — Mike Huckabee is an American politician, Christian minister, author, and commentator, who served as the 44th governor of Arkansas and unsuccessfully sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 and 2016.
Mike Huckabee, by Midjourney
  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders — Currently the sitting governor of Arkansas, she is the daughter of Mike Huckabee and the former Press Secretary of the Trump administration.
  • Humanitarian International Services Group (HISG) — HISG is an organization known for its humanitarian efforts with a Christian perspective, often involved in providing aid and support in crisis situations. Their work intertwines humanitarian aid with Christian values, which aligns them with aspects of Christian nationalism.
  • Nelson Bunker Hunt — Nelson Bunker Hunt was an American oil company executive known for his significant involvement in conservative Christian movements. He financially supported various Christian nationalist causes and was a major donor to conservative Christian organizations.
  • Institute on Religion and Democracy — The Institute on Religion and Democracy is a conservative Christian think tank that focuses on promoting their interpretation of Christian ethics within policy and society. They have been influential in advocating for Christian nationalist ideals within the United States.
  • Larry Jackson
  • David Jeremiah — David Jeremiah is a prominent Christian pastor and televangelist known for his evangelical teachings. While his ministry primarily focuses on evangelical Christianity, it occasionally intersects with Christian nationalist ideology.
  • Bob Jones Sr. — Bob Jones Sr. was an American evangelist and the founder of Bob Jones University, a private, non-denominational evangelical university. The university and Jones himself have been associated with conservative Christian ideologies, some of which align with Christian nationalism.
  • Bob Jones University — Bob Jones University is a private, non-denominational evangelical Christian university known for its conservative cultural and religious values. Historically, it has been associated with and influential in promoting conservative Christian ideologies, as well as notorious for continuing to support segregation — and remaining a segregated institution — until 1971.
Bob Jones University, one of many religious institutions in the south that remained segregated long after Brown V. Board of Education in defiance
  • Kingdom Warriors — Kingdom Warriors is a term that can refer to various Christian groups or movements that advocate for applying Christian principles to societal and political life. These groups often align with Christian nationalist ideologies in their efforts to influence culture and politics according to their religious beliefs.
  • KMMJ – KMMJ is a Christian radio station known for broadcasting content that aligns with evangelical Christian values.
  • C. Everett Koop — C. Everett Koop was an American pediatric surgeon and public health administrator, known for serving as the Surgeon General of the United States, and a devout Christian.
  • Skyler Kressin — A tax consultant based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho who plays a central administrative role in the secret patriarchal Christian order of the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR).
  • Ku Klux Klan — The Ku Klux Klan is a white supremacist hate group with a long history of violent extremism. Their ideology often misappropriates Christian symbols and rhetoric to promote their racist agenda.
The KKK loved a good cross burning on a Saturday night
  • Beverly LaHaye — Beverly LaHaye is a Christian conservative activist and founder of Concerned Women for America, a group known for promoting Christian conservative policies. Her work often intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for policies based on conservative Christian values.
  • Tim LaHaye — Tim LaHaye was an evangelical Christian minister and author, best known for the “Left Behind” series about the End Times and world-ending apocalypse. His works and ministry often promoted a conservative Christian worldview, aligning at times with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Wayne LaPierre — Wayne LaPierre was the CEO and executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) for many years. While primarily focused on gun rights advocacy, his influence occasionally intersects with Christian nationalist groups that share common conservative values.
  • Bill Lee — Bill Lee, as the Governor of Tennessee, has implemented policies and supported legislation that align with conservative Christian values. His governance reflects aspects of Christian nationalist ideology, emphasizing traditional Christian values in policy-making.
  • Leonard Leo — Leonard Leo is a prominent conservative legal activist, known for his influence in the Federalist Society and the composition of today’s Supreme Court. He plays a significant role in promoting conservative judges, some of whom align with Christian nationalist principles.
  • Mark Levin — Mark Levin is a conservative commentator and radio host, known for his advocacy of conservative policies. While his primary focus is on conservative politics, his viewpoints sometimes resonate with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Liberty University — Liberty University is a private evangelical Christian university founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. The university is a major hub for conservative Christian education and activism.
  • LifeWay Research — LifeWay Research is an evangelical Christian research group that provides research and resources for churches. Christian nationalist ideologies guide their work in terms of influencing church and societal policies.
  • Rush Limbaugh — Rush Limbaugh was a conservative radio host and commentator, known for his influential role in conservative media. His advocacy for conservative politics intersected with Christian nationalist ideologies.
Rush Limbaugh on the radio, by Midjourney
  • Elias Loera
  • Nathan Lord
  • Dave Louden
  • Barry Loudermilk — Barry Loudermilk is a U.S. Congressman known for his conservative Christian views. His legislative actions and public statements often reflect Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for policies based on conservative Christian principles.
  • John MacArthur — John MacArthur is a prominent evangelical pastor and author, known for his conservative theological views.
  • Rachel MacNair — Rachel MacNair is known for her work in the pro-life movement, with a focus on consistent life ethics. While her work is primarily in the anti-abortion arena, it sometimes intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies in terms of advocating for policies based on Christian ethics.
  • Danielle Madison
  • March for Life — The March for Life is an annual event advocating against abortion in the United States. While its primary focus is on anti-abortion activism, the event often draws support from Christian nationalist groups, advocating for policies aligned with conservative Christian values.
  • Ed McAteer — Ed McAteer was known as a leading figure in the Religious Right movement and was influential in mobilizing conservative Christians into political activism. His efforts significantly contributed to the alignment of evangelical Christians with conservative and Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • The Moral Majority — The Moral Majority was a prominent American political organization associated with the Christian right, founded by Jerry Falwell in 1979. It played a significant role in mobilizing conservative Christians into political action, promoting policies aligned with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Jeanne Mancini — Jeanne Mancini is known for her role as the President of the March for Life, a major anti-abortion organization in the U.S. Her leadership focuses on advocating for anti-abortion policies, often resonating with Christian nationalist principles.
  • Manhattan Declaration — The Manhattan Declaration is a Christian manifesto issued in 2009, emphasizing the sanctity of life, traditional marriage, and religious freedom. It is supported by various Christian leaders and aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in its advocacy for public policies based on Christian ethics.
  • Rob McCoy — Rob McCoy is a pastor and former city council member known for his conservative Christian views. His public stance often aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing the integration of Christian values in governance and society.
  • Mark Meadows — Mark Meadows is a former U.S. Congressman and White House Chief of Staff for Donald Trump, known for his conservative and Christian nationalist views. He has been influential in promoting policies that align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
Mark Meadows in front of the Capitol, by Midjourney
  • Mark MecklerTea Party activist and co-funder of Convention of States.
  • Janet Mefferd — Janet Mefferd is a conservative Christian radio host and commentator. Her broadcasts often emphasize conservative Christian viewpoints, aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies in discussions on culture and politics.
  • Roy Moore — Roy Moore is a former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice known for his staunch conservative Christian views. His public and professional life has been marked by advocacy for Christian nationalist principles, particularly in legal and political contexts — as well as by controversy, when he was credibly accused by several women of having pursued a romantic relationship with him when they were teenagers and he was in his 30s.
  • Museum of the Bible — The Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible. While it presents as an educational institution, its exhibits often align with conservative Christian perspectives, resonating with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • The Naked Communist — “The Naked Communist” is a book by Cleon Skousen, published in 1958, presenting a critique of communism and its perceived threats to Christian and American values. The book has been influential in conservative and Christian nationalist circles, advocating for anti-communist and conservative Christian ideals.
  • Penny Young Nance — Penny Young Nance is the CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, a Christian conservative advocacy group. Her leadership focuses on promoting policies and viewpoints aligned with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • National Center for Constitutional Studies — The National Center for Constitutional Studies is an organization known for promoting a conservative interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Its work often aligns with Christian nationalist principles, advocating for governance and policies based on conservative Christian values.
  • National Christian Foundation — The National Christian Foundation is one of the largest Christian grant-making foundations, supporting a wide range of Christian causes and organizations. Some of its funding goes to groups and initiatives that align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • National Conservative Student Conference — This conference, organized by the Young America’s Foundation, gathers conservative students from across the U.S. to engage with conservative ideas, including those aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies.
National Conservative Student Conference, by Midjourney
  • National Federation of Republican Women — This organization is dedicated to empowering and mobilizing women in the Republican Party. Its activities sometimes intersect with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in advocating for conservative Christian policies.
  • National Right to Life Committee — The National Right to Life Committee is the oldest and largest national anti-abortion organization in the United States, advocating for pro-life policies. Its advocacy often aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in its approach to legislative and cultural issues.
  • Richard John Neuhaus — Richard John Neuhaus was a prominent Catholic priest and theologian, known for his influence in the realm of religion and public life. His work often intersected with Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for the integration of Christian values into public policy.
  • New Christian Right — The New Christian Right is a politically and socially conservative Christian movement that emerged in the late 20th century. This movement is characterized by its advocacy for Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing the role of Christianity in American public life.
  • Kristi Noem — Kristi Noem, as the Governor of South Dakota, is known for her conservative policies and alignment with Christian nationalist ideologies. Her governance and public statements often reflect a strong emphasis on traditional Christian values.
  • Gary North — Gary North is an economist, historian, and writer known for his advocacy of Christian Reconstructionism, a theological perspective that advocates the adoption of Biblical law in the United States.
  • North Carolina Family Policy Council — The North Carolina Family Policy Council is a conservative Christian organization focused on promoting family values and policies aligned with conservative Christian ethics. Their advocacy often intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing traditional Christian views in public policy.
  • Michael Novak — Michael Novak was a Catholic philosopher, journalist, and diplomat, known for his writings on capitalism, religion, and democracy. His work, blending Christian theology with democratic capitalism, sometimes resonated with Christian nationalist thought.
  • Old Time Gospel Hour — The Old Time Gospel Hour was a Christian radio and television ministry founded by Jerry Falwell Sr. This program was instrumental in spreading evangelical Christian teachings and often intersected with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • John M. Olin — John M. Olin was an industrialist and philanthropist, known for funding conservative causes through the John M. Olin Foundation. His contributions significantly supported academic and political endeavors aligned with conservative and Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Organicgirl — Brand of organic lettuce ultimately owned by a right-wing billionaire
  • Joel Osteen — Joel Osteen is a prominent televangelist and pastor of Lakewood Church, known for his motivational speaking and prosperity gospel teachings.
  • Sarah Palin — Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska and Vice Presidential candidate, is known for her conservative Christian views. Her political career and public statements often reflect Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing the integration of conservative Christian values into American politics.
Sarah Palin, patriotic drag queen -- by Midjourney
  • “Pastors Briefings”
  • Mike Pence — Mike Pence, former Vice President of the United States, is known for his conservative Christian beliefs and policies. His political career is characterized by advocacy for policies that align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Pentecostals — Pentecostalism is a Christian movement known for its emphasis on the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and vibrant worship. While diverse in its expressions, some segments of the Pentecostal movement intersect with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in advocating for the integration of Christian beliefs into public life.
  • Sonny Perdue — Sonny Perdue, former Governor of Georgia and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, is known for his conservative policies and Christian beliefs. His political career has included support for policies that align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Tony Perkins — Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group known for its advocacy on social and family issues. His leadership and activism are closely aligned with Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for policies based on conservative Christian values.
  • Rick Perry — Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas and U.S. Secretary of Energy, is known for his conservative Christian beliefs and political career reflecting support for policies that align with Christian nationalist ideologies. He is famous for a gaffe during the Republican presidential primary debate in 2011 where he claimed he would abolish 3 federal agencies but could only name 2 of them.
  • Howard Phillips — Howard Phillips was a conservative political activist, known for founding the Constitution Party, which advocates for a government based on biblical principles. His political ideology and activism were closely aligned with Christian nationalist principles.
  • Buddy Pilgrim
  • Mike Pompeo — Mike Pompeo, former U.S. Secretary of State and CIA Director, is known for his conservative Christian views. His political career and public statements often reflect Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing the importance of Christian values in American foreign and domestic policy.
Mike Pompeo, former Secretary of State and all around nauseating dude, by Midjourney
  • Art Pope — Art Pope is a businessman and political donor known for his support of conservative causes and candidates in North Carolina and nationally.
  • Reverend J. C. Postell
  • POTUS Shield — POTUS Shield is a collection of Charismatic Christian leaders who focus on intercessory prayer and prophecy for the United States government and leadership. It aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in its support for leaders who uphold conservative Christian values.
  • The Power of the Positive Woman — “The Power of the Positive Woman” is a book by Phyllis Schlafly, advocating for conservative Christian views on women’s roles. The book has been influential in the Christian right, aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies in promoting traditional gender roles.
  • Dennis Prager — Dennis Prager is a conservative radio talk show host and writer known for his religious and conservative viewpoints. His work often resonates with Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for the integration of Judeo-Christian values into American life.
  • Praise Network — The Praise Network is a group of Christian radio stations broadcasting religious content, often including evangelical and conservative Christian teachings. Its programming sometimes aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in promoting a Christian worldview.
  • Tom Price — Tom Price is a former U.S. Representative and Secretary of Health and Human Services, known for his conservative policies. His political career has occasionally intersected with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in the realm of health policy and religious freedom.
  • Erik Prince — Erik Prince, the founder of the private security and paramilitary firm Blackwater, is known for his conservative Christian views and his support for conservative causes. His views and activities sometimes align with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in the context of military and security affairs. He is the brother of Betsy DeVos, Michigan industrialist and Secretary of Education in the Trump administration.
Erik Prince and his Blackwater militia private stooges, by Midjourney
  • Scott Pruitt — Scott Pruitt, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, is known for his conservative Christian beliefs. His tenure at the EPA ended after less than 2 years, when he resigned as a result of a growing mass of corruption scandals and ethical violations.
  • Quiverfull movement — The Quiverfull movement is a Christian ideology advocating for large families and traditional gender roles, viewing children as a blessing from God.
  • Oleg Rachkovski
  • Ronald Reagan — Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, was known for incorporating conservative Christian values into his policies and rhetoric. His presidency is often cited as aligning with Christian nationalist ideologies in promoting conservative Christian values in American governance.
  • Ralph Reed — Ralph Reed is the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and was the former executive director of the Christian Coalition. He is a significant figure in Christian nationalist circles, advocating for conservative Christian values in politics.
  • Regent University — Founded in 1977 as CBN University by televangelist Pat Robertson in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Regent University is a private Christian university that stands out for its Christian ideology, pedagogy, and history.
  • Carolyn Richards
  • Road to Majority Conference — The Road to Majority Conference is an annual event hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition, aimed at mobilizing conservative Christians in politics. The conference aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, focusing on advancing conservative Christian values in governance.
  • Pat Robertson — Pat Robertson was a televangelist, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), and former presidential candidate. He is a major figure in Christian nationalist circles, known for his advocacy of conservative Christian values in American society and politics.
  • Jim Robison
  • Roe v. Wade — Roe v. Wade is the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide. It had been a central focus of opposition in Christian nationalist ideologies, which they successfully advocated for its reversal based on conservative Christian ethics.
  • Rousas Rushdoony — Rousas John Rushdoony was a Calvinist philosopher, historian, and theologian, known as the father of Christian Reconstructionism. His teachings, advocating for the application of biblical law to all areas of life, have significantly influenced Christian nationalist thought.
  • Karl Rove — Karl Rove, a political consultant and strategist, is known for his role in shaping modern conservative politics, particularly during the presidency of George W. Bush.
  • John Rustin
  • SAGE Cons — SAGE Cons (Spiritually Active, Governance Engaged Conservatives) refers to a segment of conservative Christians who are highly engaged in the political process.
  • Salem Media Group / Salem Radio Group — The Salem Radio Group is a leading broadcaster of Christian and conservative content, operating numerous radio stations across the United States. Its programming often aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, promoting conservative Christian viewpoints.
  • Richard Mellon Scaife — Richard Mellon Scaife was an American billionaire and publisher, known for funding conservative causes and publications. His philanthropy significantly influenced the growth of conservative and, at times, Christian nationalist ideologies in American politics.
  • Jeff Sessions — Jeff Sessions, former U.S. Attorney General and Senator, is known for his conservative and often Christian-oriented political stance. His policies and public statements often resonate with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in the areas of immigration and religious liberty.
Jeff Sessions, by Midjourney
  • Francis Schaeffer — Francis Schaeffer was an influential evangelical theologian and philosopher, known for his writings on Christianity and culture. His work laid a foundation for the Christian right and indirectly influenced Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Phyllis Schlafly — Phyllis Schlafly was a conservative activist and author, known for her opposition to the feminist movement and her advocacy for conservative Christian values. She was a key figure in the rise of the Christian right, which intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Alan Sears — Alan Sears is an attorney and founder of the Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization known for its conservative Christian legal advocacy. His work often aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, especially in legal battles over religious freedom and traditional values.
  • Jay Sekulow — Jay Sekulow is Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), known for his legal advocacy on behalf of conservative Christian causes. His work frequently intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies in defending religious liberties and conservative values in the legal sphere.
  • W. Cleon Skousen — W. Cleon Skousen was an American conservative author and lecturer, known for his work on anti-communism and the Constitution. His writings have been influential in conservative and Christian nationalist circles, advocating for a conservative interpretation of American history and governance.
  • Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR) — A secretive, men-only Christian nationalist group in the US with close ties to the Claremont Institute and a membership roster predicated on wealth and power. The group’s ideology is tied to strains of white supremacy and government takeover.
  • SonLife Broadcasting Network (SBN) — SonLife Broadcasting Network is a Christian television network run by evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. Its programming focuses on evangelical Christian content and promoting a conservative Christian worldview.
  • SonLife Radio Network — SonLife Radio Network, part of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, broadcasts Christian programming with a focus on evangelical teachings and music.
Jimmy Swaggart crying on national TV
  • Springs Community Church
  • Horatio Robinson Storer — Horatio Robinson Storer was a 19th-century physician known for his campaign against abortion and his contributions to the field of gynecology. His historical role intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies in terms of advocating for conservative Christian morals in medical ethics.
  • R.J. Rushdoony — Rousas John Rushdoony was a theologian and philosopher, known as a foundational figure in the Christian Reconstructionism movement, advocating for applying Biblical law to all aspects of society. His ideology significantly influenced Christian nationalist thought.
  • Southern Baptist Convention — The southern Baptists split with the northern Baptists in 1845 over the issue of slavery.
  • Southern Presbyterian Church — The Southern Presbyterian Church historically refers to Presbyterian denominations in the American South, known for their conservative theological views. Their historical and modern stances often align with Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing traditional Christian values.
  • Southern Strategy — The Southern Strategy was a Republican Party electoral strategy to increase political support among white voters in the South by appealing to racism against African Americans. While not directly a Christian nationalist strategy, it intersects with certain aspects of Christian nationalist politics in its appeal to traditional values and segregation.
  • Darla St. Martin — Darla St. Martin is a prominent figure in the pro-life movement, known for her leadership roles in the National Right to Life Committee. Her activism aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in advocating for anti-abortion policies based on conservative Christian ethics.
  • Stop ERA — Stop ERA was a political movement led by Phyllis Schlafly, aimed at opposing the Equal Rights Amendment. This movement was aligned with Christian nationalist ideologies, advocating for traditional gender roles and conservative Christian values.
  • Students for Life of America — Students for Life of America is a pro-life organization focused on mobilizing young people against abortion. Their activism often intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies, emphasizing the alignment of conservative Christian values with anti-abortion advocacy.
  • Susan B. Anthony List — The Susan B. Anthony List is a non-profit organization that seeks to reduce and ultimately end abortion in the U.S. by supporting pro-life politicians. Its mission aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in advocating for policies based on conservative Christian ethics.
  • Donnie Swaggart — Donnie Swaggart is an evangelist and pastor, part of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, known for his evangelical teachings.
  • Gabriel Swaggart — Gabriel Swaggart is a pastor and television host, part of the Swaggart family’s evangelical ministry. His work, like that of other family members, often aligns with conservative Christian values, occasionally intersecting with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Jimmy Swaggart — Jimmy Swaggart is a well-known Pentecostal evangelist and founder of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, including the SonLife Broadcasting Network. His ministry, marked by traditional evangelical teachings, sometimes aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in promoting conservative Christian values.
Jimmy Swaggart preaching and televangelizing up a storm, by Midjourney
  • Jimmy Swaggart Bible College (JSBC) — Jimmy Swaggart Bible College is an educational institution part of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, focused on training individuals for ministry work with an evangelical Christian perspective.
  • Jimmy Swaggart Telecast — The Jimmy Swaggart Telecast is a Christian television program led by evangelist Jimmy Swaggart, focusing on evangelical preaching and worship.
  • Bruce Taylor
  • Jeff Taylor
  • Steve Taylor
  • Taylor Farms
  • Thomas Road Baptist Church — Thomas Road Baptist Church, founded by Jerry Falwell Sr., is a significant megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia, known for its evangelical Christian teachings. The church has historically been associated with the Christian right and Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • James Henley Thornwell — James Henley Thornwell was a 19th-century Presbyterian preacher and theologian, known for his conservative theological views and defense of slavery. His teachings have been cited in contexts related to Christian nationalist ideologies, especially in the historical context of the American South.
  • Robert Tilton — Robert Tilton is a televangelist known for his prosperity gospel teachings and controversial faith healing practices. His ministry is focused on “individual prosperity.”
  • Unity Project
  • “Values Bus”
  • Values Voters Summit — The Values Voters Summit is an annual political conference hosted by the Family Research Council, known for gathering conservative Christian activists and politicians. The summit aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, focusing on advancing conservative Christian values in politics.
  • Richard Viguerie — Richard Viguerie was a political figure known for pioneering direct mail fundraising for conservative causes. His work has significantly influenced the conservative movement, including aspects that align with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Scott Yenor — Claremont Institute official and Boise State University professor who is a member of the shadowy Society for American Renewal fraternal order of Christian nationalists.
  • Young America’s Foundation — Young America’s Foundation is a conservative youth organization known for promoting conservative ideas among young people. Its activities often intersect with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in advocating for conservative and traditional values in education and public life.
Young America's Foundation of future date rapists, by Midjourney
  • C. Peter Wagner — C. Peter Wagner was a theologian and missiologist, known for his influence in the Charismatic and New Apostolic Reformation movements. His teachings emphasized conservative Christian principles.
  • Chester Ward
  • Washington Watch
  • The Watchmen
  • Doug Wead — Doug Wead is a conservative commentator and author known for his involvement in presidential politics. His work, while primarily political, sometimes intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in his advocacy for conservative values.
  • Well Versed
  • Paul Weyrich — Paul Weyrich was a conservative activist and commentator, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and the Moral Majority. He played a key role in mobilizing the Christian right and influencing Christian nationalist ideologies within American politics.
  • Paula White — Paula White is a televangelist and pastor, known for her association with the prosperity gospel and her role as a spiritual advisor to former President Donald Trump. Her ministry, while primarily focused on individual prosperity and spiritual matters, occasionally intersects with Christian nationalist ideologies.
Paula White, spiritual advisor to Donald Trump, praying with his Cabinet in the White House while he looms over her lecherously, by Midjourney
  • Donald Wildmon — Donald Wildmon is the founder of the American Family Association, a group known for its conservative Christian advocacy. His work aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies, particularly in promoting conservative Christian values in media and culture.
  • Farris Wilks — Farris Wilks is a businessman and conservative political donor, known for his support of Christian and conservative causes. His philanthropy often aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Dan Wilks — Dan Wilks, alongside his brother Farris, is a businessman and significant donor to conservative and Christian causes. His contributions have influenced the conservative political landscape, occasionally intersecting with Christian nationalist ideologies.
  • Ryan P. Williams — President of the Claremont Institute and a board member of the secretive Christian nationalist order seeking to occupy the US government, the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR). He leads Claremont’s mission in the direction of what he calls a “cold civil war” designed to replace its currency democratically-elected leadership.
  • World Ag Expo
  • World Congress of Families — The World Congress of Families is an international organization that promotes conservative Christian values related to the family structure. It aligns with Christian nationalist ideologies in advocating for policies based on traditional Christian views of family and morality.

Learn more:

Christian nationalism terms

Christian nationalism books

What is Dominionism?

3 GOP Cults: Christian Cult, Wealth Cult, White Cult

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Project 2025 mind map of entities

Project 2025, led by Paul Dans and key conservative figures within The Heritage Foundation, sets forth an ambitious conservative vision aimed at fundamentally transforming the role of the federal government. Leonard Leo, a prominent conservative known for his influence on the U.S. Supreme Court‘s composition, is among the project’s leading fundraisers.

The initiative seeks to undo over a century of progressive reforms, tracing back to the establishment of a federal administrative framework by Woodrow Wilson, through the New Deal by Roosevelt, to Johnson’s Great Society. It proposes a significant reduction in the federal workforce, which stands at about 2.25 million people.

Essential measures include reducing funding for, or even abolishing, key agencies such as the Department of Justice, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Departments of Education and Commerce. Additionally, Project 2025 intends to bring semi-independent agencies like the Federal Communications Commission under closer presidential control.

At its heart, Project 2025 aims to secure a durable conservative dominance within the federal government, aligning it closely with the principles of the MAGA movement and ensuring it operates under the direct oversight of the White House. The project is inspired by the “unitary executive theory” of the Constitution, which argues for sweeping presidential authority over the federal administrative apparatus — in direct contradiction with the delicate system of checks and balances architected by the Founders.

The Project 2025 Playbook

To realize their extremist, authoritarian goal, Dans is actively recruiting what he terms “conservative warriors” from legal and government networks, including bar associations and offices of state attorneys general. The aim is to embed these individuals in key legal roles throughout the government, thereby embedding the conservative vision deeply within the federal bureaucracy to shape policy and governance for the foreseeable future.

Continue reading Project 2025: The GOP’s plan for taking power
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The adrenochrome conspiracy theory is a complex and widely debunked claim that has its roots in various strands of mythology, pseudoscience, disinformation, and misinformation. It’s important to approach this topic with a critical thinking perspective, understanding that these claims are not supported by credible evidence or scientific understanding.

Origin and evolution of the adrenochrome theory

The origin of the adrenochrome theory can be traced back to the mid-20th century, but it gained notable prominence in the context of internet culture and conspiracy circles in the 21st century. Initially, adrenochrome was simply a scientific term referring to a chemical compound produced by the oxidation of adrenaline. However, over time, it became entangled in a web of conspiracy theories.

In fiction, the first notable reference to adrenochrome appears in Aldous Huxley’s 1954 work “The Doors of Perception,” where it’s mentioned in passing as a psychotropic substance. Its more infamous portrayal came with Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” where adrenochrome is depicted as a powerful hallucinogen. These fictional representations played a significant role in shaping the later conspiracy narratives around the substance.

The conspiracy theory, explained

The modern adrenochrome conspiracy theory posits that a global elite, often linked to high-profile figures in politics, entertainment, and finance, harvests adrenochrome from human victims, particularly children. According to the theory, this substance is used for its supposed anti-aging properties or as a psychedelic drug.

This theory often intertwines with other conspiracy theories, such as those related to satanic ritual abuse and global cabal elites. It gained significant traction on internet forums and through social media, particularly among groups inclined towards conspiratorial thinking. Adrenochrome theory fundamentally contains antisemitic undertones, given its tight similarity with the ancient blood libel trope — used most famously by the Nazi regime to indoctrinate ordinary Germans into hating the Jews.

Lack of scientific evidence

From a scientific perspective, adrenochrome is a real compound, but its properties are vastly different from what the conspiracy theory claims. It does not have hallucinogenic effects, nor is there any credible evidence to suggest it possesses anti-aging capabilities. The scientific community recognizes adrenochrome as a byproduct of adrenaline oxidation with limited physiological impact on the human body.

Impact and criticism

The adrenochrome conspiracy theory has been widely criticized for its baseless claims and potential to incite violence and harassment. Experts in psychology, sociology, and information science have pointed out the dangers of such unfounded theories, especially in how they can fuel real-world hostility and targeting of individuals or groups.

Furthermore, the theory diverts attention from legitimate issues related to child welfare and exploitation, creating a sensationalist and unfounded narrative that undermines genuine efforts to address these serious problems.

Psychological and social dynamics

Psychologists have explored why people believe in such conspiracy theories. Factors like a desire for understanding in a complex world, a need for control, and a sense of belonging to a group can drive individuals towards these narratives. Social media algorithms and echo chambers further reinforce these beliefs, creating a self-sustaining cycle of misinformation.

Various legal and social actions have been taken to combat the spread of the adrenochrome conspiracy and similar misinformation. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have implemented policies to reduce the spread of conspiracy theories, including adrenochrome-related content. Additionally, educational initiatives aim to improve media literacy and critical thinking skills among the public to better discern fact from fiction.

Ultimately, the adrenochrome conspiracy theory is a baseless narrative that has evolved from obscure references in literature and pseudoscience to a complex web of unfounded claims, intertwined with other conspiracy theories. It lacks any credible scientific support and has been debunked by experts across various fields.

The theory’s prevalence serves as a case study in the dynamics of misinformation and the psychological underpinnings of conspiracy belief systems. Efforts to combat its spread are crucial in maintaining a well-informed and rational public discourse.

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“Source amnesia” is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when an individual can remember information but cannot recall where the information came from. In the context of media and disinformation, source amnesia plays a crucial role in how misinformation spreads and becomes entrenched in people’s beliefs. This overview will delve into the nature of source amnesia, its implications for media consumption, and strategies for addressing it.

Understanding source amnesia

Source amnesia is part of the broader category of memory errors where the content of a memory is dissociated from its source. This dissociation can lead to a situation where individuals accept information as true without remembering or critically evaluating where they learned it. The human brain tends to remember facts or narratives more readily than it does the context or source of those facts, especially if the information aligns with pre-existing beliefs or emotions. This bias can lead to the uncritical acceptance of misinformation if the original source was unreliable but the content is memorable.

Source amnesia in the media landscape

The role of source amnesia in media consumption has become increasingly significant in the digital age. The vast amount of information available online and the speed at which it spreads mean that individuals are often exposed to news, facts, and narratives from myriad sources, many of which might be dubious or outright false. Social media platforms, in particular, exacerbate this problem by presenting information in a context where source credibility is often obscured or secondary to engagement.

Disinformation campaigns deliberately exploit source amnesia. They spread misleading or false information, knowing that once the information is detached from its dubious origins, it is more likely to be believed and shared. This effect is amplified by confirmation bias, where individuals are more likely to remember and agree with information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, regardless of the source’s credibility.

Implications of source amnesia

The implications of source amnesia in the context of media and disinformation are profound. It can lead to the widespread acceptance of false narratives, undermining public discourse and trust in legitimate information sources. Elections, public health initiatives, and social cohesion can be adversely affected when disinformation is accepted as truth due to source amnesia.

The phenomenon also poses challenges for fact-checkers and educators, as debunking misinformation requires not just presenting the facts but also overcoming the emotional resonance and simplicity of the original, misleading narratives.

Addressing source amnesia

Combating source amnesia and its implications for disinformation requires a multi-pronged approach, focusing on education, media literacy, and critical thinking. Here are some strategies:

  1. Media Literacy Education: Teaching people to critically evaluate sources and the context of the information they consume can help mitigate source amnesia. This includes understanding the bias and reliability of different media outlets, recognizing the hallmarks of credible journalism, and checking multiple sources before accepting information as true.
  2. Critical Thinking Skills: Encouraging critical thinking can help individuals question the information they encounter, making them less likely to accept it uncritically. This involves skepticism about information that aligns too neatly with pre-existing beliefs or seems designed to elicit an emotional response.
  3. Source Citing: Encouraging the practice of citing sources in media reports and social media posts can help readers trace the origin of information. This practice can aid in evaluating the credibility of the information and combat the spread of disinformation.
  4. Digital Platforms’ Responsibility: Social media platforms and search engines play a crucial role in addressing source amnesia by improving algorithms to prioritize reliable sources and by providing clear indicators of source credibility. These platforms can also implement features that encourage users to evaluate the source before sharing information.
  5. Public Awareness Campaigns: Governments and NGOs can run public awareness campaigns highlighting the importance of source evaluation. These campaigns can include guidelines for identifying credible sources and the risks of spreading unverified information.

Source amnesia is a significant challenge in the fight against disinformation, making it easy for false narratives to spread unchecked. By understanding this phenomenon and implementing strategies to address it, society can better safeguard against the corrosive effects of misinformation.

It requires a concerted effort from individuals, educators, media outlets, and digital platforms to ensure that the public remains informed and critical in their consumption of information. This collective action can foster a more informed public, resilient against the pitfalls of source amnesia and the spread of disinformation.

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The backfire effect is a cognitive phenomenon that occurs when individuals are presented with information that contradicts their existing beliefs, leading them not only to reject the challenging information but also to further entrench themselves in their original beliefs.

This effect is counterintuitive, as one might expect that presenting factual information would correct misconceptions. However, due to various psychological mechanisms, the opposite can occur, complicating efforts to counter misinformation, disinformation, and the spread of conspiracy theories.

Origin and mechanism

The term “backfire effect” was popularized by researchers Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler, who in 2010 conducted studies demonstrating that corrections to false political information could actually deepen an individual’s commitment to their initial misconception. This effect is thought to stem from a combination of cognitive dissonance (the discomfort experienced when holding two conflicting beliefs) and identity-protective cognition (wherein individuals process information in a way that protects their sense of identity and group belonging).

Relation to media, disinformation, echo chambers, and media bubbles

In the context of media and disinformation, the backfire effect is particularly relevant. The proliferation of digital media platforms has made it easier than ever for individuals to encounter information that contradicts their beliefs — but paradoxically, it has also made it easier for them to insulate themselves in echo chambers and media bubblesโ€”environments where their existing beliefs are constantly reinforced and rarely challenged.

Echo chambers refer to situations where individuals are exposed only to opinions and information that reinforce their existing beliefs, limiting their exposure to diverse perspectives. Media bubbles are similar, often facilitated by algorithms on social media platforms that curate content to match users’ interests and past behaviors, inadvertently reinforcing their existing beliefs and psychological biases.

Disinformation campaigns can exploit these dynamics by deliberately spreading misleading or false information, knowing that it is likely to be uncritically accepted and amplified within certain echo chambers or media bubbles. This can exacerbate the backfire effect, as attempts to correct the misinformation can lead to individuals further entrenching themselves in the false beliefs, especially if those beliefs are tied to their identity or worldview.

How the backfire effect happens

The backfire effect happens through a few key psychological processes:

  1. Cognitive Dissonance: When confronted with evidence that contradicts their beliefs, individuals experience discomfort. To alleviate this discomfort, they often reject the new information in favor of their pre-existing beliefs.
  2. Confirmation Bias: Individuals tend to favor information that confirms their existing beliefs and disregard information that contradicts them. This tendency towards bias can lead them to misinterpret or dismiss corrective information.
  3. Identity Defense: For many, beliefs are tied to their identity and social groups. Challenging these beliefs can feel like a personal attack, leading individuals to double down on their beliefs as a form of identity defense.

Prevention and mitigation

Preventing the backfire effect and its impact on public discourse and belief systems requires a multifaceted approach:

  1. Promote Media Literacy: Educating the public on how to critically evaluate sources and understand the mechanisms behind the spread of misinformation can empower individuals to think critically and assess the information they encounter.
  2. Encourage Exposure to Diverse Viewpoints: Breaking out of media bubbles and echo chambers by intentionally seeking out and engaging with a variety of perspectives can reduce the likelihood of the backfire effect by making conflicting information less threatening and more normal.
  3. Emphasize Shared Values: Framing challenging information in the context of shared values or goals can make it less threatening to an individual’s identity, reducing the defensive reaction.
  4. Use Fact-Checking and Corrections Carefully: Presenting corrections in a way that is non-confrontational and, when possible, aligns with the individual’s worldview or values can make the correction more acceptable. Visual aids and narratives that resonate with the individual’s experiences or beliefs can also be more effective than plain factual corrections.
  5. Foster Open Dialogue: Encouraging open, respectful conversations about contentious issues can help to humanize opposing viewpoints and reduce the instinctive defensive reactions to conflicting information.

The backfire effect presents a significant challenge in the fight against misinformation and disinformation, particularly in the context of digital media. Understanding the psychological underpinnings of this effect is crucial for developing strategies to promote a more informed and less polarized public discourse. By fostering critical thinking, encouraging exposure to diverse viewpoints, and promoting respectful dialogue, it may be possible to mitigate the impact of the backfire effect and create a healthier information ecosystem.

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Christian nationalism library

The Christian nationalist movement has been coalescing itself over the past 50 years, partly in the shadows and partly very publicly through scandals and political strife. It overlaps and shares some common cause with the white nationalism movement and nationalism ideologies more broadly.

Here are some of the best resources I’ve found to navigate the zealous but fragile world of Christian nationalism, so far:

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