RWAs

Newspeak Dictionary

George Orwell’s 1984 lexicon is a lingua franca of authoritarianism. Newspeak words have the stamp of boots on pavement, and are most likely to be found in the chryons of the OAN Network.

The terse portmanteus are blunt and blocky, like a brutalist architecture vocabulary. Their simplicity indicates appeal to the small-minded masses for easily digested pablum.

About Newspeak

Newspeak is a fictional language created by George Orwell for his dystopian novel 1984, published in 1949. The language serves as an essential tool for the oppressive regime, known as The Party, to control and manipulate the population of Oceania. Newspeak is intentionally designed to restrict the range of thought, eliminate words that convey dissent or rebellion, and enforce political orthodoxy. The language accomplishes this by reducing the complexity of vocabulary and grammar, condensing words into simplified forms, and eliminating synonyms and antonyms. The Party aims to eliminate the potential for subversive thoughts by ensuring that the language itself lacks the necessary words and expressions to articulate them.

In Orwell’s world, Newspeak works hand in hand with the concept of “doublethink,” which requires individuals to accept contradictory beliefs simultaneously. This manipulation of language and thought is central to maintaining the Party’s power and control over the populace. Newspeak’s ultimate goal is to render dissent and rebellion impossible by making the very thoughts of these actions linguistically unexpressable. As a result, Newspeak serves as a chilling representation of how language can be weaponized to restrict personal freedoms, suppress independent thought, and perpetuate an authoritarian regime.

Newspeak rises again

Those boots ring out again, from Belarus to Hungary to the United States. There are book burnings and the defunding of libraries in multiple states. From Ron DeSantis to Trumpian anti-intellectualism to the rampant proliferation of conspiracy theories, It’s a good time to brush up on the brutalism still actively struggling to take hold.

Newspeak Orwell

Newspeak Dictionary

Newspeak termDefinition
anteThe prefix that replaces before
artsemArtificial insemination
bbBig Brother
bellyfeelThe blind, enthusiastic acceptance of an idea
blackwhiteTo accept whatever one is told, regardless of the facts. In the novel, it is described as "...to say that black is white when [the Party says so]" and "...to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary".
crimestopTo rid oneself of unorthodox thoughts that go against Ingsoc's ideology
crimethinkThoughts and concepts that go against Ingsoc, frequently referred to by the standard English “thoughtcrime”, such as liberty, equality, and privacy, and also the criminal act of holding such thoughts
dayorderOrder of the day
depDepartment
doubleplusgoodThe word that replaced Oldspeak words meaning "superlatively good", such as excellent, fabulous, and fantastic
doubleplusungoodThe word that replaced Oldspeak words meaning "superlatively bad", such as terrible and horrible
doublethinkThe act of simultaneously believing two, mutually contradictory ideas
duckspeakAutomatic, vocal support of political orthodoxies
facecrimeA facial expression which reveals that one has committed thoughtcrime
FicdepThe Ministry of Truth's Fiction Department
freeThe absence and the lack of something. "Intellectually free" and "politically free" have been replaced by crimethinkful.
–fulThe suffix for forming an adjective
fullwiseThe word that replaces words such as fully, completely, and totally
goodthinkA synonym for "political orthodoxy" and "a politically orthodox thought" as defined by the Party
goodsexSexual intercourse only for procreation, without any physical pleasure on the part of the woman, and strictly within marriage
goodwiseThe word that replaced well as an adverb
IngsocThe English Socialist Party (i.e. The Party)
joycampLabour camp
malquotedInaccurate representations of the words of Big Brother and of the Party
MiniluvThe Ministry of Love, where the secret police interrogate and torture the enemies of Oceania (torture and brainwashing)
MinipaxThe Ministry of Peace, who wage war for Oceania
MinitrueThe Ministry of Truth, who manufacture consent by way of lies, propaganda, and distorted historical records, while supplying the proles (proletariat) with synthetic culture and entertainment
MiniplentyThe Ministry of Plenty, who keep the population in continual economic hardship (starvation and rationing)
OldspeakStandard English
oldthinkIdeas from the time before the Party's revolution, such as objectivity and rationalism
ownlifeA person's anti-social tendency to enjoy solitude and individualism
plusgoodThe word that replaced Oldspeak words meaning "very good", such as great
plusungoodThe word that replaced "very bad"
PornosecThe pornography production section (Porno sector) of the Ministry of Truth's Fiction Department
prolefeedPopular culture for entertaining Oceania's working class
RecdepThe Ministry of Truth's Records Department, where Winston Smith rewrites historical records so they conform to the Party's agenda
rectifyThe Ministry of Truth's euphemism for manipulating a historical record
refTo refer (to someone or something)
secSector
sexcrimeA sexual immorality, such as fornication, adultery, oral sex, and homosexuality; any sex act that deviates from Party directives to use sex only for procreation
speakwriteA machine that transcribes speech into text
TeledepThe Ministry of Truth's Telecommunications Department
telescreenA two-way television set with which the Party spy upon Oceania's population
thinkpolThe Thought Police, the secret police force of Oceania's government
unpersonAn executed person whose existence is erased from history and memory
upsubAn upwards submission to higher authority
–wiseThe only suffix for forming an adverb
See also:
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Propaganda is a form of communication that aims to influence people’s beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors towards a particular cause, idea, or ideology. It involves the use of persuasive techniques to shape public opinion and to create a favorable image of a person, group, or organization, while discrediting or demonizing its opponents.

Propaganda can take many different forms, including posters, speeches, films, radio broadcasts, social media posts, and news articles. It can be used for political, social, religious, or commercial purposes, and it is often associated with authoritarian regimes or totalitarian societies.

One of the key characteristics of propaganda is its use of emotional appeals, rather than rational arguments, to sway people’s opinions. Propagandists often appeal to people’s fears, hopes, or prejudices, and use catchy slogans, symbols, or images to make their message more memorable and persuasive. They may also use repetition, exaggeration, or distortion of facts to reinforce their message and to create a sense of urgency or crisis.

Disinformation at scale

Another key feature of propaganda is its use of selective or biased information to support its claims and to discredit opposing views. Propagandists may use half-truths, rumors, lies, or Big Lies to create a false or misleading picture of the situation, and to manipulate people’s perceptions of reality. They may also use censorship or propaganda techniques such as suppression of dissent, demonization of opponents, or use of fear to create a chilling climate of fear and intimidation.

Propaganda can also be used to create a sense of unity or identity among a group of people, by emphasizing their shared values, beliefs, or interests, and by portraying outsiders or enemies as a threat to their well-being. Propaganda can thus be used to mobilize people for a common cause, such as a war or a political campaign, or to reinforce existing social norms and values.

However, propaganda can also have negative consequences, such as creating divisions, fostering hatred, or suppressing dissent. It can lead to the dehumanization of other groups or individuals, and to the justification of violence or discrimination. Propaganda can also undermine democracy by limiting people’s access to accurate information and by creating a distorted view of reality.

To resist propaganda, it is important to be critical of the messages we receive, to question the sources and motives of the information, and to seek out alternative perspectives and sources of information. We should also be aware of our own biases and prejudices, and strive to be open-minded and tolerant of different opinions and viewpoints.

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authoritarians gather for a witch hunt

Many people around the world were shocked in the aftermath of World War II. How could “polite” society break down so utterly, so swiftly, and so zealously? Why did authoritarian personality traits come to dominate human affairs, seemingly out of nowhere? How thin is this veneer of civilization, really?

The authoritarian personality is characterized by excessive strictness and a propensity to exhibit oppressive behavior towards perceived subordinates. On the flip side, they treat authority figures with mindless obedience and unquestioning compliance. They also have an aversion to difference, ambiguity, complexity, and diversity.

How did they get this way? Are people born with authoritarian personalities, or is the authoritarian “made” predominately by circumstance?

Authoritarian personality studies

A braintrust of scholars, public servants, authors, psychologists, and others have been analyzing these questions ever since. Some of the most prominent thinkers on the subject of authoritarianism were either themselves affected by the Nazi regime, or lived through the war in some capacity. Other more recent contributions have built on those original foundations, refining and extending them as more new history continues to unfold with right-wing behavior to observe.

Continue reading Essential thinkers on authoritarian personality theory
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These days the GOP is just 3 cults in a trenchcoat — nevertheless, it’s helpful to understand some of the ideologies and extremist beliefs that folks on the right engage with. Understanding the psychology can help us make predictions about actions, reactions, and other developments in the political landscape.

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republican vs. democrat cage match boxing ring

Buckle up, we’re in for a wild ride. Many of the serious scholars of political history and authoritarian regimes are sounding the alarm bells that, although it is a very very good thing that we got the Trump crime family out of the Oval Office, it is still a very very bad thing for America to have so rapidly tilted towards authoritarianism. How did we get here?! How has hyper partisanship escalated to the point of an attempted coup by 126 sitting Republican House Representatives? How has political polarization gotten this bad?

These are some of the resources that have helped me continue grappling with that question, and with the rapidly shifting landscape of information warfare. How can we understand this era of polarization, this age of tribalism? This outline is a work in progress, and I’m planning to keep adding to this list as the tape keeps rolling.

Right-Wing Authoritarianism

Authoritarianism is both a personality type and a form of government — it operates at both the interpersonal and the societal level. The words authoritarian and fascist are often used interchangeably, but fascism is a more specific type of authoritarianism, and far more historically recent.

America has had flavors of authoritarianism since its founding, and when fascism came along the right-wing authoritarians ate it up — and deeply wanted the United States to be a part of it. Only after they became social pariahs did they change position to support American involvement in World War II — and some persisted even after the attack of Pearl Harbor.

Scholars of authoritarianism

  • Hannah Arendt — The Origins of Totalitarianism
  • Bob Altemeyer — The Authoritarians
  • Derrida — the logic of the unconscious; performativity in the act of lying
  • ketman — Ketman is the psychological concept of concealing one’s true aims, akin to doublethink in Orwell’s 1984, that served as a central theme to Polish dissident Czesław Miłosz‘s book The Captive Mind about intellectual life under totalitarianism during the Communist post-WWII occupation.
  • Erich Fromm — coined the term “malignant narcissism” to describe the psychological character of the Nazis. He also wrote extensively about the mindset of the authoritarian follower in his seminal work, Escape from Freedom.
  • Eric Hoffer — his book The True Believers explores the mind of the authoritarian follower, and the appeal of losing oneself in a totalist movement
  • Fascism — elevation of the id as the source of truth; enthusiasm for political violence
  • Tyrants
  • John Dean — 3 types of authoritarian personality:
    • social dominators
    • authoritarian followers
    • double highs — social dominators who can “switch” to become followers in certain circumstances
  • Loyalty; hero worship
    • Freud = deeply distrustful of hero worship and worried that it indulged people’s needs for vertical authority. He found the archetype of the authoritarian primal father very troubling.
  • Ayn Rand
    • The Fountainhead (1943)
    • Atlas Shrugged (1957)
    • Objectivism
  • Greatness Thinking; heroic individualism
  • Nietszche — will to power; the Uberman
  • Richard Hofstadter — The Paranoid Style
  • Lakoff — moral framing; strict father morality
  • Neil Postman — Entertaining Ourselves to Death
  • Anti-Intellectualism
  • Can be disguised as hyper-rationalism (Communism)
  • More authoritarianism books
Continue reading Hyper Partisanship: How to understand American politics today
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We glibly believed it could never happen here even though we’ve been warned again and again. And in some sense, even though it’s been here all along — hiding in plain sight. It could happen here, and it did, because it’s happened here before. This dictionary of American authoritarianism collects definitions and charts the rise of language, ideology, tactics, and historical movements of American authoritarians, to arm us with the knowledge we need to understand the tricks of the trade.

For a long time it was convenient to think of authoritarian personality as primarily a European problem, or in any case, a phenomenon that happened elsewhere. We are still waking up (…again) to the scope and depth of the problem, while anti-government groups organize relatively openly and we have yet to see justice for the January 6 attack on our capital. There is much work to be done, and in the meantime we can always continue to educate ourselves about our nation’s history — and the role of slavery, white supremacy, and racism in the shaping of the country and the future class structure of today’s America.

The myth of white innocence is toxic to this understanding. Those who say they “don’t see” race or “don’t want to talk about” race put their white privilege on full display in demanding their right to opt-out of the discussion on race. They’re not interested in having a discussion on race — they’re interested in silencing events like the Tulsa Race Massacre and ensuring we lack the language even to describe the horrors being visited upon human beings by the silencers. The only “discussion” they want to have about the matter is spoken in the words of Smith & Wesson, Chapter AR-15.

American Authoritarianism

White supremacy, in fact, in part inspired Hitler and the Nazis. In turn, the Nazis inspired the original America First movement at the hands of Charles Lindbergh, a notoriously avowed anti-Semite who vociferously opposed America’s involvement in World War II. Lindbergh and the other early movement conservative extremists lost the battle, and the Allies won the war — thus, fascism as an ideology was defeated in the popular mind for a goodly while.

But prejudice and bigotry are beasts that never sleep — only fitfully slumber and simmer beneath the surface. Bigotry has been rebuilding covertly for years and decades, if it can even be said to have gone away. America has always had its strain of autocratic fascination — and that strain of authoritarianism began flirting with what became fascism in the 20th century. The extremists yearning for a consummation of American fascism have continued to work diligently for almost a century, and have now largely succeeded in injecting a virulent form of nationalism, xenophobia, and isolationism into mainstream GOP politics in the 21st century.

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 seemed to unleash these latent forces that have been amassing since the Reagan years, growing more virulent during the 1990s. From Pat Buchanan and Newt Gingrich of yesteryear to Marjorie Taylor Greene and Ron DeSantis today, the American right-wing is more and more overtly appealing to anti-democratic methods and ideologies — and no longer seem to be regarded as the kooks and cranks of the Republican Party as their equivalents were during the John Birch Society era.

Authoritarianism Dictionary

I’ll be adding to this authoritarianism dictionary over time, as I can chip away at it and as new words get added to the lexicon. It’s highly encouraging that the American people were able to throw off the would-be dictator Trump, but the Republican party continues to press their seditious aims in his name. They continue to trade on the Confederate ideals long defeated, discredited, and dishonored in this nation. Let’s educate each other on the techniques being used against us by the powerful to limit our frames, and to inhibit our awareness, our choices, and our awareness of our choices.

The hour is late, and we must act with all haste.

TermTopicDefinition
1st Amendmentgovernment"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
2nd Amendmentgovernment"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
13th Amendmentwhite supremacyThe Amendment that put an end to slavery. It was passed by Congress and ratified by 2/3 of the states in 1865.
14th Amendmentwhite supremacyThe second Constitutional Amendment passed following the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to freed African American former slaves, along with equal civil and legal rights as specified in the Constitution.
15th Amendmentwhite supremacyThird and last of the Reconstruction Amendments, the Fifteenth gave African Americans the right to vote -- and prohibited any type of voter discrimination on the basis of race.
19th AmendmentmisogynyThe woman's Suffrage Amendment gave women the right to vote in the United States.
4chanalt-RightA notorious internet message board with an unruly culture capable of trolling, pranks, and crimes.
4GWFourth-generation warfare, a model of hybrid warfare proposed by William S. Lind (of "cultural Marxism" fame)
8chanalt-RightIf 4chan wasn't raw and lawless enough for you, you could try the even more right-wing "free speech"-haven 8chan while it still stood (now 8kun). Described by its founder Frederick Bennan as "if 4chan and reddit had a baby," the site is notorious for incubating Gamergate, which morphed into PizzaGate, which morphed into QAnon -- and for generally being a cesspool of humanity's worst stuff.
8kunalt-RightThe rebranded incarnation of 8chan after being booted offline and haggling with its founder, Frederick Brennan.
abortionreligious extremismThe safe medical procedure for ending a pregnancy.
active measuresRussianA style of political warfare originating in the Soviet Union in the 1920s incorporating spycraft, disinformation, propaganda, sabotage, and destabilization, among other offensive programs targeting the USSR's geopolitical foes including the United States.
ad populumRhetorical fallacy that assumes an opinion shared by the majority is correct -- without consideration of the credentials of the group.
aggrieved entitlementwhite supremacyA term coined by sociologist Michael Kimmel, who documents the perceived emasculation of America's white male uneducated class and their reactionary rage against social justice and marginal groups getting the spotlight.
America's "original sin"white supremacyA reference to the institution of slavery.
amoralabuse & controlWithout morality; without empathy or compassion.
anti-abortionreligious extremismPolitical movement formed in the 1970s to overturn Roe v. Wade, that has become a major pillar of the Republican Party
anti-Communistconspiracy theoryThe Cold War Red Scare was promulgated by Senator Eugene McCarthy with help from lawyer Roy Cohn -- who later famously weaned Donald Trump in his image. The John Birch Society and movement conservatives seethed about ehe enemies within, as middle America set about booming with the Boomers for an entire generation of widely shared prosperity.
anti-intraceptionpsychological warfarePsychologist Theodor Adorno's term for individuals who resist self-reflection and exhibit the absence of looking inward.
anti-racism
anti-Semitism
anti-taxplutocracyGrover Norquist is a little piggie
armed robberyorganized crimeHolding someone or something up at gunpoint.
aryan
Ashe experimentspsychological warfare
ASPDabuse & controlantisocial personality disorder
assassinationparamilitaryThe killing of a head of state or other important figure for political or ideological reasons, as opposed to murder as a crime of passion.
astroturfingpsychological warfarePretending a well organized and financed operation is a grassroots groundswell
authoritarianismgovernment
banality of evilHannah Arendt coined the phrase “banality of evil” to refer to the confoundingly commonplace motives of the Nazis who perpetrated some of the worst war crimes in history -- they would never have struck anyone as potential mass murderers before the war.
banana republicplutocracypolitically unstable countries whose economies are monocultures controlled by an oligarchy; puppet states
bandwagon
Biblical inerrancyBelief in the literal truth of every single passage of the Bible
The Big LieA giant, obviously false lie repeated over and over again until people start to believe it
birth controlmisogyny
birtherismConspiracy theory started by Donald Trump claiming that Barack Obama wasn't born in the U.S. and thus, ineligible for the presidency
bitcoinalt-RightThe original cryptocurrency represents an entirely new form of money; a way to store value digitally usig the blockchain.
Black Codeswhite supremacy
black-pilled
BLMwhite supremacyBlack Lives Matter
BLM (US)governmentBureau of Land Management
blockchainalt-RightDigital ledger of events and transactions that powers cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
blood libelconspiracy theory
Blue Checkspsychological warfareReference to Twitter's "verified" feature for certain members, who have satisfied the company that they are who they say they are. Originally the feature was meant to identify the official accounts of news sites and reporters, so it has both an association with -- and a legitimate lineage from -- the media industry.
bolt holeEnd TimesA type of retreat or refuge for those in the survivalist subculture, to be absconded to in case of disaster or apocalypse.
Brooks Brothers RiotSedition Caucus
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)white supremacySupreme Court decision ordering the desegregation of schools. Resistance to the ruling took the form of "states' rights" advocates, among much else.
bugmanNew Right word for liberal men who supposedly lack tangible life skills
bug-out location (BOL)End TimesAnother name for a bolt hole or survivalist refuge location.
CalexitSedition CaucusMovement to split the state of California into East and West states
CalvinismThe ideology of predestination means you can't do anything to change your fate, but you can *act* like you're saved and that's close enough, to Calvin.
capital gains taxplutocracy
carried-interest taxmore significant for private equity than for hedge fundsa subset of capital gains taxationWarren Buffett’s famous complaint that he is taxed at a lower rate than his secretary: “It offends our values as a nation when an investment manager making fifty million dollars can pay a lower tax rate on her earned income than a teacher making fifty thousand dollars pays on her income.”
the Cathedralconspiracy theory
cathexisA kind of fusion the people of a nation may claim to feel with the fascist leader.
Citizens UnitedA Supreme Court case that opened the doorway wide to the influence of dark -- i.e. untradeable, not transparent -- money in American politics.
civil society
Civil Warwhite supremacy
climate change denialism
clown worldconspiracy theory
CloudFlareBig TechA company that protects websites from cyberattacks, it dropped support for 8chan after the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso. The shooter had posted his anti-immigrant manifesto on 8chan before the event, another in a series of eerily similar patterned shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand and a San Diego synagogue.
Cluster Babuse & control
collective narcissismabuse & control
Columbine Massacrepolitical violence
Communismgovernment
The Confederacypolitical violence
conscience
conspiracy theorypsychological warfare
convict leasingwhite supremacy
copperheadismwhite supremacyA citizen of the North who was against the Civil War and favored negotiating a settlement with the South was referred to, pejoratively, as a copperhead.
covert narcissistpsychological warfare
Critical Race Theorywhite supremacy
Critical Theoryconspiracy theory
crocodile tears
crying wolf
cultism
cultsabuse & control
cultural Marxism
Dark Enlightenment
Dark MAGA
dark moneyplutocracy
death cult
deep stateconspiracy theoryNetworks of opposition within governments who undermine the official regime
democratic socialismgovernment
desegregationwhite supremacyThe end of segregation between white and Black society in the U.S., ending formally in the 1950s and 60s.
disinformationpsychological warfare
dispensationalism
domestic violenceabuse & control
Doomsday ClockEnd Times
double standardmisogyny
down ballotgovernment
doxingabuse & controlResearching and broadcasting personally identifiable information about an individual
Drain the SwampMAGACampaign slogan of Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential contest.
eco-fascist
El Paso Walmart shooting
Emancipation Proclamationwhite supremacy
empathy
estate taxplutocracy
"Eternal Rome"Ideology positing Russia as a geopolitical bulwark of conservatism against a weak-kneed West (part of Alexander Dugin's reformulation of Eurasianism theory)
ethnic cleansing
exfiltrationcybersecurityThe removal or copying of data from one server to another without the knowledge of the owner
extra-Constitutional
facial recognitionsurveillance capitalismTechnology that matches surveillance video and photography with large databases of known subjects' faces to identify them
Fairness Doctrine1949 FCC policy requiring broadcast networks to present controversial issues important to the public in a non-partisan way, that was repealed under Reagan in 1987.
fake newsdisinformation
false flagRussiancovert operations designed to deceive by appearing as though they are carried out by other entities, groups, or nations than those who actually executed them
fascismgovernment
fellow travellers
fifth column
fifth world warRussiannon-linear war; the war of all against all
filibuster
Financial Crimes Enforcement NEtwork (FinCEN)organized crimeDepartment within the Treasury that handles and maiontains FBAR filings from US persons holding in excess of $10,000 in foreign banks.
FISA Courtorganized crime
FISA warrantorganized crime
fiscal policyplutocracy
flat earthersconspiracy theory
Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)psychological warfareLegal statute requiring those persons lobbying on behalf of a foreign government or other entity to register such with the U.S. government.
foreign bank account report (FBAR)organized crimeRequired disclosure to the US treasury by persons holding in excess of $10,000 in funds in foreign banks.
forensicslaw enforcement
forever wars
The Frankfurt School
Freedmen's Bureau
FreedomFestConservative evangelical event annually in Las Vegas
Free Speech
free tradeplutocracy
fronto-paralimbic areaPart of the brain associated with empathy, along with the anterior insula
fundamentalism
Gabalt-Right
GamerGatealt-Right
genocide
gerrymanderinggovernmentThe practice of selecting voter districts based on party registration lines so as to make it easier to control larger blocks of the elctorate.
gift taxplutocracy
"global cabal"conspiracy theoryeuphemism in far-right Russian discourse to refer to a perceived "Jewish conspiracy" behind the international order of institutions like NATO and the EU
globalists
Grand Jury16 to 23 people impaneled to hear evidence from a legal prosecution, and decide if said prosecution has a caseworthy set of evidence to bring charges.
Greensboro Massacrewhite supremacy
Great Awakening
Great Migrationwhite supremacy
Great Societygovernment
greed
Guantanamo
happy talkTim Snyder's term for the ubiquitous affect of technology & unquestionable conviction that tech is helping significantly and never harming.
human traffickingorganized crime
hybrid warfarepsychological warfare
hypercapitalism
incelmisogyny"involuntary celibate" -- a male individual who believes society owes him sex
inflationplutocracy
information warfaredisinformation
integralist
interest ratesplutocracy
internationalistconspiracy theoryAnother word for "globalist" or "cosmopolitanist," all of them also words for Jewish people
interpositionwhite supremacyDubious theory underpinning the idea of states' rights, which is that individual states have veto power over any laws passed by the federal government
Iran-Contra
iron triangleA conspiracy between organized criminals, corrupt government officials, and business leaders to turn the state into a kleptocracy -- or "rule by thieves"
Jim Crow Southwhite supremacy
Johnson Amendmentprosperity gospelAllowed televangelists to funnel tax-free riches into luxury goods and political advocacy
Karenwhite supremacy
kayfabeThe "play pretend" convention of presenting a staged performance as if it were spontaneous and authentic -- a trope of professional wrestling.
kleptocracyLiterally, "rule by thieves" -- a system of government in which the people at the top steal wealth from the nation and its people for themselves and their cronies.
KochtopusplutocracyTerm for the sprawling political machinery of the Kansas-based billionaire Koch Industries inheritees, Charles and David.
kompromatRussiancompromising material on a head of state or other important figure; typically used for blackmail purposes
lamestream mediaalt-Right
late Republican periodA way of stating a common belief on the New Right, that America is a kind of late-stage Rome awaiting its Caesar
leaderless resistance
liberalismgovernmentPolitical and ethical framework based on individual liberty via human rights and equal protection
libertines
literacy tests
lobbyinggovernment
"Lock her up!"MAGAChant led by Mike Flynn at the RNC in 2016, referring to Hillary Clinton's email scandal which turned out to be a nothingburger
Logan Actgovernment
Lost Cause religionconspiracy theoryAfter the Civil War, the Confederates never accepted defeat. Instead, they wove a noble victim mythology into white southern Christianity, in an attempt to memory hole the terrorism they'd wrought -- and wished to continue practicing without scrutiny or accountability, thank you very much.
lynchingwhite supremacyExtrajudicial murder, sometimes publicly, of Black men and women -- often for invented crimes
Machiavellian
machine learningBig Tech
Mafia stateorganized crimeA systematic corruption of government by organized crime syndicates.
MAGAMAGA"Make America Great Again" -- one of Donald Trump's campaign slogans.
malignant envypsychological warfare
malignant narcissismabuse & control
"man code"Mentioned by Raffensberger in relation to the Trump extortion call: that if Trump hadn't lied about it in public, he might not have released the tape, just chalking it up to "private criminal attempts between two men" aka "man code"
manospheremisogyny
Marxismgovernment
the matrix
mental predationabuse & control
#MeToomisogyny
microaggressions
micropenismisogyny
micro-propaganda machineThe “micro-propaganda machine” (MPM) — an influence network that can tailor people’s opinions, emotional reactions, and create “viral” sharing episodes around what should be serious or contemplative issues
millennarianismconspiracy theory
minority rule
mirror neurons
misogynymisogyny
MK UltraReportedly a CIA program in the 50s that conducted research into mind control and brainwashing -- its findings were apparently so shocking that the program was shut down and never heard from again.
money launderingorganized crimeAttempts and processes to obscure the sources of funds moving into or through a system
multiculturalism
narcissismabuse & control
narcissistic collusionabuse & control
natalityHannah Arendt's term, and her most hopefuly theory for the future of humankind -- that it will continually be renewed by the literal birth of new generations of humans to reinterpret the human condition and our existence in the world.
national debtplutocracy
national deficitplutocracy
national security
NDANon-disclosure agreement
neggingabuse & control
neomaniaobsession with the new -- a hallmark of American culture
neo-reactionaries
New Dealgovernment
New Jim Crowwhite supremacy
New Right
non-linear warfareRussian
normalcy bias
novichokRussianmilitary-grade nerve agent developed by Russia and used in the poisoning of former FSB agent turned Putin critic Andrei Skripal and his daughter in Lonson in March, 2018
nullificationwhite supremacy
NRxneo-Reactionary, an extremist techophilic ideology popular on the right
obstruction
Oklahoma City bombing
oligarchyplutocracy
one-party stategovernment
open source intelligenceintelligence
oppointelligenceshort form of opposition research
outrage industrysurveillance capitalism
PAC
Palantirsurveillance capitalism
paralipsisdisinformationA rhetorical device in which the speaker feigns ignorance of the thing he or she is saying; "Saying / not saying" -- it offers a thin veneer of plausible deniability in a naked attempt to escape accountabilitty for saying exactly that.
paralogicpsychological warfare
paranoiaExtreme fear to the point of (or beyond) psychological pathology.
pathocracyorganized crime
patriarchymisogyny
peculiar institutionwhite supremacyslavery
peonagewhite supremacy
plausible deniabilityorganized crime
Plessy v. Fergusongovernment1896
plutocracygovernmentPolitical rule by the rich.
political correctness
poll tax
ponerologyThe study of evil
populismgovernment
post-leftist
postmodernismdisinformation
post-truthdisinformation
Potemkin villagegovernmentAny structure or facade built expressly for the purpose of making the situation appear more favorable than it really is
Powell MemoplutocracyLewis Powell's 1970s memo to the wealthy white male elite, in anger over the crackdown against tobacco companies, as a call to arms to organize politically against "anti-capitalist" forces
PRabuse & controlpublic relations
previous question ruleA parliamentary rule present in the initial decades of the Senate, borrowed from British law, that allowed the majority proponents of a bill or measure to call an end to debate about the provision with a short warning period of usually about 5 minutes.
Progressive Eragovernment
propagandaabuse & control
prosperity gospel
prosocial behavior
psychopathabuse & control
psyopsRussianPsychological operations
PUAmisogyny"Pick Up Artist" -- a self-styled lothario who helps train other would-be casanovas in his ways of manipulative charm
Pulse Nightclub shooting
race riotswhite supremacy
race warwhite supremacyThe goal of the accelerationist neo-Nazi idealogues is to start a race war and bring down the American government
RAGEabuse & controlRetire All Government Employees
rape culturemisogyny
Reagonomicsconspiracy theory
the "real economy"conspiracy theoryWhat folks on the New Right consider legitimate parts of the American economy: farm and factory jobs that used to sustain a middle-class income
RedditBig Tech
the regimeconspiracy theory
regression
repression
retweetBig TechWhen a Twitter user amplifies the tweet of another, by "retweeting" it out to her or his network
RICO
Right anterior insular cortexPart of the brain associated with empathy; psychopaths have a deficit here
right-wing authoritariangovernment
Roe v. Wade
Ruby Ridgewhite supremacy
running out the clock
RWDSparamilitaryRight-wing Death Squads -- an acronym used by Proud Boys and worn as patches by some members and branches
sadismabuse & control
sadopopulismgovernment
Sandy Hook school shootingabuse & control
savior complexLike the arsonist who sets the fire and then calls it in to play the hero, right-wingers with the savior complex are constantly holding up the sky as the Evil Democrats try to destroy everything good and holy -- and they want CREDIT for it, dammit!
Second Wave Feminismmisogyny
Section 230Big Tech
senicide
sexual assaultmisogyny
sexual harassmentmisogyny
shadow profilessurveillance capitalismData that Facebook collects on people who are not members of Facebook, via association with their friends who are
sharecroppingabuse & control
shared reality
show trialsRussian
SignalBig Techencrypted messaging app
Silicon Reich
sit-insNonviolent demonstration method used heavily in the 1960s
SJWwhite supremacySocial Justice Warriors -- used as a pejorative by the alt-Right
socialismgovernment
sociopathyabuse & control
sockpuppet accountsdisinformationFake social media accounts used by trolls for deceptive and covert actions, avoiding culpability for abuse, aggression, death threats, doxxing, and other criminal acts against targets.
SMSBig Techtexting
special interest groupsgovernment
spearphishingcybersecurityAn email designed to appear as if from a trusted source, to solicit information that allows the sender to gain access to an account or network, or installs malware that later enables the sender to gain access to an account or network
spite votergovernment
stand your ground
stochastic terrorismparamilitary
suffragegovernmentThe right to vote, sometimes referred to as "the franchise."
SuperPACgovernment
supremacy
surveillance capitalism
surveillance stateabuse & control
swattingalt-Righthoaxed reports to emergency services intended to provoke a SWAT team response at the target's home; a form of Internet-based attack used by Gamergate, the alt-Right, and other groups and individuals
symbolic violence
tax avoidanceplutocracy
tax fraudorganized crime
tax havensplutocracy
Third Wave Feminismmisogyny
totalismpsychological warfare
total warRussian
trial balloonpsychological warfareInformation put out or leaked to the media to gauge public reaction.
trickle-down economicsconspiracy theory
truth decayconspiracy theory
The Turner Diarieswhite supremacy
Tulsa Race Massacrewhite supremacyA mob of murderous whites descended on the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, dubbed Black Wall Street, and razed it to the ground. They dropped homemade bombs in the first ever domestic aerial attack on American soil. Over three hundred Blacks were murdered and hastily buried or burned. Police and other state officials were complicit; no one was ever charged for the crimes and insurance companies refused to honor Black business owner's claims from the destruction of their livelihood and senseless slaughter of their friends, families, and community.
TwitterBig Tech
Uberman
unmaskingcybersecurityIntelligence protocol redacting American identities from transcripts of foreign intercepts
vast right-wing conspiracy
volcel
Voting Rights Actwhite supremacy
Waco, TXparamilitary
wag the dogabuse & control
wage gapmisogyny
war crimes
Watergate
watering holecybersecurityhacker attacks that infect entire websites
whataboutismRussianClassic debate tactic of old Soviet apologists to deflect criticism of Soviet policy; whenever an American would levy a critique, the response would be, "What about the bad things America does?"
white collar crimeorganized crime
white nationalismwhite supremacy
women's liberationmisogyny
word salad
World War IWWI gave job opportunities to blacks in the North, causing a great migration -- as well as a backlash and resistance from Southern law enforcement.
World War II
Yes CaliforniaMovement to secede from the US entirely, run by Marcus Ruiz Evans, Louis J. Marinelli
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Fascism is a specific type of authoritarianism. Both are forms of government characterized by tightly centralized power, either under a sole dictatorship or a small cadre typically of wealthy oligarchs, where rule is absolute and the vast majority of people have little say in policy-making or national events. Identifying authoritarianism vs. fascism isn’t always a clearcut distinction, particularly given that one of the hallmarks of fascism is often that fascist leaders tend to conceal or hide their ideological aims until they achieve power and sometimes even beyond — so as not to alert the public to their true plans until it’s too late for people to fight back.

Under both authoritarianism and fascism, there is little or no political freedom or individual rights. Authoritarian governments often use force or coercion to maintain control, dissent is typically suppressed, and political violence is tacitly encouraged so long as it is in support of the ruling regime.

Fascism is one type of authoritarian political system

Fascism is a type of authoritarianism with distinct ideological features that emerged in the early 20th century. In addition to the core characteristics of authoritarian government, fascism is typified by extreme nationalism, a belief in the superiority of one’s own race or nation (a form of collective narcissism), and propaganda about both a mythical past and a promised utopian future. Fascist regimes often promote aggressive foreign policies and use violence and intimidation to suppress opposing views. Other key features of fascism include a cult of personality around the leader, a focus on traditional values, and the use of propaganda to control public opinion.

Fascist regimes of the 20th century

  1. Italy (1922-1943): Italy was the birthplace of fascism, and under the leadership of Benito Mussolini, it became the first fascist regime in the world. Mussolini and his National Fascist Party came to power in 1922, and ruled Italy as a one-party state until he was deposed in 1943.
  2. Germany (1933-1945): Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was a fascist regime that came to power in 1933. The Nazi regime was known for its extreme racism, antisemitism, militarism, and aggressive expansionism, which ultimately led to World War II and the genocide of the Holocaust.
  3. Spain (1939-1975): After a bloody civil war, General Francisco Franco established a fascist dictatorship in Spain in 1939. Franco’s regime was characterized by authoritarianism, repression, and a focus on traditional Catholic values.
  4. Portugal (1932-1974): Portugal was ruled by a fascist regime under the Estado Novo (New State) government, led by Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, from 1932 until 1974. The Estado Novo government was characterized by authoritarianism, nationalism, and corporatism.
  5. Romania (1940-1944): Ion Antonescu, a military dictator and fascist sympathizer, came to power in Romania in 1940. Antonescu’s regime was characterized by anti-Semitism, political repression, and a close alliance with Nazi Germany.
  6. Hungary (1944-1945): Hungary was ruled by a fascist government under Ferenc Szálasi and the Arrow Cross Party from 1944 until the end of World War II. The Arrow Cross regime was known for its extreme anti-Semitism and brutality.

Authoritarian regimes in world history

Authoritarianism is an older and more prevalent form of government than fascism, given its origins over 2000 years ago with the Roman Empire. Some of the most notable authoritarian regimes are as follows:

  1. The Roman Empire (27 BC – 476 AD): The Roman Empire was a vast and powerful empire that was ruled by an authoritarian government, after Julius Caesar overthrew the Roman Republic shortly before the turn of the millennium in 27 BC. After his son Octavian emerged victorious from a series of civil wars that followed, a succession of Roman emperors who had almost unlimited power ruled the Empire, and dissent was often suppressed with violence.
  2. The Mongol Empire (1206-1368): The Mongol Empire was one of the largest empires in history, and it was ruled by a series of authoritarian leaders who conquered and subjugated vast territories across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East — most notably Genghis Khan.
  3. The Ottoman Empire (1299-1922): The Ottoman Empire was a vast and powerful Islamic empire that was ruled by a series of sultans who held absolute power over their subjects.
  4. The Soviet Union (1917-1991): The Soviet Union was a communist state that was ruled by the Communist Party and its leaders, including Joseph Stalin. The Soviet regime was characterized by totalitarianism, repression, and the suppression of political dissent.
  5. China under Mao Zedong (1949-1976): Mao Zedong was the founder of the People’s Republic of China and the leader of the Chinese Communist Party. During his rule, China was transformed into a socialist state, but the regime was also characterized by repression, mass killings, and the suppression of political dissent.
  6. North Korea (1948-present): North Korea is a communist state that is ruled by the Workers’ Party of Korea and its leader, currently Kim Jong-un. The North Korean regime is known for its extreme repression, propaganda, and human rights abuses.
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strict father morality

Strict Father Morality is a term coined by cognitive linguist George Lakoff to describe a type of moral worldview that centers on the values of authority, discipline, and individual responsibility. This worldview is often associated with conservative political and social positions, and is often contrasted with a more nurturing and empathetic worldview that Lakoff refers to as the “Nurturant Parent” model — more closely aligned to a liberal and progressive worldview.

At the core of the Strict Father Morality worldview is the belief that the world is a fundamentally dangerous and competitive place, and that individuals must be prepared to compete and succeed in order to survive and thrive. In this worldview, the father is seen as the ultimate authority figure, responsible for providing for and protecting his family, and for instilling the discipline and self-control necessary for success in life.

This patriarchal worldview is rooted in a traditional understanding of gender roles, where men are seen as the primary breadwinners and protectors, while women are seen as nurturing caregivers. This gendered division of labor is seen as necessary for the survival and flourishing of the family unit, and deviations from traditional gender roles are often viewed with suspicion or even hostility.

Christianity and Strict Father Morality

Central to the Strict Father Morality worldview is the idea that success is the result of hard work, self-discipline, and personal responsibility. Those who succeed in life are seen as having earned their success through their own efforts, while those who struggle or fail are seen as having brought it upon themselves through a lack of discipline or effort. This ideology is a derivative of the Protestant work ethic identified by sociologist Max Weber as one of the core animating worldviews behind fervent belief in capitalism.

Emerging out of Calvinism, the Protestant work ethic extends the idea that constant economic activity can show evidence of one’s eternal salvation. The emphasis on self-blame for one’s low economic condition is often used to justify policies that limit government intervention in areas such as healthcare, education, and social welfare.

Black and white thinking and Strict Father Morality

Another important aspect of Strict Father Morality is the belief in moral absolutes and the importance of maintaining a strong moral code. This includes a belief in the importance of law and order, and the need to punish those who break the law. In this worldview, moral relativism is seen as a dangerous threat to the stability and order of society, and the preservation of traditional values is seen as essential to maintaining social cohesion and stability.

Critics of Strict Father Morality argue that it is overly simplistic and ignores the complexity of human experience. They argue that the overemphasis on blaming individuals for their circumstances is a form of victim blaming, and can encourage a lack of empathy for those who face systemic barriers to success. They note the similarity of the entire ideology to a type of black and white thinking, and also argue that the traditional gender roles and emphasis on hierarchy and authority can lead to authoritarianism and intolerance.

Strict Father Morality is also seen as being aligned with sexism, racism, and bigotry in general. It’s associated with ideas long ago debunked, dispelled, or defeated as poor ways of viewing and interacting with the world — due to basic inaccuracy.

In summary, Strict Father Morality is a moral worldview that emphasizes the values of authority, discipline, and limited government involvement, and is rooted in a traditional understanding of gender roles and moral absolutes. While this worldview can provide a sense of security and stability, it has been criticized for its oversimplification of human experience and its potential to usher in authoritarianism and glorify intolerance.

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conspiracy theories, disinformation, and fake news

Conspiracy Theory Dictionary: From QAnon to Gnostics

In half a decade we’ve gone from Jeb Bush making a serious run for president to Marjorie Taylor Greene running unopposed and winning a House seat in Georgia. QAnon came seemingly out of nowhere, but taps into a much deeper and older series of conspiracy theories that have surfaced, resurfaced, and been remixed throughout time.

Essentially, QAnon is a recycling of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion conspiracy theory that drove the Nazi ideology and led to the genocide of over 6 million Jews, gypsies, gays, and others who made Hitler mad. It’s riddled with the kind of conspiratorial paranoia that led to the deaths of over 75 million people in World War II.

The spread of the QAnon conspiracy theory greatly benefits from historical memory, getting a generous marketing boost from sheer familiarity. It also benefits from an authoritarian mentality growing louder in America, with a predilection for magical thinking and a susceptibility to conspiratorial thinking.

Tales as old as time

Conspiracy theories have been around much longer even than the Protocols — stretching back about as long as recorded history itself. Why do people believe in conspiracy theories? In an increasingly complex world brimming with real-time communication capabilities, the cognitive appeal of easy answers may simply be stronger than ever before.

Anthropologists believe that conspiracy theory has been around for about as long as human beings have been able to communicate. Historians describe one of the earliest conspiracy theories as originating in ancient Mesopotamia, involving a god named Marduk and a goddess called Tiamat — both figures in Babylonian creation mythology.

According to the myth, Marduk defeated Tiamat in battle and created the world from her body — but some ancient Mesopotamians at the time thought that the story was not actually a mere myth, but a political cover-up of a real-life conspiracy in which the followers of Marduk secretly plotted to overthrow Tiamat to seize power.

This “original conspiracy theory” was likely driven by political tensions between city-states in ancient Mesopotamia, although there are very few written records still around to corroborate the origin of the theory or perception of the story at the time. Nevertheless, the Marduk-Tiamat myth is regarded as one of the earliest known examples of widespread belief in conspiracy theories, and it points to the relative commonality and frequency of false narratives throughout history.

Whether deployed purposefully to deceive a population for political advantage, created to exploit people economically, or invented “naturally” as a simple yet satisfying explanation for otherwise complicated and overwhelming phenomena, conspiracy theories are undoubtedly here to stay in culture more broadly for some time to come. We had best get the lay of the land, and understand the language we might use to describe and talk about them.

Conspiracy Theory Dictionary

TermDefinitionNotes
4chanA notorious internet message board with an unruly culture capable of trolling, pranks, and crimes.alt-Right
8chanIf 4chan wasn't raw and lawless enough for you, you could try the even more right-wing "free speech"-haven 8chan while it still stood (now 8kun). Described by its founder Frederick Bennan as "if 4chan and reddit had a baby," the site is notorious for incubating Gamergate, which morphed into PizzaGate, which morphed into QAnon -- and for generally being a cesspool of humanity's worst stuff.alt-Right
9/11 truthersPeople who believe the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City in 2001 were either known about ahead of time and allowed to happen, or were intentionally planned by the US government.
alien abductionPeople who claim to have been captured by intelligent life from another planet, taken to a spaceship or other plane of existence, and brought back -- as well as the folks who believe them.UFOs now real, nbd
American carnageEvocative of "immense loss" in the Nazi mythology
AntifaAntifa is anti-fascism, so the anti-anti-fascists are just fascists wrapped in a double negative. The real cancel culture -- and a dangerous one.
Anti-SemitismOne of history's oldest hatreds, stretching back to early biblical timesReferred to as "the oldest hate," anti-Semitism is also inherently anti-feminist, because Jewish societies were once matrilineal.
Biblical inerrancy
birtherismOne of Donald Trump's original Big Lies -- that President Barack Obama wasn't born in the U.S. and therefore, wasn't a "legitimate" president.
Black Lives Matter
blood libel
child trafficking
Christian Identity
climate change denial
The Confederacy
contamination
cosmopolitanismAnother term for globalist or internationalist, which are all dog whistles for Jewish people
Crossing the Rubicon
cultural MarxismAnti-semitic conspiracy theory alleging that Jewish intellectuals who fled the Hitler regime were responsible for infecting American culture with their communist takeover plans and that this holy war is the war the right-wing fights each day.
deep state
DVEdomestic violent extremism
fake news
GamerGate
George Soros
Hollywood
Illuminati
InfoWars
JFK assassination
John Birch SocietyThe QAnon of its day (circa 1960s), this extreme right-wing group was theoretically about anti-communist ideals but espoused a host of conspiracy theories and outlandish beliefs
lamestream mediaDerogatory term for any media that isn't right-wing media.
leftist apocalypse
Makers and Takers
micro-propaganda machineMPMthe “micro-propaganda machine” — an influence network that can tailor people’s opinions, emotional reactions, and create “viral” sharing (��LOL/haha/��RAGE) episodes around what should be serious or contemplative issues
motivated reasoning
New World Order
nullificationA constitutional "theory" put forth by southern states before the Civil War that they have the power to invalidate any federal laws or judicial decisions they consider unconstitutional. It's never been upheld by the federal courts.
One World Government
PizzaGate
post-truth
PRpublic relations
propaganda
Protocols of the Elders of ZionForged anti-semitic document alleging a secret Jewish child murder conspiracy used by Hitler to gin up support for his regime.
PsyOpsPsychological operations
QAnon
Q Drops
reactionary modernism
Reichstag fire
Rothschilds
sock puppets
"Stand back and stand by"
The Storm
WikiLeaks
ZOGZionist ---- Government
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Great Replacement Theory is a conspiracy theory animating the radical right wing that claims non-white immigrants are being brought to the U.S. and the west to “replace” white voters with their woke political and cultural agenda. Those who believe this white supremacist ideology see routine immigration policy as a white genocide and extinction of the white race. They also point to low birth rates among white europeans and the promotion of multiculturalism, or “wokeness,” as responsible for the alleged effects.

Promoters of this derivative of Nazi ideology (the claim is that Jews are responsible for this immigration plot) claim that the United States must close its borders immediately to immigration. Many advocate isolationism (“America First!”), white nationalism, and claim that violence may be necessary to keep America under the control of white men.

History of Great Replacement Theory

The term “Great Replacement” was popularized by French writer Renaud Camus in his 2011 book “Le Grand Remplacement.” According to Camus, the alleged replacement is a result of the European elites intentionally allowing mass immigration and promoting multiculturalism to undermine national identity and traditional Western culture.

The Great Replacement Theory has been widely discredited and criticized by experts, as it is based on misinformation, selective data, and biased interpretations. It is important to note that this theory often fuels xenophobia, bigotry, racism, and anti-immigrant sentiments, and has been linked to a number of far-right extremist attacks worldwide.

Demographic changes in Western countries are driven by a complex interplay of factors such as economic migration, political instability, globalization, and changing birth rates. These factors are not part of any orchestrated plot, but rather reflect broader social, economic, and political trends. Unfortunately, it’s in the interest of the right-wing to keep its rabid base riled up — and the Great Replacement Theory conspiracy is an effective tool for generating anger and injecting vitriol into the broader political discourse.

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The radical right is a fervent anti-government strain of Libertarian ultraconservative, emerging out of the anti-New Deal ideology of the 1930s. From McCarthyism to the John Birch Society, from fiscal conservatives to Christian nationalists, the radical right contains some of the most extreme ideologies in the right wing.

Conservative ideology has gotten more and more extreme over the past few decades — as well as being mainstreamed within the Republican Party. Formerly moderate Republicans are referred to as “RINOs” (Republican In Name Only) and are being pushed out of the party, whether by primary defeat or ostracism by the right-wing base.

Radical Right myths and beliefs:

  • Government assistance makes people weak and lazy.
  • Unemployed people don’t want to work.
  • FDR and the Democrats destroyed our system of free enterprise.
  • Wealthy people are job creators and we must do more to preserve their wealth.
  • Cutting taxes creates jobs — aka Trickle Down Economics
  • Hierarchy and the maintenance of a de facto caste system — despite the nation’s founding ideals of Equality
  • Strict Father Morality — adherence to rigidly traditional gender roles and the absolute power of authority
  • Originalism — the idea that we cannot fundamentally make new laws; that all we can do is peer into the past and try to imagine the original intent of the Founders when writing the Constitution
  • Independent State Legislature Theory — so-called “states’ rights” by another name
  • New World Order conspiracy theory & the Illuminati
  • anti-UN
  • Communist spies in the government
  • Communists in Hollywood
  • Fear of creeping socialism
  • Anti-social security
  • “Second Amendment remedies” and other thinly-veiled calls to political violence
  • Coming to “take our country back”
  • right-to-work laws — to break unions
  • anti-abortion
  • anti-LGBT
  • anti-feminism
  • anti-liberal
  • anti-immigrant
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Professor Altemeyer has studied authoritarianism and the authoritarian personality since 1966. He first published a refinement of Theodor Adorno’s work on authoritarian personalities, known as the Right-Wing Authoritarian Scale in 1981. In 2006, Bob Altemeyer The Authoritarians was slated to be his last work pending retirement — but in 2020 a new work co-authored with Watergate whistleblower John Dean titled Authoritarian Nightmare: Trump and His Followers aimed to warn America about the dangers of Donald Trump’s personality to unleash the very worst in the very worst sorts of individuals.

Meanwhile Bob has made The Authoritarians available free of charge here, and I absolutely encourage you to read it — it’s fascinating stuff and he’s an entertaining as well as informative writer. In this post I’ll do my best to summarize the main points of the book, because I know people are busy and not everyone has time to read a whole book much less scrape together hours to volunteer and do activist work.

Bob Altemeyer The Authoritarians

Dr. Altemeyer defines authoritarianism as “something authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders cook up between themselves.” Followers submit blindly to the leaders and give them too much free rein to do anti-democratic, brutal, and tyrannical things. Power corrupts absolutely, and power seems to corrupt authoritarians most of all.

Bob Altemeyer -- The Authoritarians book review

He classifies the authoritarians into three primary groups:

  1. Authoritarian followers — typically this group follows the established authorities in their society, including government officials, clergy and traditional religious leaders, business leaders, and self-appointed gurus of all stripes. They tend to have a “Daddy and Mommy know best” approach to the government, believing that authorities are above the law. Psychologically, authoritarian followers exhibit a high degree of submission to authorities they accept as legitimate, high levels of aggression in the name of those authorities (if so called upon), and a high degree of conventionalism and conformity. They tend to be bigots, with prejudices against many types of groups.
  2. Authoritarian leaders — tend to be Social Dominators, who long to control people and affect others’ lives. They are overall highly prejudiced, do not believe in the American value of equality, and feel justified in wielding great power over society with little qualification and even less self-reflection. They believe the world is divided into wolves and sheep, and they have no qualms fooling the sheep into opening the pasture gate so they can eat. “Might makes right” is their personal motto.
  3. Double Highs — about 10% of any given sample score highly on both the social dominance test and the right-wing authoritarian scale, which is odd given the social dominator’s otherwise reluctance to be submissive. They exhibit extra prejudice and extra hostility — beyond either the social dominators or the RWAs. They tend to be the “religious” social dominators, who had a fundamentalist upbringing, or had a conversion experience as an adult (George W. Bush, e.g.) and now tend to believe in some form of Strict Father Morality.

More traits of authoritarian followers

  • They tend to feel more endangered in potentially threatening situations that most people do (think: Dick Cheney‘s descent into bunker mentality after 9/11)
  • More afraid than most people; they tend to have overactive amygdalas
  • Were raised by their parents to be afraid of others — both parents and children have told researchers so
  • More likely to issue threats than low authoritarians
  • Most orthodox — were raised fundamentalist and are highly repressed
  • Most hardline
  • Believe “whatever I want is right”
  • Paradoxically, want to “be normal” very badly — they tend to get tugged by the people around them

Authoritarian aggression

Authoritarians prefer not to have fair fights out in the open — they tend to aggress when they believe their hostility is welcomed by established authority, or supports established authority. They also often aggress when they have an obvious physical advantage over the target — making women, children, and others unable to defend themselves as ideal targets. These cowards have the gall to feel morally superior to the innocent victims they assault in an ongoing asymmetrical warfare between supremacists and marginalized groups.

To make matters worse, authoritarians do their dirty deeds in the shadows and scream bloody murder at anyone who dares try and expose their dark secrets to the light. Their theatrical and performative self-righteousness is just an act to avoid accountability and responsibility for what they do — even unto themselves.

Moreover, authoritarians are extra punitive against lawbreakers they don’t like (though exceedingly permissive for lawbreakers they *do* like, which is infuriatingly hypocritical), because they believe fervently in the value of punishment. Many advocate child corporal punishment — spanking and worse — for children as young as 1 year old. Authoritarian followers tended to report feelings of “secret pleasure” when hearing of the misfortunes of high school classmates who had misbehaved, believing they got what they deserved in life.

It would be accurate to think of authoritarians as “little volcanoes of hostility,” almost heat-seeking their way into authority-approved ways to erupt and release their pent-up anger. Many of them do not, and will not ever realize that their fundamentalist upbringing has sadly left their brains underdeveloped, and ill-equipped to navigate the modern world with its rapid changes, accelerating inequality, advancing climate change, and political instability.

Lethal Union

When a social dominator becomes an authoritarian leader, and leads his authoritarian followers down malevolent roads from informing to threatening to vigilanteism, researchers refer to this state of affairs as a “lethal union.” It’s a highly dangerous and volatile time for a democracy, one warranting caution and vigilance from concerned citizens.

Throughout history, these are the situations that tend to devolve further into aggression, political violence, civil war, genocide, and worse. We need to be very damn careful about who we elect as our leaders — we cannot allow our government to be captured by special interests and the narrow, quixotic delusions of old billionaires outshining daddy and staving off death.

More books about authoritarians

If you’ve already read Bob Altemeyer The Authoritarians, or you’re just looking for more resources on authoritarianism — here’s a list to get started:

More resources on authoritarianism

Essential thinkers on authoritarian personality theory ↗

The authoritarian personality is characterized by excessive strictness and a propensity to exhibit oppressive behavior towards perceived subordinates.

Authoritarianism Dictionary ↗

This dictionary collects definitions and charts the rise of language, ideology, tactics, and historical movements of American authoritarians.

Koup Klux Klan: The authoritarian movement trying to take over America ↗

We are facing an unprecedented crisis of democracy under attack by a roster of extremists, hardliners, theocrats, plutocrats, and others of their ilk.

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For all their angry rhetoric and now, overtly political violence, I maintain that it is the right wing that is profoundly insecure, anxious, and in need of soothing. They are panicking at the idea that the world can possibly change without their approval, and deprive them of their stolen superiority — they do not want the party to end for white male dominance of this entire planet.

Right-wing authoritarian adults latch on to symbols and ideologies and demagogues as “surrogates” for the childhood safety blanket they once needed — these are the “adult-acceptable” pablum substitutes.

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It feels like the 1930s all over again — and with good reason. The rise of American fascists and right-wing extremism around the world has been a known trend for decades, and America’s past flirtations with fascism had been largely swept under the rug by the then anti-semites who tried to put a stop to FDR’s New Deal and prevent the U.S. from getting into World War II.

They fought against labor unions and labor organizers, often using private militia as henchmen to do their dirtywork with plausible deniability for themselves. The Ku Klux Klan — the principle paramilitary organization formed during Reconstruction to undo egalitarian gains from the Civil War — was just one of many instruments put to use in service of plutocratic aims to quell any “communist awakening” amongst their workers, lest they get any uppity ideas for themselves. They fell for the popular conspiracy theories of their time, which included Hitler’s bogus assertion that Jewish bankers controlled the world and had to be stopped before they destroyed the white race.

Fascist revanchism

Those fascists, butthurt over America’s overwhelmingly popular decision to enter the war and stop Hitler from exterminating the Jews, seethed with jealousy at the post-war “liberal consensus” that flourished alongside the booming US economy, propelled first by the war effort and later by the peacetime success of the New Deal‘s long shadow and the burgeoning of the American middle class.

The American fascists turned into the John Birch Society, and the McCarthyites, and the Libertarians, and the Moral Majority, and the Gingrich Revolution, and the Tea Party, and the MAGA / QAnon stew sloshing around mass media. The kooks on the far right — the kind of ilk so cray cray that even William F. Buckley excommunicates you from the Republican Party — have taken over the hen house now. Outrage sells, as Facebook well knows — and as two-bit dictators around the world have bribed Mark Zuckerberg to brainwash the masses using the most inanely illogical propaganda prolefeed, the world tilts dangerously towards authoritarianism and the end of our democracy as we know it. And with it, all hope for truth and light into the future for some time to come — the equivalent of a political meteor hitting the Earth.

The American fascists are still around, and now they have tools of propaganda that Goebbels could never have even wet dreamed of. They’re more powerful and more well-connected — to other sociopaths, malignant narcissists, and other pathological cult-leader types who might be of transactional service to each other from time to time. Many of them cling to ideas of Christian nationalism and Strict Father Morality. We’d be wise to keep an eye on these folks.

NameTypeLocationKnown for
Greg AbbottPoliticianTexasThe 48th governor of Texas since 2015 who has presided over multiple energy grid disasters, a self-induced economic fiasco at the border, and ghoulish vigilante legislation designed to terrorize women seeking abortion services, and a perversion of the child sex trafficking apparatus to instead target and tyrannize trans youth
Roman AbramovichForeign agentRussian oligarch close to both Putin and Trump
ACU Strategic PartnersForeign agentA company seeking to build nuclear power plants in the Middle East in partnership with a sanctioned Russia company; Mike Flynn was working for them without having disclosed it to the US government as required.
Sheldon AdelsonBusinesspersonLas Vegas, NVCEO billionaire of the Sands Corp casino empire (died, 2021)
AggregateIQCorporationCanadian data firm connected to Cambridge Analytica parent company SCL Group that played a role in spreading Brexit propaganda
Roger AilesMedia personalityDeceasedPrimogenitor of Fox News whose downfall came over dozens of women testified to his decades of sexual assault and blackmail behaviors
Todd AkinPoliticianMissouriPolitician who lost his Senate race to Clairse McCaskill in 2012 when he made the comment on TV about women having a way to "shut the whole thing down" to avoid becoming pregnant if raped.
Nelson W. Aldrich
Ali AlexanderExtremistOne of the primary organizers of the Stop the Steal rally on January 6 that turned into and/or attempted to mask a coup attempt
Samuel AlitoJudgeWashington, DCSupreme Court Justice who penned a draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, riddled with Christian nationalist tropes and arbitrary Originalist interpretations
American Energy AllianceNon-profitA tax-exempt nonprofit that advocated for corporate-friendly energy policies. Koch's Freedom Partners donated $1.5 million in 2012.
American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)Non-profitCorporate-funded nonprofit that writes legislation for Republican legislatures, including spearheading the efforts to wrest partisan control over election results in 49 states.
Americans for ProsperityPACThe Koch Brothers' Libertarian political advocacy arm
Philip AnschutzBusinesspersonColoradoCO oil and entertainment billionaire and founder of Qwest Communications
Michael Anton
Lee AtwaterPolitical OperativeInfamously brutal Republican strategist for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush who promoted the "abstraction" of racism via Southern Strategy and ran the infamous Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis in 1988.
Michele BachmanPoliticianMNMinnosota Republican politician who was the first woman in her state to be elected to the House of Representatives, she is known for her extremist Dominionist views
Steve BannonMedia personalityHouseboatsFormer Breitbart provocateur who joined the Trump administration as a key advisor and dark propagandist for Trump intent on sowing chaos
Ross Barnett
William BarrPublic SectorDonald Trump's Attorney General who shielded him from public awareness of his crimes, corruptions, and compromises during the 45th presidency.
Maurice BarresAuthorFranceFrench nationalist author in the early 20th century who introduced Great Replacement theory
Louis BeamWhite Supremacist
Roy BeckWhite SupremacistExecutive Director of NumbersUSA, member of the white supremacist Tanton Network
Andy BiggsPoliticianAZHouse Republican subpoena'd by the January 6 Commission for his role in the attempted coup
Black LegionExtremistMichiganSecret society of black-hooded terrorists working in MI against labor unions and labor organizers in the 1930s. Legionnaires talked of staging a coup to oust FDR and imposing a fascist regime in the United States
David BogatinOligarchNYCA top figure in the Russian mafia who bought 5 luxury condos in Trump Tower to launder money, he admitted in 1987.
Jacob BogatinOligarchDavid Bogatin's brother, and a partner of notorious Russian mob moss Semion Mogilevich
John Wilkes BoothCriminalDeceasedStage actor and Confederate sympathizer who shot Abraham Lincoln in the back of the head in April 1865, a few months after his re-election in 1864.
L. Brent BozellExtremistBFF of William F. Buckley and author of Conscience of a Conservative to support Barry Goldwater's candidacy in 1960.
Harry and Lynde BradleyKochtopusMidwesterners who built their wealth on defense contracts
Andrew BreitbartMedia personalityFounded both Brietbart and the Huffington Post
Anders BreivikExtremistOslo, NorwayMass murderer who killed 77 people in Oslo, Norway as inspired by the white supremacist ideology of Great Replacement theory
Mo BrooksPoliticianHuntsville, ALHouse Republican from Alabama subpoena'd by the January 6 Committee for his role in the attempted coup
Brother's CircleCriminalOrganized crime gang pursued by then-FBI head Robert Mueller circa 2011
Michael BrownFerguson, MOUnarmed black man killed by the police in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking a series of riots in the city.
Pat BuchananPoliticianWashington, DCPolitician and paleoconservative who worked for presidents Nixon, Ford, and Reagan before running against incumbent George H.W. Bush in 1992; widely considered a bigot, racist, and antisemite.
William F. Buckley JrMedia personality
Doug BurleyPolitical OperativeFounding and leading both The Family and the National Prayer Breakfast of right-wing power brokers
Cambridge AnalyticaCorporationLondon, UKData firm implicated in the propaganda campaigns of both Brexit in 2015 and Donald Trump in 2016 that stole hundreds of millions of Facebook profiles and mined the treasure trove of information for weaknesses to manipulate in attempts to persuade
Renaud CamusAuthorFranceFrench writer and critic who created the recent 2011 formulation of the Great Replacement Theory
Tucker CarlsonMedia personalityNYCFox News evening opinion anchor and fish stick heir who promotes the Great Replacement conspiracy theory to his primetime audience of older white men.
Doug CaseyBusinesspersonAyn Rand devotee and "anarcho-capitalist" who specializes in how to profit from turmoil
Michael CatanzaroLobbyistPartner at the CGCN Group lobbying firm who headed "energy independence" for the Trump transition team.
Cato InstituteThink Tank
Madison CawthornPoliticianNC
Center to Protect Patient RightsKochtopusDark money group funded by the Kochs to attack the ACA with fearmongering and vitriol
Mike CernovichMedia personality
CGCN GroupLobbyistLobbyist for the Koch brothers
James ChaneyActivistNeshoba County, MSOne of 3 civil rights activists murdered by local white supremacists when engaging in non-violent civil disobedience, along with Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman
Jeremy Joseph ChristianExtremistPortland, ORstabbed 3 people who tried to intervene while he was hurling anti-Muslim slurs at 2 young women in Portland, OR
Chris ChristiePoliticianFormer governor of NJ and former Trump supporter and transition team lead who became a Trump critic
Michael CohenBusinesspersonNYCDonald Trump's personal lawyer, sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for felony crimes, including campaign finance crimes
Steven A. CohenBusinesspersonFinance (SAC Capital Advisors)
Roy CohnPolitical OperativeDeceasedLawyer who represented Senator Joseph McCarthy in the infamous televised 1954 hearings, and later went on to become a mafia-connected fixer in NYC and mentor to budding real estate developer Donald Trump
Competitive Enterprise InstituteThink TankWashington, DCA Washington think tank that had been bankrolled by fossil fuel industries, particularly the Kochs.
Continental ResourcesCorporationOklahomaOK-based shale oil company with a large and profitable fracking operation
Coors brewing familyKoch InvestorColoradoThe Coors gave money to Oliver North to fund the Iran-Contra operation
Council of Conservative Citizens (CoC)
Ted CruzPoliticianTexas
Jefferson Davis
Kim DavisPublic SectorKentuckyFormer county clerk of Rowan County, KY who defied a US federal court order to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in 2015
Devos familyKoch InvestorFounders of the Amway marketing empire; Betsy DuVos was the Secretary of Education under Trump
Amadou DialloNew Yorka West African immigrant mowed down by 41 shots from police when leaving his apartment on February 4, 1999.
James DobsonMedia personalityconservative talk-show host and fundamentalist Christian who strongly advocated spanking and corporal punishment be applied liberally to children
Chester DolesFormer KKK leader who runs the white supremacist American Patriots USA. Nearly beat a Black man to death in 1993. Marched in 2017 in Charlottesville.
Rod DreherExtremistBenedict Option author and traditionalist
Dinesh D'SouzaMedia personalityConservative gadly who alleged that Obama was "African" in outlook rather than American, absorbing his "radical" views from his Kenyan father
Doug DuceyPoliticianAZGovernor of Arizona
Aleksandr DuginExtremistRussiaRussia's primary fascist political philosopher and originator of Eurasianism conspiracy theory
David DukeWhite Supremacist
John EastmanPolitical OperativeRan against Kamala Harris in 2010 for California AG, then showed back up in 2020 to write an outrageous op-ed that Newsweek for some reason actually published, that claimed that she was "secretly" not a US resident and therefore not eligible to be the VP! Now the Kamala Harris birther
Myron EbellPolitical OperativeOutspoken climate change skeptic, who headed the Trump transition team for the EPA
Election Integrity Project CaliforniaExtremistElection fraud group working with Leonard Leo
Larry EllisonBusinesspersonGave $5 million to Marco Rubio
Cassandra Fairbanks
Jerry Falwell, JrTelevangelist
The FamilyLobbyistShadowy DC group with tremendous sway in Congress and around the world, following a distorted "strongman Jesus" version of Christianity.
The Federalist SocietyExtremist
Scott FitzgeraldPoliticianWIHouse Republican
Michael FlynnCult Leader
For AmericaPAC
Nathan Bedford Forrest
Fox NewsCorporation
Free Congress Foundation
Freedom CaucusPolitician
Freedom PartnersKochtopusThe Koch Brothers' secretive donor club.
FreedomWorksExtremist
Matt GaetzPolitician
Kevin GentryKochtopusVP of Special Projects and VP of the Koch Foundation
Greg GianfortePoliticianbody-slamming Guardian reported Ben Jacobs while running for a GOP House seat in Montana
Newt GingrichMedia personality
Tim "Baked Alaska" GionetWhite Supremacist
Rudy GiulianiPoliticianNYC
GiveSendGo"Christian" donation platform
Barry GoldwaterPoliticianAZ
Seb GorkaPolitical Operative
Billy Graham
Madison GrantPolitical OperativeClose personal friend of Herbert Hoover who helped draft the exclusionary Immigration Act of 1924 -- the Stephen Miller of his day. His "Passing of the Great Race" was beloved by Hitler as "his bible."
Chuck GrassleyPoliticianSenator
The Great Awakening
Marjorie Taylor GreeneQAnonGA
Eric GreitensPoliticianMO
Harold HammKochtopusBillionaire founder of Continental Resources, an OK-based shale company with large fracking business & one of the charter members of the Kochs' donor circle.
James Henry HammondExtremist
Warren G. HardingPoliticianEnthusiastically supported the white-supremacist work of Lothrop Stoddard et al
Billy James HargisExtremist
Orrin HatchPoliticianSen. Orrin Hatch raised concerns about funding certain entitlement programs. “I have a rough time wanting to spend billions and billions and trillions of dollars to help people who won’t help themselves, won’t lift a finger and expect the federal government to do everything,” he said.
Josh HawleyPoliticianMOMissouri Senator funded by Peter Thiel who gave the January 6 mob a fist bump on his way in to object to certifying the electoral count
Matthew HeimbachExtremistWhite nationalist and one of the founders of the Traditionalist Workers Party
Jesse HelmsPolitician
Leona Helmsley
Diane HendricksWIThe wealthiest woman in Wisconsin at $3.6 billion
Heritage FoundationThink TankWashington, DC
Honest Elections ProjectExtremistA conservative legal organization connected to Leonard Leo that files legal briefs to SCOTUS opposing mail-in ballots and other voting reforms that help more people to vote,
Herbert HooverPoliticianWashington, DCWhite supremacist and wealth supremacist, he was adamant about doing nothing to help people during the Great Depression.
Mike HuckabeePolitician
Laura IngrahamMedia personalityFox News host
Andrew JacksonPoliticianDeceasedUS President
John Birch SocietyExtremist
Andrew JohnsonPoliticianDeceasedUS President
Chuck JohnsonMedia personalityAlt-right super troll
Ron JohnsonPoliticianWisconsin Republican Senator who supported Donald Trump, promoted ivermectin for covid, and said he wasn't afraid of the January 6 mob because they were white people
Alex JonesMedia personalityHost of InfoWars, the 9/11 conspiracy show that put the genre on the map
Jim JordanPoliticianOHA long-time Tea Party hyena, the Congressman known as Gym once helped his buddy cover up decades of sexual abuse of young wrestlers in their care.
Judicial Education ProjectExtremistA legal group tied to Leonard Leo, working to advance conservative takeover of the judiciary.
Islam KarimovOligarchUzbekistanFormer Communist official who became the first president of Uzbekistan in 1991, and remained the country's dictator until his death in 2016.
Alex KaschutaMedia personalityRight-wing podcaster
Brett KavanaughJudgeDC
Dr. D. James Kennedycreating a Dominionist "conversion" playbook
John F. KennedyPoliticianDeceased
Robert F. KennedyPoliticianDeceased
Anna Khachiyan
Martin Luther KingActivistDeceasedCivil Rights leader in the 1960s, and enemy of Southern politicians
Charlie KirkMedia personality
Walter KirnAuthorMTUp in the Air author and disaffected former member of the American intellectual class
KKKWhite Supremacist
Bill KochBusinessperson
Charles KochKochtopusKansasindustries: pipelines, oil refineries, lumber and paper, coal, chemicals, commodity futures, etc.
David KochKochtopusDeceasedindustries: pipelines, oil refineries, lumber and paper, coal, chemicals, commodity futures, etc. (now deceased)
Fred KochKochtopusKansasFather of Charles and David, Fred Koch was an early and fervent acolyte in the ultra-conservative John Birch Society
Frederick KochBusinesspersonNew York
David KoreshCult LeaderWaco, TX
Ku Klux Klan (see KKK)White Supremacist
Kylie Jane Kremer
David LaneWhite SupremacistMember of the white supremacist group The Order who coined the 14-word slogan popular with Great Replacement adherents: "We must secure the exisatence of our people and a future for white children"
Ken LangoneBusinesspersonFounder of Home Depot
Lyndon LaRoucheCult Leader
Robert LeFevreKochtopusCharles Koch's mentor, a quasi-anarchist, who said, "government is a disease masquerading as its own cure"
Leonard LeoExtremistChairman of the Federalist Society, a legal organization working to pack the courts with conservative judges.
Marine Le PenPoliticianFrance
Honor Levy
Liberty CounselChristian special rights group
The Liminal Order
William S. LindPolitical Operative
Kelly LoefflerPoliticianGeorgiaInsider trading immediately upon arriving at her unelected Senate seat when her husband, President of the NYSE, found a way to have some money arrive at Brian Kemp, the Governor, who appointed her.
Dana LoeschMedia personalityNRA spokeswoman
Sen. Huey LongPoliticianDeceased
Thomas MairExtremistAssassin of British MP Jo Cox, who was outspoken against the UK's Brexit campaign
Paul ManafortLobbyist
Clarence Manion
Blake MastersPoliticianAZ
John McAfeeBusinesspersonDeceased
Sen. Joseph McCarthyPoliticianDeceasedSenator best known for his demagoguery against alleged Communist agents in the US government during the Cold War in the early 1950s
Kevin McCarthyPoliticianCA
Michael McKennaKochtopusLobbyist and President of MWR Strategies lobbying firm, who have the Koch brothers as clients
Timothy McVeighExtremistOklahoma City, OKWhite supremacist McVeigh was a disgruntled former military guy who took up with the white power movement and executed the Oklahoma City bombing -- as inspired, he said, by enacting "revenge" for Waco.
Andrew MellonBusinessperson
Rebekah MercerOligarchDaughter of NY hedge fund manager Robert Mercer; she helped guide the Trump transition team following the 2016 election, and funded right-wing social network Parler
Robert MercerOligarchFather of Rebekah Mercer and longtime right-wing donor
MicroChipPro-Trump bot-king
Stephen MillerExtremist
Michael Milken
Cleta MitchellExtremistOKLawyer who represented various right-wing entities including the NRA, and was considered the "fringe of the fringe" -- at age 70 she "represented" Trump during his telephone call to Brad Raffensperger asking him to find ~11,000 votes
Semion MogilevichCriminalNotorious Russian mob boss
Stefan MolyneuxMedia personalityAlt-right troll
Sun Myung MoonCult LeaderLeader of the Moonie cult and self-proclaimed deity, Mr Moon served time in federal prison for tax fraud, among other charges.
Roy MoorePoliticianALTrump-backed politician and pedophile who narrowly lost the Alabama Senate race to Doug Jones in 2018.
JP MorganBusinessperson
Rupert MurdochOligarchFox News owner famous for his amoral media
Jack Murphy
Benito Mussolini
MWR StrategiesKochtopusLobbying firm for the Koch brothers
Dasha Nekrasova
neo-NazisExtremist
Terry NicholsExtremistBlew up the Oklahoma Federal Building with Timothy McVeigh
Richard NixonPolitician
Ralph NormanPoliticianHouse Republican who skirted the metal detectors to enter the House floor after the January 6 insurrection
NRAExtremistNational Rifle Association
NYPDPublic SectorNew York Police Department
Barack ObamaPoliticianChicago, DC, Los AngelesThe 44th President of the United States, and the first black person to hold the job. He was widely loathed by the Right despite his positive record.
John M. OlinKochtopusChemical and munitions company titan
Viktor OrbanPoliticianRadical right president of Hungary and Putin supporter
The OrderWhite supremacist group
Candace OwensExtremist
Matt ParrottExtremistCo-founder with Matthew Heimbach of the Traditionalist Workers Party
Laszlo Pasztor
Norman Vincent PealeBusinesspersonChristianity as a business man's religion
Mike PenceMedia personalityDonald Trump's VP
Rick PerryPolitician
Scott PerryPoliticianHouse Republican who skirted the metal detectors to enter the House floor after the January 6 insurrection
Jordan B PetersonAcademicA sort of hero figure to the incel crowd
William Pierce
Pioneer FundA white supremacist group set up for "race betterment" in 1997 at a private club.
Jeanine PirroMedia personalityFox News host known for having a bit of a drinking problem and a brash on-air personality
Mike PompeoPublic SectorSec of State after the firing of Rex Tillerson; former CIA Director; former Republican congressman from KS and largest recipient of Koch campaign funds in all of Congress
Jack PosobiecMedia personality
Lewis PowellBusinesspersonWrote a 1971 memo that rallied the largely white and male business community around a plan to dismantle the New Deal and the liberal consensus
Sydney PowellPolitical OperativeAlso Associates with UFO believers and anti-vaxxers
Proud BoysExtremistMilitia group involved in the January 6 coup attempt
Thomas PyleBusinesspersonpresident of the American Energy Alliance, funded by Exxon and the Kochs
QAnonQAnonConspiracy theory about Democratic pedophiles that recycles Nazi ideology
Jean RaspailAuthorFranceFrench author of the 1973 Camp of the Saints novel about migrants organizing to take over France; the racist fiction inspired the white power movement of the 1980s, Steve Bannon, and a host of other fascist movements in Europe, America, and around the world
Nancy ReaganMedia personalityDeceased
Ronald ReaganPoliticianDeceasedActor and Republican who became the 40th President from 1981 through 1989
Kyle Rittenhouse
Pat RobertsonTelevangelist
Dylann Roof
George Romney
Mitt RomneyPoliticianUT
Murray RothbardExtremist
Dave Rubin
Richard Mellon ScaifeKoch InvestorHeir to the Mellon banking and Gulf Oil fortunes, and Koch donor
David SchnarePolitical Operative"Free-market environmentalist" who accused the EPA of having blood on its hands, who joined climate change denier Myron Ebell on the Trump transition team for the EPA
Stephen SchwarzmanFinance
Rick ScottPolitician
Jeff SessionsPoliticianAL
Marc ShortPolitical OperativeRan the Koch Brothers' secretive donor club, Freedom Partners, before becoming Mike Pence's senior advisor during the 2016 presidential transition
Sinclair Broadcasting GroupCorporation
Paul SingerKoch InvestorFinance (Elliott Management hedge fund). Supported Rudy Giuliani.
SNCCNon-profit
Social Contract PressWhite SupremacistA racist publishing company, part of the Tanton Network, that published the white nationalist novel Camp of the Saints
Richard SpencerWhite Supremacist
Balaji SrinivasanBusinessperson
State Policy NetworkKochtopusFunded in part by the Kochs
Dan SteinWhite SupremacistPresident of Tanton Network organization FAIR
Lothrop StoddardWhite SupremacistAuthor of the 1920 book The Rising Tide of Color Against White World-Supremacy
Roger StoneLobbyist
Richard StrongBusinesspersonStrong Capital Management Mutual Fund
Sen. Robert TaftPolitician
John H. TantonWhite SupremacistMichiganWhite nationalist who organized The Tanton Network of 13 anti-immigrant organizations
Tea PartyPACIntensely antitax group
Peter ThielBusinesspersonLos Angeles, CAEccentric Silicon Valley billionaire and pocketbook for the New Right project
Clarence ThomasJudgeWashington, DC
Ginni ThomasPolitical OperativeWashington, DC
Three PercentersExtremistMilitia group who had a heavy presence at the January 6 attempted coup
Traditionalist Workers PartyExtremist
Turning Point USAExtremistCharlie Kirk's right-wing PR organization
UnabomberCriminal
Unification ChurchCult Leader
Unite the RightActivistCharlottesville, NCCharlottesville, NC event in 2018 where white supremecist groups marched with tiki torches, and activist Heather Hyer was killed by a right-wing extremist who drove his car through the crowd.
University of Texas at AustinAcademicAustin, TX
JD VancePoliticianOHVenture capitalist and Peter Thiel acolyte running for Senate in Ohio
Ricky Vaughn
Ruben VerastiguiCriminalDCFormer RNC and other GOP offices staffer who made social media ads for the Trump campaign and was later arrested with child porn on his phone after a DHS sting.
John VinsonExtremistHead of the Tanton Network-backed anti-immigrant hate group American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF)
George WallacePoliticianAlabama
Joe WalshMedia personality
Kelli WardPoliticianAZGOP Chair
Ron WatkinsExtremistIdentified as the most likely suspect to be Q of QAnon
Randy WeaverWhite SupremacistNaples, ID
Vicki WeaverWhite SupremacistNaples, ID
WeevWhite SupremacistAndrew "Weev" Auernheimer
Paul WeyrichWhite SupremacistArch-deacon of the New Right ultraconservative movement and hugely influential figure who founded the Heritage Foundation, Council for National Policy, and ALEC.
White Citizens CouncilsWhite Supremacist
Geert Wilders
Darren WilsonPublic SectorPolice officer who brutally killed a Black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, MO in 2014.
WikiLeaksForeign agent
Milo YiannopoulosMedia personality
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It’s been said that the devilish ways of pedophiliac liberal Democrats are killing Christianity in America, but the numbers tell a different story. Following the 2016 Armistice in the War on Christmas, Donald Trump yet managed to drive 1 in 7 Evangelicals from the fold, according to data from Pew and PRRI.

Far from the surge in True Believers prophesied by the right wing, the religious right’s deal with the proverbial and/or literal devil seems to have driven members away. Trump is losing Evangelicals, and really — should we be so shocked? If it doesn’t matter (to some) whether our leaders are serial philanderers and lifelong business cheats, or earnestly striving public servants spreading compassion — what use is their moral code, then? None. It is bankrupt.

Shrödinger’s Moral Leadership

The religious right can’t have it both ways — either moral leadership is important, or it isn’t. It can’t selectively be important *only* when a Democrat is in power. Evangelicals also need to make a choice between God and Caesar. Prosperity gospel is the latter and not the former, but many pretend otherwise or are fooled — after all, fool’s gold can still fool.

Cognitive dissonance upon dissonance continues to fall in the totally unraked forest of right-wing values. I’m aiming to continue pulling on a few threads connecting the religious right, and Evangelicals in particular, to the rise of political extremism in the Republican Party:

  • The pitch that winning the culture war is more important than God’s law is thin at best
  • Donald Trump is not a Christian
  • The “imperfect vessel” fails as moral justification
  • Jesus didn’t care about tax cuts
  • Christian leaders’ claims that politics is amoral ground beyond the reach of God’s teachings is self-evident nonsense
  • Christians are leaving their own moral house unguarded. No one is showing the living proof of Jesus’ teachings anymore — and it’s not the fault of the people on the left who weren’t doing it before.
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