I found this column in the Washington Post by David Ignatius interesting and dismaying:
Violent white-supremacist groups have formed a connected global movement that rose before Donald Trump’s presidency and threatens to continue long after he leaves office.
These white-supremacist groups have used the Internet to recruit and train followers, much as Islamist extremists did a decade ago, argues a major new study by Jigsaw, a research arm of Google. The study, described here for the first time, is being published Tuesday by Jigsaw’s digital journal, the Current.
The study shatters the image that many analysts have of white supremacist attackers as “lone wolf” extremists. Jared Cohen, the chief executive of Jigsaw, argues that “this myth obscures the vast underlying infrastructure of white supremacist online communities around the world.”
These groups “move fluidly between mainstream and fringe platforms,” Cohen warns. They recruit followers on Facebook or YouTube, among other venues, and then direct them to protected “alt-tech” sites where they can privately share propaganda and boast about operations.
I oppose both neo-Naziism and white supremacy unequivocally. I’m also not post-modern and I believe that words actually have meanings. I wish that Mr. Ignatius and The Current were a little more forthcoming about their definitions. Keep in mind that if you define something broadly enough and contrast it with an extremely narrow definition of something else you can prove practically anything. Just as an example, I don’t think that believing that nations have a right to defend their borders and limit entry is “anti-migrant” but I can see how some would think that. I also don’t think that reason, moderation, and non-violence are white supremacy but there are some who think so. I also don’t think that it’s anti-Muslim to point out that radical Islamist violence is a graver problem than violent white supremacists, as the Current piece documents (and you’d never know from Mr. Ignatius’s piece).
Here’s his peroration:
The Jigsaw study reminds us that the Internet is a rage accelerator. Good leaders can discourage extremism rather than feed it; they can encourage norms of good behavior. But tolerance needs to become a mass movement, more powerful than hatred.
Let’s no mince words. The underlying problems are Facebook and Twitter. I do not believe they should or can be regulated. I think their business model should be rendered unworkable.