A report from research firm Moonshot CVE found that Fisher found that online engagement time of people in states with local “stay at home” policies that are longer than 10 days has increased by 21%. Overall, Google's engagement for white supremacist content rose by 13% nationwide. This increase began in late March 2020 and was in line with the introduction of these home stay measures.
The states with the largest increase in this exposure were Connecticut with 66%, followed by Idaho (56%) and Kentucky (48%). It decreased in a number of states, including the District of Columbia (-42%), Rhode Island (-38%), and Iowa (-30%).
A UK study by GSDRC Applied Knowledge Services found that the pandemic helped spread a range of extremist ideologies around the world, including both Islamist radicalism and various forms of white nationalism. It found that a host of new uncertainties and fears were flowing into the existing, already driving radicalization, such as an erosion of trust in managers and institutions, which was exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic such as the loss of companies and jobs.
The emotional double blow of economic uncertainty and the death specter of COVID-19 "reminded Americans of their own mortality" while creating a sense of "social confusion and a loss of trust in all institutions," said Evangelical leader Richard Land. President of the Southern Evangelical Seminary, Fisher said.
For many people, the protests and other forms of street activism have been populated by people who may have been motivated by the need for social contact as much as the causes themselves, say psychologists who have studied the effects of social isolation. "In that view," notes Fisher, "the January 6 attack on the Capitol was both a riot and an impromptu meeting, an attack on the infrastructure of American democracy, and a social gathering for people who believed their idea to be true." defend." Nation.
The spread of online radicalization has had a number of profound effects in the real world. Some of these have taken the form of terrorist attacks, such as the attempted attack on a Missouri hospital who tried to steal a helicopter to "rescue" all COVID-19 patients there, or the train engineer who tried Um ramming a hospital ship, he suspected he might be part of a kidnapping conspiracy by derailing a locomotive. Other conspiracy theorists have set 5G cell phone towers on fire believing that technology is used to spread the virus.
White nationalists have also tried to find ways to arm the pandemic figuratively as well as literally, but the range of right-wing extremists occupied by the "Patriot" militia movement has particularly affected the wider population during the pandemic Much greater progress has been made due to their organization around protests against public health measures such as "stay-at-home" orders and plant closures. Their numbers were augmented by their alliance with conspiracy theorists against vaccination.
These coalitions had a strong real world impact, including the threatened takeover of the Michigan Capitol in April by armed militiamen, some of whom later conspired to first take state officials hostage at the state house and later kidnap the governor. In Idaho, protesters led by Ammon Bundy's "Patriots" broke into the statehouse with weapons. The Bundy organization has since evolved into a regional "people's rights" army that is supposed to defend itself against pandemic-related measures.
Donald Trump's post-election campaign to negate the 2020 presidential election results unleashed a kind of perfect storm in which all these strands joined together in a major far-right insurrection made up of multiple factions. This army, whose components actually mixed up during the Trump Train intimidation campaign towards the end of the election season, came together seamlessly to host the “Stop the Steal” protests at contested polling stations and the major protests in Washington, DC on November 14th and December 12, both of which resulted in significant street violence in the capital. The violent coalition of these extremists finally joined forces for the January 6 uprising in the US Capitol.
"Pandemics create uncertainty while extremism provides some kind of certainty," University of Maryland social psychologist Arie Kruglanski told the Post. "Especially now that trust in government, Congress, science, medicine and the Church is low, there is no one you can trust, so trust your friends, your tribe. Extremists offer one Black and white view, "he said." There is a culprit responsible for an evil plan to destroy the nation, and they have a restoration plan that brings back greatness. "