Holocaust Museum Shooting, Antisemitic Conspiracy Theories, and the Tools of Fear
Chip Berlet printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Jun 10, 2009 at 05:21:03 PM EST
The alleged shooter at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum today has an online book excerpt revealing his deep roots in historic White Supremacy and antisemitic conspiracy theories, including references to the hoax document The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. His website includes links to White Supremacist and Holocaust denial sites.
People who believe conspiracist allegations sometimes act on those irrational beliefs, and this has concrete consequences in the real world. The shooting today is a prime example of why it is a mistake to ignore bigoted conspiracy theories. Law enforcement needs to enforce laws against criminal behavior. Vicious bigoted speech, however, is often protected by the First Amendment. We do not need new laws or to encourage government agencies to further erode civil liberties. We need to stand up as moral people and speak out against the spread of bigoted conspiracy theories. That's not a police problem, that's our problem as people responsible for defending a free society.

Demagogues and conspiracy theorists use the same four "tools of fear." These are as 1) dualism; 2) scapegoating; 3) demonization; and 4) apocalyptic aggression. The tools of fear are a connected constellation of frames, narratives, and processes used by demagogues to mobilize resentment and undermine the democratic process.

The basic dynamics remain the same no matter the ideological leanings of the demonizers or the identity of their targets. Meanwhile, our ability to resolve disputes through civic debate and compromise is hobbled. It is the combination of demagogic demonization and widespread scapegoating that is so dangerous. In such circumstances, angry allegations can quickly turn into apocalyptic aggression and violence targeting scapegoated groups like Jews or immigrants.

Apocalyptic aggression is fueled by right-wing pundits who demonize scapegoated groups and individuals in our society, implying that it is urgent to stop them from wrecking the nation. Some angry people in their audience already believe conspiracy theories in which the same scapegoats are portrayed as subversive, destructive, or evil. Add in aggressive apocalyptic ideas that suggest time is running out and quick action mandatory and you have a perfect storm of mobilized resentment threatening to rain bigotry and violence across the United States.

What historian Richard Hofstadter famously described as the "paranoid style" in American political rhetoric can quickly move far beyond the conscious intent of those who practice it.

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Chip Berlet is Senior Analyst of Political Research Associates and the author of a new study entitled Toxic to Democracy: Conspiracy Theories, Demonization, and Scapegoating. He also is coauthor, with Matthew N. Lyons, of Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort.




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Brilliant!!

by phatkhat on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 12:40:37 AM EST

Von Brunn also has close ties to "Captain Eric May", and it appears that May himself may have ties to Steve Reimink (the real owner of Von Brunn's website), and to various Islamic groups:

http://www.geocities.com/onlythecaptain/

http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/ghosttroop/message/6356

http://www.spiritone.com/~ghosttroop/Captain_Eric_H_May.html

by CynthiaGee on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 09:59:51 AM EST

I am so sorry to see the Lone Star Iconoclast getting mixed up with conspiracists. For years, that was a great little paper and a badly needed voice against Bu$h in north central Texas.

by nogodsnomasters on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 12:52:27 PM EST
Parent

It would appear that Mays has been associated with terrorism promoters from the beginning.

Get a load of THIS comment by Von Brunn, followed by May's response, where Von Brunn called for a group of "five or six well equipped martyrs" to take action against our government:

http://ca.dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/ghosttroop/message/6012

Re: Pravda Article - WTC and Bush

james von brunn <vonbrunn@...> wrote:

    BY THE WAY, YOU'RE A VERY FINE WRITER, AMONG OTHER VIRTUES.

    I'm of the opinion that only a military coup d'etat can save our once great Republic. And soon. However, a coup  is doubtful as the military too has been infected by the Marxist/Liberal/Jew virus.

    Perhaps we must settle for a team of Special
    Forces, say six (6) well-equipped martyrs. Count me in.
    jvb
    www.holywesternempire.org

I'm most obliged at your praise, Mr. Von Brunn!  Writers always have their vanities, even when they're doing military missions.  For what it's worth, I called for a military coup d'etat on the night of July 28, 2005, when the Bush Boyz tried to blow up Texas City last time.

You can find it in an article published shortly afterwards at http://www.vfvs.com/GhostTroopCaptainEricMay.html or you can listen to it as I called for it, in the second of the two interviews at http://www.cloakanddagger.de/media/Captain%20May/capt1.htm

Again, thanks for the encouragement.  I'm sure that you've endured the same kinds of frustrations that I have in the course of your infowar, whenever it began.  I'd sure like to turn the Texas City Inquest into a public tribunal for the Jewish Zionists and the Bush Boyz who took their advice and used their media like (embedded) whores.  Yours, CPTMAY

by CynthiaGee on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 02:59:03 PM EST
Parent

If he is indeed a real currently serving military then his sorry treasonous butt needs to be in Leavenworth. When I was in Nam, we were no fans of either Nixon or LBJ but we never indulged in this. This man is a traitor not only to his country but to the soldiers that he serves with. I hope it is indeed a false persona otherwise...

by Frank Frey on Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 05:57:05 PM EST
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