German neofascists used Qanon to expand their reach

#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/24/afd-and-qanon.html

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#2

They may be a thousand cranky racist uncles, but ultimately I think Russia is funding an awful lot of this. What’s the best way to fight back?

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#3

I admit, it’s a real problem because the Russians really don’t want to promote any new philosophy, they just want to cause chaos and promote the incompetent and the venal. It’s a strategy of kicking other kids’ sand castles without really wanting to build one themselves. I don’t know if it’s just petty revenge or if it’s an attempt to nerf “Western” governments (most likely both) but it is a problem.

I have tried, I really have. The only thing that has had even a tiniest bit of success so far is to keep relentlessly teasing AfD voters as stooges, as gullible idiots who are dancing on Putin’s string and all too eager to believe his lies. It only makes them mad, of course, but sometimes it can make them look less attractive to bystanders. At the risk of making myself look like the fool, of course.

Really, the only way to fight back is to have traditional media pile on, and they have: the fact that the AfD has been massively financed by Russian spies is gaining traction, and their polling numbers have been dropping bit by bit.

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#4

It’s fundamentally whataboutism. “Of course we don’t live up to our stated values, but you don’t either.” The message is “you’re no more moral or driven by values than we are. We’re all venal shits, and any claim to a higher authority or values is just as much a lie.”

45 has come the closest of any western leader to prove this point. Maybe you can’t blame Putin for being a shark, but you can blame Trump for dressing the US like a baby seal.

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#5

Rather, Putin is the kid who pays other kids to go kick over trash cans. And the problem is how to keep him from recruiting dupes and tools to do his work for him.

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#6

This isn’t surprising, the websites that invented Qanon also have dedicated threads for European white supremecists too. There’s a huge international effort behind far-right memes.

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#7

And then there’s the American far right.

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#8

You’re right Cory that we have a societal crisis of an epistemological type. I don’t know how to solve it. Sometimes people fall for the logical fallacy that if the “mainstream consensus” on one topic turns out to be wrong, that the “mainstream consensus” on everything else should be discarded. People who find out that the margarine they were eating for decades to reduce their risk of heart attacks was actually full of partially hydrogenated oils (artificial trans fat) and was very bad for their hearts. People find out that their brains actually won’t starve if they eat low-carb (or even if they fast) and they realize they were told false information for decades by the supposed experts.

Does anybody have any ideas how to solve this huge honkin’ problem?

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#9

In the case of fascists, deplatform them. All of them. They can return to the basement. Or try it in the street if they dare. The obligation of free speech is satisfied by restricting them to public property, where their behavior is subject to the lysol of public scrutiny and any consequences thereof. (At no level should anyone tolerate them anywhere else, in any function of private property.)

That means Google, Go Daddy, FB, or wherever. If they don’t, then they are no damned good to anyone.

I think this applies to other issues, too. Creationism doesn’t belong in science class. I’d argue it has no value in search results for evolution. Same for holocaust denialists, climate change denialists, antivaxers, or flat earthers.

These movements have proven to be nothing more than parasites, and rather than bending over backwards to help them, tech and information industries should instead ensure they be consigned to oblivion (or whatever existence they can eke out via the mail and/or a leaflet campaign conducted in a park). Let these people try holding a bake sale instead of relying on PayPal for their fundraising for a change.

I find it stunning we live in an age which has done hideous things in the name of “freedom” in order to empower and swell causes of ignorance and yet we still consider it an information age, instead of a dark one.

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#10

2,494 votes and 115 comments so far on Reddit

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