David Alpher, an adjunct at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, says “messages that have defined the GOP presidential race” have become “increasingly xenophobic,” and right-wing extremist groups are making use of the same language.
Alpher’s PhD in “conflict resolution” and “15 years studying how the risk of violence grows within societies around the world” supposedly enables him to see a similarity to — wait for it! — the rhetoric “used to mobilize violence” in countries like Iraq and Kenya.
Yes, the American right-wing is so akin to radical Islamists, you see.
“This same dynamic, I argue, is taking shape within American society now. If it continues, it represents a greater threat than anything we face from terrorist groups outside our own borders,” he says.
Every violent group in history describes its own violence as the legitimate response to a threat that was forced on them. Groups survive in the long term when that description makes sense to enough of the population to buy them tolerance and safe space to operate, plan and grow. That’s true of terrorism and violent extremism – but because protesters and supporters alike view each other as enemies of the state and therefore legitimate targets, it also helps to explain the growing physical violence at Trump rallies. It should also provide a warning for what that as-yet-limited violence could grow into.
Consider this: individual acts of violence linked to racism and extremist politics are on the increase. The Washington Post reported in February 2015 that the number of Muslims killed in hate crimes is, on average, five times higher post-9/11 than before the attacks. Politics is increasingly divisive, and anger is the defining characteristic of American society.
The blame for these rifts and the likely consequences neither begin nor end with Donald Trump. He simply used an existing trend for his own gain. His praise of violence and embrace of racism and political extremism, however, goes past even what the GOP has already made commonplace.
Where to begin? We’ve noted numerous times before that anti-Jewish hate crimes still far outpace those of an anti-Muslim nature. One would hard-pressed to blame rhetoric from Trump or the GOP for those, especially on and around college campuses.
Has Alpher somehow missed the myriad examples of violence at anti-Trump protests?
We’ve seen analyses like Alpher’s before, particularly from the New America Foundation (an ironic name, considering the GMU adjunct’s misgivings about “dog whistle” messages) which attempted to show that homegrown right-wing terror attacks were more numerous than “violent jihadist attacks.”
But, as reported by The College Fix, Florida State College-Jacksonville Professor Andrew Holt debunked the NAF report, pointing out its omissions and flawed data sets.
h/t to Progressives Today.
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