Conservatives Must Reclaim the Narrative on Extremism

When Joe Biden announced his presidency by implying that President Trump was supportive of far-right extremism, it perfectly demonstrated the problem we face as conservatives. The narrative on extremism is owned by the left, and our defence on the issue is weak. The Democratic Party and its increasingly far-left fringe of activists, thinkers and representatives assume the moral high ground and assert themselves as an authority on extremism.

When the Poway synagogue shooting happened, I watched with amazement how the conservative Twittersphere reacted. It was the same reaction I saw after the New Zealand shooting, when it was revealed that the attacker wasn’t just an anti-Semite, but an eco-fascist and supporter of communist China. “He isn’t really right wing, he’s left wing” they said. “He isn’t a conservative, he’s a socialist!” conservatives told the world.

This might be difficult to hear, but this kind of response is both unhelpful, and untrue.

Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

Yes, anti-Semites exist on the left. In fact, it’s quite clear that anti-Semitism is predominantly a trait of the left and their Islamist partners in crime. I wrote about this extensively in my first book, A Paradoxical Alliance, with co-author Matt Palumbo.

It is quite clear when one looks at Britain’s Labour Party and the increasingly extremist Democrat Party, represented by the likes of Ilhan Omar, that anti-Semitism has become the norm. Jew hatred is very much on the table in mainstream politics, now – but at the same time, we mustn’t allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking the right of politics is without blame. Anti-Semites do exist on the right.

Eco-warriors also exist on the right, particularly in Europe – and, yes, there are right-wing thinkers who lean towards socialist and communist lines of thinking. To be ‘right wing’ or a conservative is not necessarily to believe in a free market and a small government. This is an Americanised perspective that isn’t universally true. I recently had breakfast with someone from my home county, a working-class part of northern England, who strongly supported right-wing, populist policy on immigration but despised Donald Trump. Go figure.

Left and right don’t mean so much these days, but we must admit that there are dangerous extremists who might more closely align with nationalist, conservative or culturist values than with liberal-left, pro-LGBT, progressive values. It is important that we are willing not only to admit this, but to learn from it and even confront it in the same way we confront the strange bedfellows working together amongst the radical left and civilisation jihad campaign groups.

Assuming a defensive position when tragedies committed by right-wing extremists happen makes us appear weak. It makes those of us who want to defend Western civilisation, who are genuinely concerned about real extremism, look like we’ve slipped into a state of denial. From the outside, it appears as though we’re willing to condemn one (or two!) kinds of extremism but ignore extremists who more closely align with our line of thought.

It is this situation that, I believe, has allowed the left to pick up the mantle of countering extremism. We maintain a defensive position against claims we are extremist, as we naturally would. Standing firm against jihad and a gradual but firm creep of cultural Marxism into the public conscience is not extremism. We know it, but we must go beyond defending ourselves. I believe we must be more proactive in countering extremism that is closer to home.

Far-left extremists are posing as anti-extremist moderates.

While we talk semantics – about how Neo-Nazis and white supremacists are fundamentally different to us on many different levels – the left is (fairly successfully) campaigning against extremism and poisoning public opinion. The left doesn’t need to defend itself against accusations of siding with left-wing extremism, because the public doesn’t recognise left-wing extremism. That’s the benefit of winning a long culture war.

Relentlessly defending ourselves while unsuccessfully trying to make the public aware of the left’s tendency for extremist thinking isn’t working. I think it’s time for conservatives and civilisationists to, instead, reclaim the narrative on extremism completely. We must restore some truth and clarity and, most importantly, begin addressing the reasons why young men are being radicalised towards the far right – the real far right – in the first place.

The left’s narrative that white people are inherently evil, and that Church-going conservatives are far right, is dangerous. Their suggestion that anyone concerned about mass immigration is a right-wing extremist is well planned and is always said with great purpose. They know what they are doing.

Wrongly identifying the far right, demonising decent people, and blurring the lines on real extremism only serves to exacerbate the problem and make it harder to address. This is what they want. With an enemy to fight, it legitimises the cause of far-left extremists, confuses regular voters who aren’t ideologically minded, and shifts the Overton Window left.

With clarity from conservatives, however, we can deal with the root cause of radicalisation and take back the narrative on extremism.

I see the radicalisation of young white men to the Neo-Nazi fringe of politics as a three-pronged attack. It starts with the negligence of politicians who have ignored the concerns of regular working people who are affected by the importation of cheap labourers and Islamic radicals. This is particularly true in the UK and Europe, and increasingly true in America. The second part of this three-pronged attack is the smearing of decent people by the media. Discuss Islamic extremism, and you’re a racist. Comment on mass immigration, and you might as well be Hitler.

The final part of the process is the harassment people face from hard-left activists; the useful idiots of the media and political establishment. Protest against the politicians and media, and you might get a bike lock to the head. Your boss might be inundated with calls until you’re fired, and you lose your livelihood. Your time at university might become hostile and dangerous.

When it seems like the whole establishment is against you, you might seek answers. Some keep their head down and get on with their lives, accepting their fate and trying to navigate the new politically correct rules we’re given. Others might fight back politically. A minority might be forced to an extreme fringe of politics that uses conspiracy theory to explain this new madness we’re subjected to.

I’ve seen this happen in my home town of Skelmersdale, a working-class former mining town in the north of England. A seemingly normal young lad I knew called Jack Renshaw shared all the same concerns as me as a teenager. We both campaigned for justice for Charlene Downes, a victim of Muslim grooming gangs in our county. We also both saw how mass immigration hurt our working-class communities. I eventually left the far-right circles that dominated this realm of politics and sought a legitimate way of fighting these injustices. Jack, however, took a dark turn. He found answers in Neo-Nazi conspiracy theories and is now in prison on terror charges for plotting to murder our local Member of Parliament.

Neo Nazi terrorist Jack Renshaw, from my home town of Skelmersdale.

This is the kind of radicalisation we must tackle, and we must be unafraid to call out the people who are responsible for it happening – the politicians who ignore those kids, the media who smear them, and the far left who radicalise them. When vulnerable people are pushed to the point of violent extremism, we lose the lives of victims and the lives of those young lads whose minds have been poisoned. It destroys working class communities, puts innocent people in danger, and toxifies public discourse.

We, as conservatives, must shout from the rooftops that this problem is only going to get worse for as long as the politicians ignore legitimate concerns. The real far right, the Neo-Nazis and white supremacists who exist almost in hibernation in all Western societies, are given credibility when establishment forces ban criticism of Islam, immigration, and multiculturalism. When legitimate discussion is shut down, it gives credence to the arguments of the far left. If vulnerable and angry young men are being silenced and shouted down, they may well find it entirely believable that there is a Jewish conspiracy to silence the white working class.

Conservatives must be brave and be willing to discuss far-right extremism without getting defensive. We know what we are and what we are not. We know that far-left, far-right, and Islamic extremism are real problems. We also know why these problems exist.

We know how to end political extremism.

So let’s start discussing the root cause of far-right extremism. Let’s be bold and call out the politicians, the activists, and the media who have spent years – decades, even – silencing and belittling decent people and giving credibility to the arguments of conspiracy theorists. We must expose this dangerous, cruel, and evil smearing of regular people perpetrated by an ideologically-driven media and political establishment.

It is madness, utter madness, to allow far-left extremists to dominate the narrative on extremism.

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