• Darryl R Taylor

    The proliferation of hate groups on platforms such as facebook is indeed concerning, likewise the “bleed over” of attitudes into more neutral forums.

    There is a very human tendency to be affected by the repetition of viewpoints, and even in opposition to the perspectives that may be expressed there is the creation of a dialectic that empowers those viewpoints as a form of the logical fallacy known as the “false dilemma”.

    Censorship tends to only feed the persecution complex of xenophobic groups, and as mentioned in the article above, they only pop up again under a new guise and typically use the transition as an empowering ritual, reinforcing their endurance and solidarity.

    An aspect of these groups that goes unnoticed for the most part is that they are prone to the effects of “social networking algorithm ghettoization”: they only appear to those who are already engaged with similar groups or are actively looking for them; indeed, issuing a “hue and cry” about them tends to give direction for those who wish to join them, effectively being free advertising.

    These groups actually provide an opportunity for engagement that is under-used, a chance to speak directly to communities and their members and question the assumptions underlying their common beliefs.

    If one is able to not fall into an adversarial dynamic, nor fall back on unquestioned biases or points that have been circumvented by fallacious or rhetorical structures, it is possible to gently point out holes in the logic that underpins the worldview of hate groups, and erode at the ability of individuals to sustain the cognitive dissonance that their dogma requires.

    This was demonstrated to my own satisfaction during a two week Facebook dialogue with a Soldier of Odin (a groups whose membership within Canada still seems to believe that I am personally a cell leader of the group ANTIFA, despite all evidence to the contrary, a belief based on my ongoing critiquing in online forums of the Soldiers).

    While there was no shifting of beliefs, I was able to get the Soldier to eventually have to examine their stance, and challenge some of the statistics and cases that they typically cite for their raison d’etre, and seed the room for doubt as to the effect of their popularized patrols both in terms of countering a sudden influx of millions of Muslims as Europe is currently experiencing with the refugee crisis, and as to how those very patrols may actually push previously integrated Muslim Canadians away from their national identity and into sympathy with the extreme militant fundamentalist factions within Islam.

    The seeding of doubt and cultivation of individual critical thought is far more vital than the suppression of expression or engagement in argumentative dialogue, that is part of why a schism occurred in the Canadian chapters of the Soldiers of Odin between those that are militant Eurocentric racists aligned with the parent chapter in Finland, and those that are concerned about their culture and children, consequently buying into the rhetoric of hatred.

    The multiculturalism that is intrinsically Canadian has as part of it’s foundation the lack of reactive response to ridiculous stances that by it’s politeness and understatement shows out those stances for what they are to their proponents.

    This is key to weathering the growth of global hate movements and the “culture of fear”.

    (a gentle sense of humour capable of self-depreciation helps as well)