Australia: People Discussing Right-Wing Ideas on the Internet a Serious Threat, America’s Fault

I used to think Australians were serious people.

One of the single biggest threats to Australia these days is people talking about politically incorrect things on the internet.

I blame America.

The Guardian:

Rightwing extremism poses a “creeping threat” to liberal democracy in Australia, according to a new study that investigates how extremists are using online networks to spread radical narratives.

The study – which focuses mainly on New South Wales because it was funded by the state government – identified networks involving mostly male and under-35 users who were attracted to “the theme of white identity under threat”.

It noted the influence of American populist politics – including Trumpism – in rightwing extremist discussions in Australia.

Researchers from Macquarie and Victoria universities said rightwing extremists were “very good at appropriating the language of conservative political opinion” and called on Australian politicians to ensure “our system of politics is protected from these very insidious and ongoing threats”.

Wow, way to turn “they make compelling arguments” into an insidious plot.

Maybe, if your ideas are better, you should simply engage in an open dialogue instead of writing these reports about how people need to be silenced?

The research examined 30 Australian rightwing extremist group pages on Facebook and 37,422 tweets from 3,321 users identified as being in NSW on Twitter.

It also examined archived message boards focused on NSW and Australian issues on Reddit, 4chan and 8chan, and looked at thousands of interactions on the platform Gab.

The report, published on Friday, said while most rightwing extremist groups that had formed over the past decade had done so in Victoria, many had “chapters” or associated groups in NSW and maintained an online presence.

The communities in NSW consisted of “networks of socially connected individuals that engage and share content across diverse media platforms”.

“We identified a trend towards mostly male and young (under 35) users. This is not to say that these communities are completely homogeneous, but that other demographics appear to be in a minority when compared to young males,” the report said.


I wonder why that group would be overrepresented in a dissident community?

Could it be because that is the group that is under constant attack? 

The narrative of “white identity under threat” – shared throughout Australia, North America and Europe – provided a “transnational focus and identity for otherwise complex, diverse, and fluid communities”.

The networks also promoted narratives that sought to delegitimise liberal democratic government and dehumanise other groups, in particular Muslims, Asians, Jews, women and liberals.

Researcher Lise Waldek, from Macquarie University, said rightwing extremists were “appropriating conservative politics and appropriating Trumpism” to expose potential recruits to their narratives.

Fellow Macquarie researcher Julian Droogan said many of the discussions in Australia drew on imagery and themes from American politics.

“Trump is really held up as an example of a defender of white identity by many in this extreme subculture. However, we also see it being presented in a distinctly Australian way,” Droogan said.

Imagine that Australia is a country that just completely collapsed its entire economy, stripped everyone of all of their very most basic rights in the name of trying to avoid getting a mild flu, and they’re busy writing up reports about how people talking about things on the internet are a grave threat.

If democracy is actually a system of social organization that is totally and completely incapable of managing free and open dialogue within society, then how can it possibly be this perfect system that it is advertised as?

Imagine any other product that literally claimed that any open discussion of it is a threat to its existence. Imagine if there was a breakfast cereal, and the company that produced it said, “if we allow people to openly discuss the merits of this breakfast cereal on the internet, it is a threat to the breakfast cereal, and it could ultimately undermine and destroy that breakfast cereal.”

Didn’t we used to talk about how free and open debate strengthened society? Or did I just dream that?

No, actually, in fact, I’m pretty sure I didn’t dream that. I’m pretty sure that indeed, there was a point in my short lifetime when it was said that a free society is strengthened by open discussion of ideas.

Now they are telling us that any ability to freely discuss ideas could in fact destroy society.

Does this make sense?

Are people okay with this?

Have we done any polls about this?

If this is a democracy, shouldn’t we be allowed to have some kind of referendum on this concept that entire categories of thought, entire lines of reasoning, entire categories of inquiry, need to be blotted out?