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Too bad, Stefan Molyneaux

Stefan Molyneaux has recently made a plea for help. I'm not even going to link it, because he doesn't deserve the views. But the essence of his problem is that if he does make enough money from various social media supporters, he would not be able to find a normal job in mainstream society because One search and it would be functionally impossible. Yes, apparently Stefan is upset that his own words, his racism, his conspiracy theories, etc might reduce his job prospects. Apparently the free-market capitalism which Stefan so readily advocates has spoken. The consequences of his impending income loss are the end of "liberty" itself:

"This is the year of make or break for liberty. This is where the fork in the road goes up to the mountaintops of human freedom, or down into a living hell that we saw all too often in the 20th century."

Seriously. If we don't give Stefan money we'll be facing a new Stalin.

What essentially has happened is that Stefan has ended up in the same boat as Alex Jones, Richard Bertrand Spencer, and Milo Yiannopoulos. Far right-wing populism generates attention by saying outrageously offensive and false statements that generate income by people who agree with the sentiment and ignore the fact that it's false. In order to keep their attention they have continue this approach and, indeed, often go a step further. This generates dedicated fans who require to be fed this increasingly offensive and false statements, as if there is an Overton window on Treviño degrees of acceptable public discourse; if they shift the right very far, then the centre will move, or something like that.

The problem is that the shift ultimately makes three assumptions. Firstly, it assumes that others, from the other political direction aren't doing the same; Antifa, for example, didn't really exist until actual Nazis started marching in the streets. Secondly, it assumes that the veracity of a claim doesn't ever matter. Whilst in the short term people do react according to their prejudices, exposure to facts swings neutral observers away from deeply-ingrained prejudices to deeply-considered convictions. Thirdly, in the act of targetting different groups that eventually starts alienating everyone except an increasingly small core of grognards.

It's the third assumption that's a killer for populists of discrimination. When Alex Jones started promoting conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, it was the end of his career. Dressing up in what he thinks is a gay frog, claiming that "chemicals" put in the water supply by the Pentagon was weirdly amusing. Asserting that the children killed at Sandy Hook were actors turned off nearly all other conservatives.

So it is with Molyneux. Every step of the way, trying to attract attention, with increasingly false, hysterical, and offensive claims, results in a smaller and smaller audience until there is none but fanatics.

Ironically, for one who is Islamophobic as Molyneux, he and others like him, have ended up like Armed Islamic Group of Algeria, an sect which eventually came to the conclusion everyone else, except for them, were heretics. Everyone else, except for a tiny group of adherents in a couple of rural villages were wrong, and they were right. This is a path to madness that fundamentalism brings.

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