So I think I’ve finally managed to figure out where this radicalization from both sides of the political spectrum is coming from. Of course Trump’s presidency combined with the advent of Black Lives Matter/Police Brutality and the pandemic made everything 100x worse, but even Trump’s election and the formation of the political “alt-right” was a direct reactionary response to the overly political correctness and SJWism (aka “proto-wokeness.”) that had been going on in the country stretching all the way back to Obama’s first term and had it’s roots in the GamerGate phenomena.
Okay so we all know how and why the overly radicalized alt-right movement started, but the question still remains: What was the cause for the spread of hyper-radicalized wokeism/cultural Marxism that began to take root in the late 00’s to the early-mid 2010s? Now remember this is just a theory,
a game theory but so far I’ve managed to identify two main causes:
- 1. The rise in social media and the “iPhone Generation.”: The late 00’s to early 2010’s was a time of great technological upheaval and advancement, the internet was no longer just a niche that only a select few households had but was starting to become mainstream what with the advent of Wi-Fi and Smart Phones. This was a major game changer and meant that potentially anyone around the world no matter how rich or poor they are could participate in the worldwide open forum that is Social Media.
While this had many upsides and advantages it also had the downside of pretty much handing on a silver platter an easy method for all the super-niche radicalized groups such as outright literal Communists/Marxists or Neo-Nazis to push their agendas out. In the Pre Internet/Social Media era these radicalized elements would remain on the fringes of society as they so deserve - because there was no easy way to get their message out and attempt to indoctrinate the masses. Now however it takes merely one click of a button, and any Radicalized Tom, Dick or Harry can gather into their own echo chambers and spread their evangelizing political agendas far and wide, galvanizing the masses. And the Algorithm system each social media site operates on only serves to make things worse and incentives that these radicalized voices will never leave their self-imposed echo chambers and allow themselves to be open to a difference in opinion or actual nuance - thus leading to demonization and dehumanization of the other side of which a toxic “us vs them” mentality is born.
This is what gave rise to the phenomena that is the SJW Tumblrina/Twitterina, and we can see their influence even extending out into the real world, beyond the confines of internet life with how it’s now become mainstream for elementary schools - elementary schools - to preach the values of Gender Ideology, Critical Race Theory, and Preferred Pronouns. Such is the power that is Social Media and it’s far-reaching consequences for allowing any and all voices to be heard.
But this is only part of the picture, it explains exactly how the masses were able to get so easily radicalized but not the why. After all, social media can’t be entirely responsible for this phenomena or else why are we typically only seeing this radicalization/polarization happening in America and other English-speaking countries? The entire world has Social Media and the internet at their fingertips by now, so why haven’t countries in Asia managed to undergo their own polarization of politics? Why have they yet to destroy their own political center and are largely still united as a country rather than divided? Heck even countries in Europe such as Great Britain and Germany aren’t so bad, it’s really only America that’s become a toxic political wasteland.
After all Social Media can explain how radicalized new ideas and concepts can spread and enter into the mainstream, but it still can’t explain the sheer anger and resentment that’s at the center of these Social Justice causes. Why did the whole push for gender ideology and queer theory have to include the demonization of “cis-het” people? Tumblr practically coined the phrase “die cis scum!” all the way back in 2013-2014. We can further the advancement of racial equality and liberation but why did that have to include such volatile and hostile concepts such as “White Privilege/Checking Your Privilege,” “Micro-aggressions,” “Tone-Policing” and the Golden Woke Rule: “If you’re not a part of any of these victimized oppressed groups, you have no right speaking over them and giving your opinion.”
Suddenly even fandom and hobbies became a battleground, as people began morphing into Marxist Mcarthyists and seeing promotions of exploitation everywhere they looked. All media was now subject to critical analysis regarding it’s “problematicness” and if deemed “problematic” enough, could result in it’s “cancellation.” (This is what eventually gave rise to GamerGate)
Why did these radicalized so-called “progressive” elements act like they have such a huge chip on their shoulder? After all the saying goes that you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar, so why was their go-to response in indoctrinating the masses to act “triggered” at every little perceived slight/inequality and construct literal segregated “safe spaces” to air out their grievances rather than promote their ideologies in a happy and optimistic way? What’s behind the sheer anger of the American people?
- 2. All roads lead back to the 2008 Economic Recession/Occupy Wallstreet movement and the erosion of the American Middle Class: I’ve been thinking what exactly changed between 2008 and the early mid-2010’s (besides social media) so as to instill such anger in the American public that they’d begin to turn to radicalized politics. Why was this happening only in America? And why did it seem like the younger you were the more likely you were to identify as politically radical on either the right or the left? It can’t be denied, statistics show most woketard twitter/tumblrinas and alt-right 4channers alike are Zoomers/Gen Z, with a smaller portion of Millenials making up their share of each side’s radical elements and then the Gen X generation ultimately remaining the chillest and most politically centrist of all.
What’s the correlation/common element here? (You know besides an entire generation practically raised on Social Media) And then it hit me - all this anger and hostility and rise in radicalization on both the Left and the Right ultimately stems from the Great American Recession of 2008. The American public unfortunately still has yet to recover from that great downturn in our history and it’s affected our psyche ever since. The Occupy Wallstreet movement awakened a great anger/resentment within the American people as they watched their faith in the ever prevailing “American Dream” crush and crumble before their very eyes as our stable Middle Class - the backbone of our country and American values - began to disappear into oblivion.
Occupy Wallstreet eventually failed, and with it came a jaded cynicism and disillusionment with our country that would affect the American public’s psyche for many years to come. Inequalities between the classes began to grow wider as the rich got richer and the poor (typically minorities) got poorer. Globalization (which contributed to the whole 2008 Economic Crash in the first place) furthered the divide as more and more jobs began to be outsourced overseas and Americans lost their stable job market where they were guaranteed a relatively well-off “safety-net” office job just so long as they completed college and got a BA.
In no other country was there such a dramatic erasure of the Middle Class, this was the first time in generations when Americans experienced the throes of economic hardships and inequality and it shook the country to the core.
If we look to history typically radicalized movements tend to follow great economic upheaval. After all both Nazism and Communism both followed on the heels of the Great Economic Depression, and that was in an era before the wide-reaching effects of social media.
And the ones who felt the brunt of this Economic Downturn? Generation Z/Zoomers who were growing up right in the thick of the aftermath of the Recession and thus lacked the comfy luxuries that defined previous American generations before them. Being literally raised in inequality breeds bitterness and resentment that clouds judgement and allows one to be easily preyed upon by radicalized indoctrinating elements. Gen Z never had a cushy/easy day in their lives compared to the generations that preceded them and this instills a complex in young people that gives them a chip in their shoulder and makes them want to turn to an easy scapegoat to blame, and so they began to turn to the concept of inequality itself and any so-called deemed “privileged class” in general and this combined with Social Media gave birth to both Wokeism and the Alt-Right simultaneously.
Some Millennials were also indoctrinated to an extent, mostly the younger ones who upon fresh into/out of college entered into an unstable job market in which there was no guaranteed cushy career like what had been promised their parents. Nevertheless they still had a relatively easy childhood/adolescence and so their bitterness and subsequent turn to radicalized politics didn’t run as deep as it did Zoomers who lacked neither a stable job market nor stable childhood in general. And of course Gen Xers still remain the most politically moderate and accepting generation overall because they had both an economically easy childhood and entered into a stable American job market where they were able to secure their own house and secure careers that the “American Dream” that their parents raised them on had always promised.
TL;DR: This rise in extreme polarization and over-radicalization/politicization in practically every area of American life is ultimately due to both a combination of the rise in Social Media + the disappearance of our Middle Class. This instilled a sense of disillusionment and distrust in the American public, but especially in the younger generations who grew up right in the thick of it and were most affected by the fallout. We can see throughout history that Dissatisfaction/Anger/Resentment (which is usually a direct result of economic hardship) is directly correlated to getting radicalized as the common people begin to get disillusioned with mainstream politics and feel like it failed them. Meanwhile those who are well off have the sound judgement to be able to remain in and maintain the Political Center because they don’t have anger clouding their every action and thought.