Dispatches: What You Need to Know About Polarizing Political Divides - Pacific Standard

Dispatches: What You Need to Know About Polarizing Political Divides

News and notes from Pacific Standard staff and contributors.
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The statue of Robert E. Lee stands behind a crowd of hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the alt-right on August 12th, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The statue of Robert E. Lee stands behind a crowd of hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and members of the alt-right on August 12th, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The polarized nature of political discussion and the rise of nationalist rhetoric have been a point of concern both in America and abroad for quite a while. A rise in violence attributed to members of right-wing groups has brought the issue to the forefront again. This time, a Canadian citizen, Alek Minassian, drove a van into a crowd of pedestrians, killing 10, in the name of a 4chan movement that promotes misogynistic and racist ideology. Taking a step back, it's worthwhile to look at our coverage of both the alt-right and the polarization of more conventional political dialogue to trace the growing roots of extremism that are festering in society and rejecting an inclusive democracy.

  • Is the Christian right actually driving people away from religion? New research shows that when evangelical organizations raise their profile by sponsoring a high-profile political campaign, a backlash ensues.
  • Contributing writer David M. Perry has written about the issue of white, male radicalization for PS on numerous occasions. His most recent piece, "How to Fight Alt-Right Terrorism," calls for systemic change in dealing with this issue; in the past, he has investigated the places where these men are being radicalized. The roots of these movements can also be found on college campuses, where conservative groups have made inroads in taking control of student governments and silencing their critics.
  • One of the places where radicalization increasingly occurs is on a Web forum called 4chan. Dale Beran sheds light on this obscure corner of the Internet in his piece "Who Are the 'Incels' of 4chan, and Why Are They So Angry?"
  • In the midst of growing consternation about the future of the country, Bridey Heing reviews three new books that offer bracing lessons from European and Latin American history to help explain rising authoritarianism in the United States and beyond.
  • Malcolm Harris argues that columnist David Brooks of the New York Times should stop using tribalism to bolster a specific myth about American exceptionalism.
  • When it comes to how we formulate our ideologies, new research shows that it's often not about the actual issues, and that voting patterns can be influenced by what people think members of their party should look like.
  • What do you do if you find out your brother is the face of one the alt-right movement? Gabriel Thompson wrote about Josh Damigo, whose brother Nathan rose to infamy as a prominent white nationalist.

This dispatch originally appeared in The Lede, the weekly Pacific Standard email newsletter for premium members. The Lede gives premium members greater access to Pacific Standard stories, staff, and contributors in their inbox every week. While helping to support journalism in the public interest, members also receive a print magazine subscription, early access to feature stories, and access to an ad-free version of PSmag.com.

The polarized nature of political discussion and the rise of nationalist rhetoric have been a point of concern both in America and abroad for quite a while. A rise in violence attributed to members of right-wing groups has brought the issue to the forefront again. This time, a Canadian citizen, Alek Minassian, drove a van into a crowd of pedestrians, killing 10, in the name of a 4chan movement that promotes misogynistic and racist ideology. Taking a step back, it's worthwhile to look at our coverage of both the alt-right and the polarization of more conventional political dialogue to trace the growing roots of extremism that are festering in society and rejecting an inclusive democracy.

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