Friday, January 15, 2021

Capitol Mob Has Roots in Anti-Lockdown Protests — Mara Hvistendahl

Stuck at home last spring, newly furloughed or just newly bored, tens of thousands of Americans joined anti-lockdown groups on Facebook. Largely comfortable, mainly white people living in states from Oregon to Florida, the anti-lockdown converts initially railed against masks and restaurant closures, trading videos from demonstrations they attended at state capitols. After Minneapolis police officers killed George Floyd in May, the anti-lockdown activists’ rhetoric took on toxic levels of racism and suspicion, their paranoia about vaccines mixing with paranoia about antifa. After the November election, they pivoted to hyping an insurrection.

Anti-lockdown and anti-mask groups, which now count some 3 million members on Facebook, were a crucial recruiting ground for the Stop the Steal effort that culminated in the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol on January 6. “The ranks of Stop the Steal groups were able to swell to hundreds of thousands almost overnight largely because they drew on this established base that had already been radicalized,” said Devin Burghart, executive director of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which documents far-right organizing and white nationalism....

The plot thickens.

It has seemed to me that the pandemic is involved in recent events. Here is a post that appears to confirm that this was a contributing factor.

Behind the Proud Boys, boogaloo proponents, and QAnon adherents who stormed the Capitol on January 6 were legions of others who started with a less ambitious gateway cause: that no politician should stand in the way of their right to order a steak on Saturday night.…

I said from the get-go that Americans would not be able to handle the pandemic since they cannot follow instructions without coercion and it won't be possible politically to coerce them.

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