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Rise of Far-Right Groups in U.S. Endanger Society at Large

The far-right terrorist group known as the “Proud Boys,” has recently come in contact with their greatest obstacle so far: that being the trial for sedition several members have been involved in, due to their involvement in the Jan. 6 capitol riots.

First, it is important to establish why the Proud Boys are on trial. It sounds easy, but it is more of a complex issue than one may think. The main word that needs examining is “sedition,” which many Americans do not understand. According to Merriam-Webster, sedition is “incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.” It may sound similar to treason, but it is different in numerous ways. Of particular note is that treason is a more specific act which requires actual betrayal of a country, whereas one can be accused of sedition by just being causally connected to resistant acts. The rise of movements such as the Proud Boys, however, have plenty of historical precedent. 

Politically, the 2010s were characterized particularly by one thing, the general rise of far-right movements in the U.S. With the election of former President Donald Trump in 2016, the political landscape was changed irreversibly for the worse. This trend did not start here however, as even in the late 2000s and early 2010s, far-right fringe groups were recruiting new members all over the country and committing more terrorist attacks than ever before. 

Historically, fascism and general far-right attitudes have arisen from turmoil within a country, whether real or imaginary. The most famous example of this is, of course, the rise of Hitler due to reparations being taken from Germany after World War I. Similarly, other fascist regimes arose in Europe around the same time, due to numerous countries being weakened after the war. This clearly showcases this pattern, and a similar scenario is starting to occur within the U.S. 

Right-wing terrorist attacks occurred in nearly every state in the U.S. between 2007 and 2017 according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies. This coincides with a number of political movements over the same decade, particularly the large-scale immigration of Hispanic peoples at the Mexican border. This crisis even enabled an outright racist, xenophobic president to take power. During these events, the far-right often claimed that their values were “under attack,” simply due to the fact that more diversity was being introduced in the country. Similar rhetoric has been used in numerous different countries all across history, including Nazi Germany. 

Far-right ideologies have inspired some of the most deadly terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, including the Oklahoma City bombing, the Columbine massacre and now the Jan. 6 attacks. The death toll of terrorists acting in the name of such ideologies is immense, and stopping such attacks should be of the highest priority to those in power. 

In the internet era, these ideas are able to be spread faster than ever, most notably on message boards such as 4chan. These are websites with several different boards about different topics, and only one particular section of the website for far-right messages. However, the alternative is perhaps more alarming as other online forums exist purely for the purpose of communicating far-right ideals, such as the prolific Iron March forum. This website spews various different hateful ideas, but most prolific among them is the “accelerationist,” ideology, which calls for the violent overthrow of liberal democracy. While the various users on the forum are from all around the globe, information leaked in Nov. 2019 reveals that nearly 52% of users are from the U.S. according to Stanford University. 

All signs point to one conclusion, that over the past decade, far-right movements have not only strengthened, but also spread to innumerable minds within this country. This fact makes these movements particularly dangerous as actors within the general political right can slowly indoctrinate target populations, and then have them commit heinous acts of violence. 

The death toll of terrorists acting in the name of such ideologies is immense, and stopping such attacks should be of the highest priority to those in power.”

— Harrison Hollingsworth

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