ALT-America – The Rise Of The Radical Right In The Age Of Trump
I toyed with even posting a review of this book. Not because I hated it, I actually agreed with most of the points of view. But, I didn’t want a bunch of blinkered, lonely, psychopathic keyboard warriors filling up my comments. I’m not an activist or a politician and I am not looking to engage in spitting conversation about Trump, or how hard done by poor white people are, or how ISIS want to turn the world Muslim. I’m here to tell you broadly what is in the book and what I felt about it. That is all. If you want to rage, head off to some other page because, with me, you’ll just get my love and prayers, or a block notice.
This book is an analysis of the rise of the Alt-Right in America and Trump’s part to play in its sudden prominence. It’s very detailed and researches key events in America which began to turn the tide, well before Trump decided it was a great idea to give the Presidency a crack. This book is weighty and throughout the well-paced timeline, cut down into chapters of key events, explains how these came together to bring us the America we have today. It is a historical, social and political report of the rise and disturbing popularity of the Alt-Right we know today, from one of Americas best analysts on the far right movement, David Neiwart.
What I found most interesting was the psychology behind some of these characters, who wield such power within the walls of The White House. If a fact is presented and unliked, it’s fake news, or simply didn’t happen. Conspiracy theories become truth and mainstream. There is an alternative universe in which these people live and to be honest, what I took out of this book is that calling these supporters kooks, conspiracy theorists, or lunatics will only goad them into escalating acts of violence and vitriol. Education instead of brainwashing surely is key. Take your mind back to a time where you’ve had a point of view which has been shot down or laughed at publicly, it’s unlikely you conceded your point of view and merrily changed your mind. It’s more likely you dug your heels in, had a row and maybe didn’t talk to that person again.
I also took from these pages the negative and yet powerful impact social media has. People are fed more of what they like and share, which then becomes forced on them with cleverly targeted sponsored posts and detailed algorithms. Facebook thinks it’s a good thing to show you more of what you like and when this happens, the world for that person grows smaller and the balance of opinions is lost. Human contact is also lost and it becomes very easy to dehumanise another person on the internet through a screen, making it easier to hurl abuse.
How did it get this bad? How can it improve when, today, at the time of posting this very review Trump flippantly retweeted a British far-right twitter account with unverified videos of Muslims attacking people, demonstrating his support for the far-right and sharing their messages with millions of Americans.
For me, these horrendous acts of terror cast upon people of ALL races, religions and colour are abhorrent and will never ever be a solution for peace, only for implosion and war. This book was interesting to me to understand just what happened and how America came to be today, but ultimately it just made me feel incredibly sad and worried about the America of the future.
3 out of 5 from me
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