Extremist Patriots: The Role of Conspiracy Theories in Radical Patriot Militias
Often we see conspiracy theories and quickly brush them off. These theories, based in neither fact nor logic, can be found throughout social media and have disruptive and even harmful consequences when they are perpetuated as a desperate call to arms. A recent analysis conducted by the George Washington University Program on Extremism found common themes pervasive within the Patriot/Militia movement which includes notable individuals such as Alex Jones, the leader of InfoWars.com, where many conspiracy theories find their ways into his contentious commentary.
Many conspiracy theories float throughout the internet but certain theories seem to be highly attractive to the Patriot/Militia movement. Among these theories is a strong call to arms to defend the liberties of Americans who feel the federal government has started active programs to create a repressive regime. Often these theories tie in threats from the UN and its “globalist agenda” as well as extreme gun advocates who believe gun legislation will lead to a vulnerable disarmed population. These conspiracy theories have generated popular support as the accessibility of them via social media has created a campaign of misinformation. Misinformation then recruits new believers who can become extremely dangerous when emboldened.