Let's be honest, all of us get most of our information from social media, like…
This article is an extension of a previous article: Conspiracy Theory Marketing. This article focuses on the demographic known as the “Alt-Right”, which are very often the target of conspiracy theory marketing. The Alt-Right has proven to be fertile ground for grifters who have fleeced them repeatedly. Grifters have successfully self-promoted and self-enriched, while falsely claiming they stand on principles or offer opposition to the establishment, which appeals to the Alt-Right for reasons that will be examined in this article.
As an aside, those who invoke principles such as “freedom of speech”, selectively rather than universally, demonstrate a deliberate failure to live up to what principles are all about. Principles should never be invoked as a matter of convenience or expediency, they are guidelines to live by in all circumstances.
The term “Alt Right” is a rather nebulous label, but seems to encompass those who are largely reactionary and object to changes to the status quo, particularly when those changes would empower demographics they see as distinct from themselves. Hence they stand in opposition to movements such as feminism and Black Lives Matter since empowerment of these groups is threatening, and additionally, constitutes a conspiracy to erode their power. Furthermore, the Alt-Right is often in denial about how the current status quo systemically empowers some demographics over others. They oppose any attempt to modify the status quo based on the false view that is already fair and just. And of course, they are smug in their belief that they are the clear arbiters of truth, since only they can see things as the really are, and any other views are either delusional or intentionally false.
So they table is set. The members of the Alt-RIght have self-selected as the perfect demographic to be grifted by those who appeal to their distorted and biased views of reality. As I noted in a previous article, the appeal to these groups is purely for the purposes of self-promotion and selling products and/or services. Like any scam, it may appear legitimate on its surface, but when you peal back the layers, you are left with nothing more than a grift that enriches the grifter.
There are two rather sad aspects to these grifts. The first is of course, that the grifters fleece the demographics they appeal to, and secondly and more seriously, they do so by eroding confidence in the institutions and principles of democracy. As is to be expected, grifters have no moral code. They see their victims as willingly giving up their cash, since in the grifters view, they are foolish enough to part with it, and hence the grifter is not culpable for their victims’ losses. Furthermore, the grifter sees their own enrichment as validation of their methodology, as repugnant as it may be.
I have to marvel at how well these grifts work for their perpetrators. In the post-truth era and apparently the post-moral-code era, the only metric that seems important to those who engage in these grifts is: “how profitable is my business”. As long as the money is flowing, it is all good!
Those of us who see these grifts for what they are may be conflicted, in that very often those who are being grifted are ideologically distinct from us and hence “deserve what they get”. That view seems somewhat uncharitable. If we believe that, we would be reinforcing the grifter’s own view that those who are grifted are self-inflicting their own victimhood. However to be fair, there is point where the old hominem “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”, does apply. One has to wonder at what point will the members of the Alt-Right wake up and realize they are being had, over and over again?
However, as noted above, these grifts have other consequences as well, which are ultimately far more serious since they may undermine democracy itself. They do so by suspending the believe in the value of governments. Let me be clear, I am not stating that we should mindlessly agree with everything our political leaders promote. As engaged citizens, we must always hold our political leaders feet to the fire, but we do so by demanding democratic principles and institutions are upheld by our political leaders. Democracy is a living system, it can only be sustained by citizens actively demanding its principles and institutions remain vital.
The grifters who appeal to the Alt-Right claim to uphold democratic principles but do so by claiming governments are operating to suppress citizens rather than protect their rights. It is fair to conclude that there are example where governments have suppressed their citizens, however the remedy for that is not to burn down the government, but to insist that political leadership and decision-making is consistent with democratic principles.
The bottom line is, unfortunately, that the mindset of the alt-right makes them the perfect victims of the conspiracy grift since they are more likely to believe (and of course buy) the conspiracy theory rather than assuming a more nuanced and balanced view of reality.