To the Far Right and Back Again

An overriding message from the last few months of protests is that it’s not enough not to be racist. Rather, one must be explicitly anti-racist. It’s not enough to support the peaceful demonstrations going on around the country. “Silence is violence” is the new mantra. 

That has led to such harrowing scenes as we saw this week, with protesters threateningly confronting white diners at D.C. restaurants and trying to goad them into raising their fists in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s likely that this race-centric messaging will generate a backlash.

Take, for example, working class white men who keep hearing not only that their racial identity is their defining trait, but that it makes them inherently blameworthy. In a timely new book, Monster of Their Own Making: How the Far Left, the Media, and Politicians are Creating Far-Right Extremists Jack Buckby explains not only how those arguments sound to working class white men, but also why the elevation of a radical leftist view of race could result in more recruits for the far right.

Buckby, now a 27-year-old counter-extremism author, intersperses his personal story with a larger look at contemporary British and American politics, explaining how a teenager from an apolitical family found his way to the political fringe, attaching himself to the far-right British National Party (BNP). Along the way, the book also fills out Peggy Noonan’s “protected versus the unprotected” framing, with Buckby offering a view from the latter.

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