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Why have people in the United States become radicalized?


Radical movements can make people feel meaningful, give them a sense of purpose, and give them a story that explains why things seem to be going badly. They also give them a sense of community and support. Kruglanski says that the more you feel surrounded by a network of people, the more motivated you’ll feel to take in their narrative, even if it’s extreme. Often, he said, people don’t realize how extreme the group they’re in until they’ve invested in it.

Berger says that social media has increased the feeling of uncertainty. He says that’s partly due to the fact that ideas can now be propagated almost instantly without much effort, which can be destabilizing.

“In the past, when the transmission of ideas was slower, ideas had a chance to grow as they were delivered. This will sometimes create a kind of moderate effect,” says Berger. “With social media, ideas evolve so quickly that there is really no possibility of censorship. Even the most extreme ideas can spread extremely quickly.”

Social media also makes it easier for people to become radicalized because they can easily find people who share any extremist views they may have and who will happily invite them to join. a movement. Someone who hasn’t met like-minded people in the small town they lived in years ago can easily find an online community and become more radical.

“Social media has completely changed the way people communicate,” says Berger. “It has completely changed the kinds of ideas that people are exposed to.”

Research has been show Social media exacerbates political polarization, often to push users see more extremist content and help extremists organize and coordinator their efforts. Social media also has positive effects in helping to organize activists and connect people in beneficial ways, but its negative effects and uses are significant.

“Network support, secret conspiracy narratives combined with a sense of uncertainty, a sense of loss of meaning—these factors create a combustible mixture that can spark a spark,” says Kruglanski. and lead to radicalization and radicalization”.

So many people feel uncertain and insignificant, and social media is flooded with misinformation and extremist groups will invite them to join a movement. That’s some of it. The more obvious aspect of this, but also an important one, is that the role of political leaders in the US and the Republican Party has become more important. extremely it’s him.

“We have people who are the top leaders of a right-wing party who are really willing to come out and endorse positions that are far more radical than what used to be the norm in politics,” says Berger. rule America. “They are creating a structure that allows people to talk about racism and violence in ways that were previously outside the realm of civil discourse.”

Thomas Zeitzoff, an associate professor in the School of Public Relations at American University, said the Republican Party has embraced — and is now largely controlled by — extremists who previously should have been marginalized. out of the way.

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