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Lawfare & Ideologically Inconsistent Extremists

I read Lawfare because it represents a place where fairly traditional liberal approaches to national security are meeting (occasionally) more progressive and practical understandings of the challenges before us. Accordingly I read their piece on composite violent extremism with great interest. I Don’t Speak German and others in the anti-fascist researcher sphere have been talking about this for ages, of course.

I think it’s a reasonably good piece. There’s one huge gap, however. The authors define “individuals who draw on a variety of disparate prejudices and grievances but do not adhere to a discernible ideological framework” as “ambiguous” and sort of throw up their hands; this is a failure, because in many cases the underlying similarity is accelerationism. In some cases — Christchurch, for example — accelerationism is an expression of a clear ideology. Often that’s white supremacy, but not always.

For example, one of their sample “ambiguous” extremists is Ethan Miller. In his online writings, he said “I’m going to Kickstart a Fucking Violent Revolution here.” He saw himself as an example for others like him and said so. So it’s true that his ideology wasn’t terribly coherent (although let’s not miss the anti-vax rhetoric, which is absolutely ideological) but if you don’t pay attention to the common thread of acclerationism, you will fail to prevent and you will fail to deradicalize.

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