I don’t have the patience to dig around and find out who the Institute for Strategic Dialogue is (isdglobal.org), but I recognize their perspective and “solutions.” (Clearly The Trillions are behind them.) Even if you’re busy, check out this executive summary of their views of antivaxxers and their implied solutions. Many of you are nasty, dangerous agents of illness, misinformation and violence. 🙄 Oh, and I forgot: you’re racists too.
Beyond its immediate public health impacts, the COVID-19 pandemic
has driven a spectrum of harmful activity both online and offline. One of the most prominent examples of this has been what the World Health Organization has dubbed the ‘infodemic’,1 the mass proliferation of false and misleading information which has led to mistrust in health authorities and undermined the public health response. The spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories has helped fuel anti-vaccine narratives which
have become well established globally over a number of decades,2 and
has manifested in targeted conspiracy theories which have advanced anti- minority hatred.3 Meanwhile, extremist movements have also capitalised on the pandemic, using it as an opportunity to mobilise and call for action.4
Beyond the promotion of disinformation and conspiracy theories, and the advancement of existing violent extremist movements, the pandemic has also ignited protest movements globally. Cohorts of activists have taken to the streets in response to what they see as authoritarian overreach by governments in their response to the pandemic. While concerns about government overreach are reasonable during a pandemic which has seen a range of authoritarian responses globally, individuals associated with these movements have also been involved in a range of harmful activity, including attempted terrorist attacks and killings.
To better understand the nature of these movements ISD has developed a series of briefings analysing the make-up and activities of anti-lockdown activists across Europe and North America. Importantly, this work compares these phenomena across borders, identifying commonalities between these contexts. Our analysis identifies how mobilisation against COVID restrictions has brought together a broad-church of activists, with right-wing extremists rubbing shoulders with New Age spiritualists and alternative health practitioners.
Although there is a lack of ideological coherence across these movements, we have found that across countries they are consistently engaged in harmful activity of different types, including the amplification of disinformation, harassment, hate speech, and threats of violence. This research also demonstrates how the individuals and groups involved in this activity often extend beyond more established extremist movements. By exploring the eclectic, and wide ranging nature of these communities, we frame the challenge in terms of increasingly hybrid threats to public safety, which will require a new generation of responses, going beyond current counter-extremism policy paradigms.
This overview paper introduces these briefings, presents key trends in anti-lockdown activism from across country contexts and explores the policy implications of these trends.
Read the whole 14 page pdf and you’ll see they envision a “war on antivaxxers” as a subset of the “war on terror.”
The question I keep mulling over is: can the belief in the existence of a tyrannical movement be considered a “conspiracy theory” if the alleged tyrannical movement has slick, publicly available position papers exhibiting the thinking behind their tyrannical movement?
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