Celebrate the Facts!
5/15/2022 1 Comment
Infotainment, also known as Hate, Inc., makes money off hate, and it doesn’t matter what brand it is. That these major networks are all conglomerates and their ‘journalism’ is political propaganda wrapped about a few facts intended to attract members of their respective political tribes seems lost on the viewers. Still, a recent concept called the Great Replacement Theory, promoted on national right-wing broadcasts, and spewed by hatemasters in the Hateosphere, seems to be the proximate motivation for the newest wave of mass murderers. How many more people will die at the hands of radicalized shooters before people quit making money from sponsoring this concept?
The ‘Great Replacement’ theory is a racist polemic making the case that unseen forces are deliberately ‘replacing’ white European populations by encouraging immigration and the growth of minority communities. This theory rests on demographic projections showing Caucasian people are becoming a minority group. The Great Replacement is a relatively new term rebranding old-fashioned racism and nativism. A French writer named Renaud Camus first used the term ‘Great Replacement’ in his 2011 book entitled Le Grand Remplacement (The Great Replacement).
The theory focuses on the premise that growing populations of immigrants (read brown people) marginalize white people. This thinking is as old as immigration, and the Great Replacement theory is just a rebranding with a fancy and less loathsome name. Recently the term has become common in extreme-right groups, a philosophical duct tape binding together an extremist minority of the population.
No one will mistake Tucker Carlson as much more than a gasbag making money off hate. The idea Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, or Scott Perry are much more than political entrepreneurs begs credulity. Still, the repackaged ethnocentric philosophy makes inroads into the United States population. About 1 in 3 U.S. adults accept as accurate that there is an effort to exchange United States-born Americans with immigrants for election advantages. Republicans appear to be slightly more likely than Democrats to fear a loss of influence because of immigration at 36% to 27%.
Unfortunately, the Great Replacement theory has become a centerpiece of America's newest form of toxicity, the racist mass murderer. A generation or two ago, the great mass murderers tended to be serial killers, such as Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Wayne Williams, John Wayne Gacy, and the like. The new breed is mass shooters who surprise attack in churches, theaters, grocery stores, and other public places. Although these deranged folks have numerous ideological beliefs, many have cited the Great Replacement as their motivation.
Terrorist Robert Bowers committed a domestic terrorist mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in October 2018, killing 11 people and injuring seven. The shooting is the deadliest attack on the United States Jewish community. Bowers believed the Jews were helping the ‘invaders.’
Brenton Tarrant killed 51 and wounded another 40 churchgoers at two mosques in a terrorist attack on Christchurch Mosques in New Zealand in March 2019. Tarrant live-streamed the shooting over Facebook. In addition, Tarrant published a manifesto where he referenced ‘the Great Replacement’ as his motivation for the attack.
Terrorist Paul Crusius walked into a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in August 2019, shooting, killing 22 people, and injuring 24 more. His motive was stopping a ‘Hispanic invasion’ of Texas.
The most recent mass murderer in the Great Replacement portfolio is 18-year-old Payton Gendron, the alleged perpetrator of a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. Gendron allegedly killed ten people and injured three more. Eleven of the 13 people shot were African American. The alleged perpetrator, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, produced a 180-page work referencing the Great Replacement and lifted much of the text from Brenton Tarrant’s manifesto.
Politicians and Infotainment entrepreneurs are helping the Great Replacement narrative through references to the conspiracy theory in their speeches, social media posts, and policies.
Perhaps the most prominent right-wing media performer, Tucker Carlson, has led the invective. ‘I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest for the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,’ said Tucker Carlson in April 2021. ‘But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually.’ Then, in September 2021, Carlson reinforced his loathsome beliefs. ‘In political terms, this policy is called the great replacement, the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries.’
Congressperson Matt Gaetz of Florida, always quick to collect some attention from controversy, tweeted that Carlson was ‘CORRECT about Replacement Theory as he explains what is happening to America.’
‘For many Americans,’ Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) said in a Congressional hearing in April 2021, ‘what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is, what appears to them is we’re replacing national-born American — native-born Americans to permanently transform the political landscape of this very nation.’
Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Congressperson who bears a remarkable resemblance to Miss Piggy of Muppets fame, shared a video in 2018 repeating the anti-Semitic claim that ‘Zionist supremacists’ are conspiring to flood Europe with migrants to replace the white populations there.
J.D. Vance, a right-wing ideologue running for the United States senate in Ohio, recently piled onto the hatewagon. ‘Biden’s open border is killing Ohioans,’ says his campaign ad ‘with more illegal drugs and more Democrat voters pouring into this country.’
Newt Gingrich, a serial adulterer who once served divorce papers to his wife recovering in a hospital following a mastectomy, and right-wing former Speaker of the House, promoted replacement theory on Fox News in August 2021. Gingrich dog whistled the ‘radical left’ wants to ‘get rid of the rest of us’ and would ‘love to drown traditional, classic Americans with as many people as they can who know nothing of American history, nothing of American tradition, nothing of the rule of law.’
Classic conspiracy theory formulas such as the Great Replacement consist of an unseen manipulative group intent on some end goal for nefarious ends. The problem is that conspiracy theories often make fundamental sense when closely examined.
The Great Replacement is no outlier in this formula. It is full of flaws in fact and logic that make it untenable:
People who forward dangerous ideologies have some ethical considerations. For instance, people who promulgated and substantiated the Great Replacement theory have some link to the consumers. And this ideology provided some of the impetus and philosophical bulwark for the people who committed these atrocities. The platforms that provided this information also bear some guilt, although making a criminal case against them, once again, seems impossible.
To suggest a moral reckoning seems as likely as the Ghost of Christmas Future visiting. The pundits make money inspiring hatred, politicians gain office and make even more money, and social media platforms, their employees, and all their stockholders make cash. The only people who suffer, unfortunately, are the populace.
Michael Donnelly investigates societal concerns with an untribal approach - to limit the discussion to the facts derived from primary sources so the reader can make more informed decisions.