This article considers the relationship between “hashtag activism” as it is currently being used by the alt-right and the tendency to draw on conspiracy theory that Richard Hofstadter identified as being prevalent among what he termed “pseudo-conservatives” half a century earlier. Both the alt-right and Hofstadter’s “pseudo-conservatives” can be characterised by a pronounced populist nationalism that understands its aims as protecting a particular way of life whilst drawing on an aggrieved sense of injustice at being conspired against by an unseen enemy. That this “enemy” is typically foreign in actuality or in spirit confirms the cultural dimension on which their politics is played out. It is argued here that this paranoid populist nationalism has been figuratively drawn upon in the rhetoric of Donald Trump and that this apparent openness to the “pseudo-conservative” discourse on nationalism has provided a bridging effect via which far right elements are seeking to normalize extremist viewpoints.
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Wilson, Andrew F.. 2018. "#whitegenocide, the Alt-right and Conspiracy Theory: How Secrecy and Suspicion Contributed to the Mainstreaming of Hate." Secrecy and Society 1(2). http://scholarworks.sjsu.edu/secrecyandsociety/vol1/iss2/1