- The people who attacked Bookmarks, the socialist bookstore in London, were protesting against “pedophile lovers.”
- Far-right conservatives are trying to convince the world that the secret goal of everyone on the left is the legalisation of pedophilia.
- This theory is ridiculous, and key figures on the alt-right have admitted it is bogus.
- Yet one man has been killed and others have been shot at by people pursuing the theory.
- Thanks to Tommy Robinson and Steve Bannon, Britain is now fertile ground for this nonsense.
Last week, about a dozen alt-right activists stormed into Bookmarks, a socialist bookshop in London, to chant “We love Trump!”, scream abuse at the customers, and accuse two employees behind the counter of being “pedophile lovers” (watch that at 12.40 in this video).
It is not clear from the video what the “protest” was about or why the bookshop was targeted. To add to the confusion, one of the activists was wearing a Donald Trump mask and carrying a sign that said: “Zuck off Cuckerberg.” Another was raging about the BBC.
But the demonstrators knew it would trigger media headlines.
Attacks on bookshops are a dramatic signal in Nazi history: Hitler’s rise to power in Germany was preceded in the early 1930s by a book-burning campaign in which fascists destroyed subversive or non-fascist books. The Bookmarks protestors were, almost certainly, trolling the shop – and the left in general – by staging the exact type of action that would attract most attention, and generate most alarm.
But why were they raging about “pedophiles”? There is no link between Bookmarks and child abuse.
The bogus theory that the secret end-goal of all liberals is legalised sex with children
The explanation is that the concept of “leftist pedophiles” – the bogus theory that the secret end-goal of all liberals and leftists is legalised sex with children – is the alt-right’s new rage-inducing tactic. My prediction is that we’re about to hear a lot more about fictitious “leftist pedophiles” if Steve Bannon and Tommy Robinson are successful in setting up their international European far-right nationalist “Movement.”
What is less obvious is that the influential ultra-conservative pushers of this theory do not believe it themselves. They know it’s fake. They just like the outrage it causes.
But the theory has lethal consequences in real life, and has already led to one death.
- One man, Lane Davis of Samish in Washington State, has already been charged with stabbing his father to death after falsely accusing the victim of being a leftist pedophile.
- Another, Edgar Maddison Welch, is serving four years in prison after he opened fire inside a Washington DC pizza place with an AR-15 rifle during an attempt to “self-investigate” the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that liberals were using the restaurant as a secret base for child sex slavery.
- A third, Yusif Lee Jones, faces five years in prison after pleading guilty to making death threats at a second pizza restaurant falsely wrapped up in the Pizzagate rumours.
The theory is already more popular than you think
If this sounds insane, that’s because it is.
People – normal people who do not routinely hang out on ultra-conservative websites – may not be aware of just how popular and well-developed the “leftist pedophilia” theory is.
Here is an example from an op-ed on the Daily Caller, a right-wing US news website: “The leftist media along with Sharia Law embracing liberals and some members of the LGBT movement are not only attempting to normalize rape and pedophilia – they are pushing to legalise the rape, torture and genital mutilation of children.”
And this is what you get if you search for “leftist pedophiles.” All the major far-right brands have plenty of content on the topic.
‘The right-wing media has long tried to discredit identity politics by claiming the concept is a slippery slope that ends in the recognition of inherently ridiculous groups’
BuzzFeed writer Joe Bernstein explained it best in his masterful, lengthy account of Lane Davis’s descent from his position as an online writer for alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulos to mentally unbalanced killer awaiting trial in jail:
The right-wing media has long tried to discredit identity politics by claiming the concept is a slippery slope that ends in the recognition of inherently ridiculous groups. A few years ago, though, a new class of social media bomb-throwers started to seize on pedophilia as a particularly inflammatory identity. On Twitter and in places like 4chan’s /pol/ board, they began to claim that acceptance of pedophilia was the true, secret goal of liberal politics, the hellish endpoint to Black Lives Matter and transgender bathroom laws. This line of attack became frighteningly literal in 2016, when a man with a gun showed up at a Washington, DC, pizza parlor that online conspiracy theorists claimed was the hub of a massive pedophilia ring – run by Democratic Party officials. A month later, another man showed up at a nearby pizzeria claiming he was there to “save the kids” and “finish what the other guy didn’t.”
The alt-right has – unbelievably – managed to take that position even further recently. The QAnon conspiracy theory, which has morphed from an online hoax into real demonstrators turning up at real rallies for US President Trump, has at its heart the belief that Hillary Clinton somehow runs an undetected network of international pedophiles (with George Soros of course!).
It is difficult to tell whether the proponents of these theories actually believe what they are saying, or whether they are just trying to insult people on the left. QAnon, for instance, might actually be a hoax being played on the right by liberal activists who want to see whether there is anything that older conservatives won’t believe, according to BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick. (If you think President Obama was a Kenyan Muslim, that climate change doesn’t exist, and that school shootings are perpetrated by “crisis actors” who want to take away Americans’ right to carry firearms, then you might be persuaded that the world is run a by a secret cabal of child abusers, is the joke.)
‘I never really thought people were stupid enough to get caught up in this stuff’
What is clear, however, is that some of the publishers of these theories do not believe a word of them. The saddest part of Bernstein’s story about Lane Davis is his interview with Davis’s former colleagues at The Ralph Retort, an ultra-conservative site in the Infowars/Breitbart/Mike Cernovich ecosystem. The Ralph Retort is run by husband and wife team Nora and Ethan Ralph. They assumed Davis knew there was no such thing as leftist pedophiles, Bernstein wrote, and that he knew their site was just “a game” to annoy the left:
If the Ralphs felt guilt over the killing, though, they felt an equal amount of anger and bewilderment. It astounded them that Lane had been serious all along. No one could really believe, they thought, in a Marxist plot to enforce pedophilia with Antifa shock troops.
“He completely ruined his life with some stupid internet shit,” Ralph said. “He didn’t get the game.”
“I watch Alex Jones,” Nora told me. “To me, that’s entertainment.We don’t really think the frogs are gay. I don’t think the protein powder works. I never thought some people watch this stuff and are like, yes, this is hard-hitting journalism. I thought most of us could distinguish between entertainment and facts. I never really thought people were stupid enough to get caught up in this stuff.”
Yet, people are “caught up in this stuff.” Three men are in prison and one is dead, because of “this stuff.”
The alt-right is disrupting court cases that send real rapists to prison
Now it has arrived in Europe.
Britain probably looks like fertile ground to the international far-right. To the bewilderment of locals, former neo-Nazi Tommy Robinson, a marginal character in British life until the last few weeks, has been turned into a well-funded international free speech martyr because he was arrested and imprisoned for trying to film defendants at the trial of 28 men accused of child sex abuse at a Crown Court in Leeds, England.
The organised sexual abuse of homeless and runaway teenage girls in Northern England – and the ethnic and religious background of the alleged perpetrators – is a real social issue in the UK, which local authorities have failed to tackle. But the line Robinson is trying to perpetuate is that the government is covering up the abuse by preventing him from “reporting” on the trials. The truth – ably dissected as usual by the Snopes myth-busting site – is that UK law has a long-established rule that bans certain types of news reporting on live trials in order to ensure cases aren’t biased by the media. In other words, Robinson’s actions actually made it less likely that the government would convict the men – by giving them grounds for a mistrial.
This is where the alt-right is going: Taking actions that result in innocent people being stabbed to death, shot at, and disrupting court cases that might get real rapists sent to prison.
That’s why the Bookmarks incident is so weird. It wasn’t a joke about the Nazi symbolism of book-burning.
It was even worse.
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