I hope you can join me online in August for a discussion of how the fear of “The Great Replacement” has provided motivation for many heinous attacks on racial and religious minorities and the role of religious communities should take in dispelling this myth perpetuated by white-supremacist groups.
Sponsored by Religions for Peace USA, the talk is free, but you’ll still need to register online to attend.
The Fear of “The Great Replacement” and its Impact on Society Thursday, August 18, 2022–2:00 to 3:00 P.M. EST
Canada Day is this coming weekend, and while many are planning parties and BBQ’s the “freedom convoys” are threatening once again to occupy our nation’s capital. As many celebrate the nation, we are also grappling with what it means to be Canadian, and after shocking images of our flag throughout the protests what does our flag mean to us now. Are we as a nation shell shocked, or apprehensive when we see our flag, or is this a time we stop allowing the protesters to define us, and let us come to terms with our history with residential schools. A conversation that needs to be had.
Ideas of traditional gender roles, a ruling cabal working to create a New World Order through feminists, LGBTQ2SA communities and feminists as the enigma of the end of “America, are not new. The battle to control women’s bodies through a rhetoric of nationalism and conspiracy theories is also not a new tactic, what is new is the use of SCOTUS to support these movements.
This week Abacus Polling released their findings on Canadian belief in conspiracy theories such as the Great Replacement and the Great Reset. Discussing these theories and the greater implications to society with Matt Galloway on CBC The Current, myself and other experts grappled with the idea of growing beliefs in conspiracy and how we as a global society need to understand and address these issues.
As the January 6th hearings are being broadcast Canadians too are watching. The role of conspiracy theories and extremism in the events of January 6th are similar to the events on our own nation’s capital and border crossings with the so called Freedom Convoys. Conspiracy theories and extremism on the internet are not bound by borders and as populism, anger, and fear rise we too in Canada can feel the impact of these movements. For decades those who were conspiracists, extremists, and on the margins of society were dismissed and mocked we are all now feeling the implications of our dismissals.
The Great Replacement is a racist conspiracy theory that has been propagated for decades through dystopian novels. The conspiracy has become the mechanism through which hate ideologies are spread, both subtly and openly on social media, gaming, and through memes with real world consequences.
The Great Replacement conspiracy theory has fuelled acts of violence and a rise in extremism and populism across North America, including the recent killing of 13 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY.
On June 15, I’ll be be presenting an historical overview of this conspiracy theory as part of The State of US webinar series, and sharing my latest research into its more recent manifestations, including through extremist groups in Texas.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland have been accused by conspiracists as being “puppets” for Klaus Schwab, and the World Economic Forum to bring forward the “Great Reset.” The conspiracy is based on a short video created by the WEF in 2016, where economists were asked what they envisioned for the future. Once the pandemic and lockdowns began, both Prince Charles and Trudeau spoke the words “The Great Reset” and the conspiracy began to take take hold. The Great Reset was a platform topic for the People’s Party of Canada during the federal election, and now is an aspect of Conservative Party’s leadership campaign. Recently calls for believers to contact the Canadian Ethics Committee to investigate Trudeau and Freeland for their connection to the WEF flooded the offices with complaints.
On April 28th Dr. Mia Bloom and I spoke at Montclair State University for their series on the rise of theocracy in America. We were the final instalment of the series, and addressed the role of conspiracy theories in Christian socio-political movements in the country. Dr. Bloom spoke predominately about the QAnon conspiracy, while I addressed broader conspiracies, situating them historically in America and in the contemporary context. It was a great conversation, and one that will be continued at a round table presentation at the American Academy of Religion national conference in November.
This morning I presented my research to the public safety and national security committee at the House of Commons. The rise of conspiracy theories and their links to right wing extremism is a topic that needs to be addressed. Conspiracy serves as a conduit to spread ideologies, build socio-political movements, and can provide the fears needed that can lead to violence.
The oft-spoken adage that freedom of the media is only free to those who own the media has been repeated for the last few days, given the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk. Much speculation and doomsday prophecies for the social media platform have been espoused, and granted this is a precarious situation within the “town square” of Twitter, we truly need to step back from our emotions and engage in a wider, more logical perspective. This takeover is much more than a perceived silencing of the press, a silencing of the public sphere, or an anvil pressing deep into the cleavage between left and right, it is also a business acquisition. The capitalistic nature of this movement is spotlighted with each “I’m leaving Twitter” or “I’m back!” tweet. Keyboard warriors are simply fodder for publicity and finances of the takeover.