Hate groups (extremism)

On 21 September 2022, the British Psychological Society highlighted research that found that people will look for evidence that supports their views and reject evidence that contradicts those views and thus can be increasingly pushed into extreme ideologies (https://www.bps.org.uk/research-digest/cognitive-bias-can-push-people-more-extreme-ideological-positions).

This also happens in scientific research. During my Master’s, I carried out a study in bias in sociobiological research and discovered that there was a great deal of male/female bias in it. Things have improved since, but bias still cannot be ruled out in scientific research. You also see bias in research that looks at for example agricultural developments in Africa or intelligence in non-human animals.

According to neuroscientist Lisa Feldman Barrett’s work, it’s metabolically advantageous for the brain to reject what we are not familiar with instead of feel empathy.

I argue that extremism and other forms of unwanted behaviors can also come about because people who feel immensely otherized (pushed into the fringes of society) are looking for support instead of more rejection.

For me too, it’s easy to feel anger toward extremists. But the picture is not always as black and white as it is painted by the media. Society also bears part of the blame when it resolutely rejects groups of people and their views.

Here are a few highly explanatory pages about how groups like 4chan and 8chan – where a lot of hate comes from – work:

  • Wikipedia : Gamergate (harassment campaign)
  • CNET : “8chan, 8kun, 4chan, Endchan: What you need to know. 8chan, the site linked to mass-shooting screeds, has returned under a new name”.
  • The Independent : “What is QAnon? The origins of bizarre conspiracy theory spreading online”
  • BuzzFeed : “Activists Are Outing Hundreds Of Twitter Users Believed To Be 4chan Trolls Posing As Feminists”
  • The Independent : “Police warn of homophobic 4chan cyber attack on LGBT+ Pride month celebrations”
  • Time : “What to Know About Pizzagate, the Fake News Story With Real Consequences”
  • Wikipedia : Pizzagate conspiracy theory

These groups – including “Anonymous” – are nowhere near the benevolent force for good that some people mistake them for (see for example in The Guardian: “WikiLeaks: Who are the hackers behind Operation Payback?”).

“anything goes”

That is their motto.

This often happens closer to home than we would like.

A male business owner in Portsmouth was targeted in 2018 in what the Sunday Times called it a “xenophobic campaign”. It has clear echoes of Pizzagate.

Businessman falsely branded a paedophile by online bully forced to close vape shop after losing £75,000 in trade | The Newshttps://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/businessman-ruined-after-false-online-claims-of-paedophilia-dnkddg93x

The rumor began to be spread that he was a pedophile. His turnover tanked.

He had been a hip, relaxed and “with it” business man and a dad.

He is Scottish, not English, and that certainly played a role.

This is him before he became targeted:


This case actually went to court, which is exceedingly rare. The perp comes from the same small area in town that targets me. This business man became suicidal, developed rapid-onset alopecia and became afraid to leave his home. He has left Portsmouth, the trademark he took out for his undertaking still running for many years.

Here is a recent example of the misogynistic hate that abounds locally (5 May 2022): https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/crime/police-forced-to-intervene-as-woman-left-feeling-suicidal-after-widley-street-abuse-from-boys-calling-her-prostitute-and-paedophile-3681465)

(Headline in Portsmouth on 5 May 2022, about abuse that may have happened slightly to the north on England’s mainland, in Widley near Waterlooville, as there is no “Widley Street” in Portsmouth, but I don’t have access to the actual article. Widley is part of the Greater Portsmouth conurbation, part of three municipalities, including Portsmouth. Most of Portsmouth is crammed onto tiny Portsea Island.)

The problem with abuse like this is that the targeted women are usually blamed for the abuse. Afraid of more abuse, they usually choose to stay quiet and remain anonymous.

Groups like 4chan and 8chan also organize that for example 100 pizzas get delivered to your door and that the police’s SWAT team shows up.

Hackers are often also into lock-picking and things like knowing how to walk up to unsuspecting people from behind without them noticing, so that they can startle them or pick their pockets. (I found out about this by watching a few DefCon videos on YouTube.)

It’s my impression that many of these 4chan, 8chan and incel types are painfully insecure and have a tendency to lash out at anyone who makes them more aware of their insecurities.

Many of them desperately want to be seen and heard, are after a sense of belonging, a sense that they matter and that their lives have meaning.

Remember Payton Gendron? Of the Buffalo shooting?

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2022/05/15/buffalo-shooter-great-replacement-extremism/

After the 2011 riots in England, some of the participants indicated that boredom had been an important driver and that merely providing access to sports facilities can help prevent such escalations.

Leaders who want to learn about how big a role boredom plays should watch the video about the “Philmarillion”, a person who for months documented every move and twitch of a particular online user based in England.

This person created an entire world made up of the posts of said user, and even engaged in performance art to simulate that said user was living with him. There was for example food for him in the fridge with stickers with his name on it. He posted photos etc of that.

We should be grateful that the Philmarillion was artistically inclined.

CNN interviewed a would-be shooter about what stopped him:


‘Cheering section’ for violence: the attacks that show 4chan is still a threat

“The Washington DC shooting was the most recent to spawn out of the extremist culture of unregulated ‘chan’ message boards”


8chan returns with a new name and a reminder not to do illegal stuff

“The imageboard was taken off the clearnet after being linked to several mass shootings.”

The people who engage in this kind of abuse are extremely adept at blaming their victims. The fact that they abuse others is always the fault of those others.

This guy who accosted Chris Whitty (the UK’s version of Anthony Fauci) also tried to blame his target for his own actions. He called Whitty shy and timid and said that if his victim had said “Get off me!” he would have left him in peace.

No, he would not. First of all, he had already accosted him at that point. Second, he would have taken it as a provocation and might have started punching or kicking his victim next.

The onus for changing and preventing such negative developments is mostly on politicians because it is often politicians who set them in motion. Politicians must avoid otherising language and otherising (discriminatory) policies as much as possible and seek to increase equality and seek to enable everyone to flourish.

To flourish is to be respected as a human being, to be as healthy and content as possible – housed and fed well – and able to support themselves financially – or be supported, free from authoritarian demands and threats and, if able, to have the opportunity to choose work that is not punishment for being alive at a pitiful pay but enjoyable or at least paid well enough to enable people to support themselves and make work worth their while.

Locally, there was a high proportion of UKIP voters (UKIP is the political party best known for Nigel Farage) and I have occasionally run into EDL marches here. This goes with a great deal of 4chan/8chan activity.


“If I was still in the EDL today, being banned from Facebook would have done nothing to deradicalise me”

“As a former advocate of the far-right group, it’s clear to me that by removing extremist forums, social media platforms may inadvertently drive vulnerable people underground and straight into the echo chambers we want them to avoid”

England is awash in otherization and large groups of people here feel utterly powerless and ignored. So they look for places where they feel they that they matter.

Remember Jake Davison, of the Plymouth shooting? He too felt that his life was a complete waste and that there was nothing left to do do for him.

In his book “This is marketing”, Seth Godin talks about the strange phenomenon that some people stick to wildly contrasting beliefs, such as believing that Princess Diana is still alive yet also believing that she was murdered.

They appear to do this because it affords them membership of a very select club of people. This way, they gain significance, but it not the main thing they are after. They also want to feel that they are unique. This is also why some people believe in conspiracy theories about Covid. (Godin referred to research done at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, if you want to know more about that. Look for work by Roland Imhoff.)

We should probably all pay more attention to what Seth Godin advocates on page 64 in that book.

“If we can accept that people have embraced who they have become, it gets a lot easier to dance with them. Not transform them, not get them to admit that they were wrong. Simply to dance with them, to have a chance to connect with them, to add our story to what they see and add our beliefs to what they hear.”

Below is a video by a so-called malignant narcissist called Sam Vaknin. He was born in Israel. He had an unpleasant childhood and for a long time focused on hurting people, on pressing their pain buttons. (I think that one reason why they do that is to express how much they are hurting inside, which they may not be aware of at all.) He worked mainly in finance, then went to prison for fraud. Next, he repeatedly tried to prove that he was a psychopath. He is not.

Thankfully, he is very intelligent, eventually accepted that he had merely a narcissistic personality disorder, developed more insight and started educating people. He wrote a book. He also moved to Macedonia and married a Macedonian woman. These days, he seems to make mostly videos. He often cooperates with Richard Grannon, who himself was a victim of a narcissist, apparently. Grannon knows how to talk to Vaknin without triggering him into anger outbursts. Vaknin likes respect and doesn’t like to be doubted.

In this video, he talks about the importance of being seen. The first three minutes alone tell you a lot about how young people who feel unseen can get manipulated and dragged along into extremism.

(By the way, the local man who became obsessed with me has turned manipulation into an art form and often uses this but also other manipulative techniques. That probably makes him narcissistic rather than autistic. It often makes me want to go completely silent just to get away from his incessant interference, but that is what he wants. He wants me to feel deserted by everyone else, become completely invisible to everyone else and become isolated from everyone else.)

This also echoes what Thích Nhất Hạnh used to say. To tell people “I hear you, I am here for you, I am listening.”

He also told us to look after ourselves well, too, and advised us to retreat to the island withing to replenish our energy and shut out the noise. It’s important to remember that many zen masters live in monasteries and retreats or at least spend a lot of time there. The better you care for and look after yourself, the better you can care for and look after others.

If you think that this only concerns young people, you’d be wrong. I think I recently read somewhere that in the UK, the terrorism threat increasingly comes from men and women in their 60s. That didn’t really surprise me, in view of the shocking level of hate against older men and women there is in the UK. These people have nowhere to go with their anger, frustration and powerlessness.

But not just in the UK, some men turn toxic and for example start targeting women later in life:

They become supporters of the “alpha male” ideology — a term adopted by the manosphere to describe what they consider the ideal version of manhood.