“It is unlikely that any single orientation or belief fostered the type of violent action we witnessed in Buffalo or the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021,” Enders wrote via email. “It’s a toxic mix of extremist orientations, such as Christian nationalism, racism, certain expressions of populism and conspiracy, for example, that bring people together in support of violence.”
Christian nationalism, racism, sexism, homophobia, are all conflicts of identity – who is morally virtuous and more deserving, who is “normal” and even what it means to be American. Each of these orientations is also characterized by an extreme contempt or fear of “the other”. One could look to Christianity for deeper connections between orientations, but I think the reality is that conspiratorial individuals, like the accused Buffalo shooter, can find connections between anything. He saw America as a white, straight, Christian country that was becoming less white, straight, and Christian, thus threatening (his perception of) the American way of life, which was his way of life. But racism, sexism, etc. have no inherent connection with the desire to build a Christian nation-state.
In a separate article, Enders wrote that he and other researchers found that
conspiracy theories, of which the great replacement theory is an example, are often underpinned by antisocial personality traits, such as the dark triad (narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy) and a predisposition to conflict. If you combine all of these dispositions and traits and dial them up to 10, that’s when you’re most likely to find support for violence, which is correlated (but not determinative) with behavioral violence. .
Armaly wrote via email that “between 25 and 32 percent of white Americans support some Christian nationalist ideas. We use six questions to assess the degree to which one supports Christian nationalist ideals,” including agreement or disagreement with “the federal government should declare the United States a Christian nation” and “the success of the United States is part of of God’s plan.” About 32% of respondents approve of at least four statements, Armaly wrote, “and 25% approve of at least five statements.”
Armaly noted that “of the major predictors of support for violence—perceived victimization, attachment to one’s whiteness, racial animosity toward black people, support for authoritarianism, support for populism, and past or current military service—all except of military service, are present in the written statement of the accused Buffalo shooter.
Buckley wrote via email that
6% of whites, 11.5% of white evangelicals, and 17.7% of white weekly worshipers belong to the top common quartile of justification of violence, Christian nationalist beliefs, perceived victimhood, white identity, and support for QAnon. This would represent millions of individuals. It also represents a much larger share of the white American population than surveys reveal when testing Muslim-American support for terrorism.
Christian nationalism, white replacement theory, and conspiracy concern overlap, although each has unique characteristics.
On May 9, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released an illuminating study, “Immigration Attitudes and Conspiratorial Thinkers,” based on 4,173 interviews with adults 18 and older, which breaks down some of the components of hard thought. on the right.
The AP and NORC created two categories, “conspiratorial high thinkers” and “conspiratorial low thinkers”, based on agreement or disagreement with four statements:
1) the events are the product of conspiracies carried out in secret, 2) the events are directed by a small group of powerful people, 3) (these people) are unknown to the voters and 4) (they) control the outcome of major events like wars, recessions and elections. The top 25% were placed in the high conspiracy category and the remaining 75% in the low conspiracy category.
Comparing the two categories of conspiratorial thinkers revealed stark differences, according to the report:
Seven times as many conspiratorial big thinkers agree that our lives are controlled by conspiracies hatched in secret places (85% vs. 11%) and that big events like wars and election results are controlled by small groups of people working in secret (89% vs. 13%) than their weak conspiratorial counterparts. Conspiratorial big thinkers believe the people who run the country are not known to voters three times as much as the rest of the general population (94% vs. 31%), and they are about twice as likely to agree only a few people will. still run the country (96% versus 48%).
Of those ranked highest in conspiratorial thinking, 42% agreed that there is a group of people trying to replace native-born Americans and that native-born Americans are losing economic, political, and cultural influence. in favor of immigrants, against 8% of non-conspiratorial thinkers. .
In the case of the white replacement theory, the report posed two questions: “There is a group of people in this country who are trying to replace native Americans with immigrants who agree with their political views” ( agree or disagree) and “How concerned are you that native Americans will lose their economic, political, and cultural influence in this country due to the growing immigrant population?”