I have seen a friend turn into a far-right person who believes in white replacement, white supremacy and the patriarchy, Cyrus Bales writes.

First published in September 2019.

Cyrus Bales is a Writer, Comedian and Film Maker.
• He wrote and shared the following story on Twitter a few hours ago.

I think one of the personal moments of Brexit so far that was worst, was when I saw a ‘friend’ of mine had been radicalized. I mentioned I was worried about a family member getting his insulin, and he said, “That’s something he should have prepared for himself, it’s his fault.”

This was not the first bit of radicalization I saw from him, but it was the final straw that made me unfollow him on Facebook. The actual story of his radicalization is kind of interesting...

Before Brexit, we never spoke of politics, aside from his hatred of the elite and the corruption. He was a car dude, loved his motor vehicles and was a big Top Gear fan. Meaning he liked a bit of ‘un-PC’ stuff, but nothing dangerous, just a little grinding.

When Brexit rolled around, he adopted what seemed like a Lexit position. He wanted the UK to leave, then boot out the Tories and let Corbyn take over to bring about fairness. He seemed to be buying into the Swiss model, but with a magical Freedom of Movement opt-out.

Then, the result came through and he started demonizing Remainers as elites trying to overthrow democracy. His thoughts about a Swiss model seemed to vanish, and he became a big Farage fan, who was very much in the Top Gear mold.

Finding likeminded pages and people on Facebook, he started sharing Breitbart articles, or pages with racist overtones, especially in regards to people like Diane Abbott. Next, followed the Jordan Peterson and Tommy Robinson stuff.

When I explained what these individuals are like, he said I was being “brainwashed” by people misrepresenting them. So, I compiled huge selections of their own videos to make my point, yet still he denied it, with a lot of goalpost moving.

It no longer became about Brexit, but about far-right extremism. He started denying that sexism or racism exist in our society, and that if anything, the white people were marginalized. Using things like BAME initiatives as his evidence.

By this point, he was sharing “white replacement” memes, and how “free speech” was being shut down all over the place. His biggest buzzword being “Race based Identarianism”.

And what about his previous anti-Tory views? Now, he was a full blown Jacob Rees-Mogg fan and wanted him for PM. He continually posted every conspiracy theory about Corbyn being a terrorist, etc, and now supported hard-right capitalism and considered Socialism the ultimate evil.

He tried to use the Adam Smith Institute to make his point that Adam Smith opposed taxation. Obviously this was nonsense and took a very narrow out of context quote. He had numerous right-wing dark money thinktanks at his fingertips for his talking points.

And whenever you tried to link anything else, it was all “biased” and “full of agenda”. Even fucking Ayn Rand pages were getting shared by him. In 2 years, he had gone from social democrat to full on right-wing free market with zero regulation.

The defending of Trump became part of it, and he has been joining in with bashing the women of colour known as The Squad. An aggressive opposition to Trans rights is now part of his rhetoric. ‘Attack helicopter’ memes and sharing any ‘comedy’ that attacks them as a community.

He also posts how Hong Kong Protesters are vilified by the global left wing, and that they are fighting against socialism.

He posts literally everyone of the right-wing classics, hates everything Sadiq Khan does, hates Hilary Clinton, very Islamaphobic, says “I used to be a feminist, but they’ve gone too far”. All of this shit.

And how did this happen? It wasn’t overnight, but a steady drip feed on Facebook, showing him one group after another that sculpted his views. His subscription to the Telegraph probably didn’t help either.

So, over the course of a few years, I have seen a friend of mine who I saw every week, turn into a far-right person who believes in white replacement, white supremacy and the patriarchy. How many times has this been repeated across the UK and US over the last few years?

Honestly, I see him as a victim here. A victim of a sophisticated propaganda campaign that tapped into his personality and warped it. We know propaganda works, we know the process of radicalization is powerful. It all started with pro-Scandinavian pages as he likes the culture, these then bordered into right-wing racial superiority. The latest big post of theirs is a massive extract from Douglas Murray’s work. You know, the guy Viktor Orban promoted directly because of the ethno-nationalist content. And of course VERY anti-immigrants.🔷

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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 4 September 2019 with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

(Cover: Pixabay.)