Expert warns America needs 'a Marshall Plan against domestic extremism'
Qanon believers at a rally. (Screenshot)

An expert on radicalization is warning that the political extremism problem in the United States has grown so severe that the country will need some kind of policy to deprogram millions of QAnon believers.

Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies, tells Axios that the United States needs a "Marshall Plan against domestic extremism" to prevent far-right conspiracy theories such as QAnon from doing even more damage to American society.

Koehler's home country of Germany itself underwent a denazification program in the wake of World War II, and he notes that the United States does not have the same decades of experience as many European countries have in rooting out extremist ideologies.

"The spread of extremist conspiracy theories in the United States is the second most dangerous pandemic the country faces right now," he said. "The damage that's been to the U.S. in terms of community and social cohesion will be immense and will be lasting."

However, experts on deradicalization warn that a purely punitive approach to deradicalizing Americans will backfire, as it will only feed into extremists' persecution complex.

Christian Picciolini, a former neo-Nazi leader, tells Axios that he'd like to see the creation of something akin to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, but for people who have fallen down internet conspiracy rabbit holes.

The important thing, he says, is to create an institution "that people recognize, that people trust, that people understand."