On Friday, writing for The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg explored how members of the American far right have grown to admire the Taliban's takeover of Afghanistan — and how they seek to learn from their success to wreak havoc of their own.
She cited a number of recent cases, including white supremacist activist Nick Fuentes, who wrote on the end-to-end encrypted messaging app Telegram, "The Taliban is a conservative, religious force, the U.S. is godless and liberal. The defeat of the U.S. government in Afghanistan is unequivocally a positive development"; a pro-Proud Boys account applauding how the Taliban "took back their national religion as law, and executed dissenters"; and even Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeting that the Taliban, like former President Donald Trump, is "more legitimate than the last government in Afghanistan or the current government here."
Meanwhile, she noted, "Fox's Tucker Carlson, the most important nationalist voice in America, seemed to sympathize with the gender politics of Taliban-supporting Afghans. 'They don't hate their own masculinity,' he said shortly after the fall of Kabul. 'They don't think it's toxic. They like the patriarchy. Some of their women like it too. So now they're getting it all back. So maybe it's possible that we failed in Afghanistan because the entire neoliberal program is grotesque.'"
All of this could have devastating consequences, wrote Goldberg, in helping to further radicalize domestic terrorists.
"As for the rest of the pro-Taliban right, the Proud Boys and incels and MAGA splinter factions, some of them are probably just trolling. But as groups like QAnon and the civil war-hungry Boogaloo Bois show, a movement can seem absurd and still be a source of real radicalization," wrote Goldberg. "If there's one lesson of recent American history, it's that there's no such thing as something too ridiculous to be dangerous."
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