In a 2010 post, I wrote about the history of “shirt movements” like the Blackshirts and the Brownshirts, and how these violent thugs drove more moderate associations and leaders from the public square in the 1920s, 30s, and thereafter, allowing Fascist and other totalitarian movements to take power.
Thanks to Twitter and other social media, it is now possible to mount a virtual shirt movement of hundreds of thousands of participants (but usually a much smaller, but very vocal group) to marginalize individuals and one’s political or social opposition.
Since this virtual shirt movement phenomenon is still immature, many individuals are shaken when seemingly thousands of persons virtually gang up on them. However, as this phenomenon does mature and become better understood, we may see a situation in which only virtual reactions involving one million or more participants will be taken seriously, and only if they sustain themselves over time. Universities are especially susceptible to relatively small virtual shirt movements.
Right now, virtual shirt movements seem very powerful. This power may degrade as it is better understood, and as information countermeasures are established.
A virtual shirt movement may seem “fierce,” but these “virtually fierce” ones eventually can be virtually discredited and even ignored as their manipulative efforts are themselves revealed and better understood.
But if virtual shirt movements are taken too seriously and are allowed to succeed, we will see the makings of a new virtual fascism or totalitarianism. One sure harbinger of Fascism is a group of thugs who drive their opposition from the public square, virtually or otherwise.
© Copyright 2016, Albert J. Schorsch, III
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