Jack Buckby’s book Monster of Their Own Making: How the Far Left, the Media and Politicians are Creating Far-Right Extremists came out last April, but I didn’t read it until now.
When I finished it yesterday, I kicked myself for not getting it seven months ago.
Better late than never I imagine.
Fact is, most books and articles written about the Far Right are written by people from organizations solidly on the Far Left. Which, as Buckby puts it in Monster of Their Own Making, “is like asking a vegetarian for their objective views on the best cut of steak. It is utterly farcical.”
When the definition of “Far Right” is determined by groups that view anyone to the right of Mitt Romney as “Far Right,” there can never be a reasonable, honest discussion about it.
Who better to discuss the reasons so many young, working class whites are attracted to the Far Right than someone who, as a young working class lad himself, was drawn to it?
Who better to define precisely what the Far Right is than someone who joined its ranks?
As I mentioned last weekend a guest on MSNBC accused the 55% of white women who voted for Trump in this election of “weaponizing their identity against black men” and “taking an active role in the maintenance of white supremacy.”
Why would anyone take the threat of the Far Right seriously when gormless fools like this MSNBC guest lump 55% of white women into the Far Right?
Is it any wonder that conservatives scoff at the notion that the Far Right even exists?
Is it any wonder so many conservatives feel it necessary to get defensive whenever the topic of Far Right extremism comes up?
But as Buckby explains in Monster of Their Own Making, the Far Right does exist. There are extremists on both the Left and the Right. And to deny that extremism only helps to fuel it.
Buckby uses his own experience to provide the framework in understanding why young working class white men find themselves gravitating toward the Far Right.
As Buckby puts it in the introduction:
This book is the culmination of over a decade of learning and real-world experience in the fringes of right-wing politics. It is my goal to deconstruct the current line of thinking about the far right, offer constructive criticism to those who genuinely oppose political extremism, and provide a unique insight into an issue that has been commandeered by dangerous far-left radicals.
Monster of Their Own Making is an attempt to wrest control of the narrative away from those whose motives for explaining or defining the Far Right are far from constructive and in no way sincere.
From Chapter One: “The Path to Radicalization,” Buckby explains:
When you start with a fundamental misunderstanding of the basics, any conclusion—or even hypothesis—is bound to be riddled with errors and unrepresentative of what is actually true.
Meanwhile, those who truly understand the nature and motivation of the far right are routinely ignored. I am one of those people. For years, I sat by and watched in horror as radical progressives and extremists assumed control over the political extremism narrative, labelling the wrong people “far right” and advocating policies that would only further radicalize young, white, working-class men toward the extreme fringe of right-wing politics.
Everything we’re told about the far right is wrong, and I know because I was in the far right.
Buckby does what nobody else has taken the time to do – namely, he explains what makes the Far Right so appealing to white working class (mostly) young men.
It is, in his words, a three-pronged attack that pushes disenfranchised working class men into the arms of the extremist Right.
This triumvirate, the Left, the media and politicians, have created the perfect storm of circumstances that leaves these young men vulnerable to the appeal from Far Right extremists. Which is why Buckby describes the Far Right as a monster of their own making.
Politicians who abandon the working class in favor of globalist trade deals that ship their jobs overseas. Politicians who unilaterally decide to completely remake working class communities by importing thousands of refugees with little or no regard to the impact it will have on those living there. Or, in our current situation, politicians who lock down their cities or states forcing working class folks to lose their jobs while major, multi-billion-dollar corporations like Amazon and Walmart see a windfall in profits.
When the people who are supposed to represent you aren’t even listening to you, is it any wonder that you would be drawn to someone who is more than happy to lend an ear?
Meanwhile, the media smears and vilifies the working class. The most ham-handed example of this, of course, came this past January when Don Lemon and his two guests went into giggling fits of laughter mocking those stupid, uneducated Trump voters.
But the mockery isn’t nearly as dangerous as the demonization. A teenage boy is smeared as a White Supremacist for uncomfortably smiling while a man bangs a drum in his face. Another teenage boy beset upon by radical Leftists, defends himself and is instantly accused by the media (and politicians) of being a White Supremacist.
Working class folks gather in Lansing, Michigan to protest the draconian lockdowns that were killing their jobs, and the media accused them of being “domestic terrorists” and “white nationalists.” Then two months later after the death of George Floyd, when rioters descended on Minneapolis and began to burn the city to the ground, loot stores and attack police, the same media who called those in Lansing “terrorists” declared the rioters “peaceful protesters.”
This sort of defamation of the working class doesn’t go unnoticed.
As Buckby explains from his own experience:
When the media demonize normal people, at a time when the politicians refuse to represent their interests, they create fertile ground for the far right. It made me even more determined, and it did the same for many others who chose extremism when given the choice between the far right and a media establishment that hated them.
And all of this is compounded by a radical, violent Leftist movement that justifies its violence under the guise of “anti-fascism” or “anti-racism.”
Again, from Monster of Their Own Making:
This, as I will argue throughout the book, is a result of the political center shifting leftwards over a period of decades, combined with a concerted effort by anti-racism groups to inflate their own relevance and importance by creating far-right monsters that don’t exist. Nobody understands what the far right really is because so-called anti-racism organizations across America, the UK, and Europe are attributing the label to people who would have been considered centrists or moderate conservatives just ten years ago. There is a dark political agenda behind the far-right witch hunt that makes the problem extremely difficult to solve, but that’s exactly the point. For as long as everybody who expresses concern about mass immigration is considered far right, there will always be monsters to slay and money for anti-racism groups to continue their important work.
The media, aided by the Far Left, naming everyone to the right of Mitt Romney “Far Right” have only muddied the waters making it harder to identify the actual threat posed by the Far Right. As Buckby explains:
Muddying the waters about far-right extremism is a lucrative industry. It creates well-paying jobs in left-wing think tanks and academia, it allows ideologues to manipulate popular culture, and it makes people with very real concerns keep quiet for fear of being called racist.
All the while, the real far right navigates those muddy waters, hard to distinguish from mainstream conservatives and democratic populists. As long as everyone is a neo-Nazi, it is hard to identify the people who genuinely believe white supremacist and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.
When an entire class of people are being squeezed out of the public square and assigned the most nefarious motives, is it any wonder so many young people would gravitate toward the Far Right? Is it any wonder the Far Right exploits this perfect storm for their own ends?
Monster of Their Own Making is excellent. It is honest, timely, and extremely well crafted.
Buckby does an outstanding job weaving in his own personal experience to outline the problem and explain exactly what the Far Right entails. He also warns conservatives against falling into the trap of denying the existence or danger of a rising extremist Right.
I still find it utterly amazing that there are some people who just flat out deny the existence of the far right just because it means the far left are (sort of) right about something.
Three years ago after the Tiki Torch March of “Unite the Right,” I wrote a column titled “When Idiots March.” I was attacked by those on the Right for calling out these racists. The criticisms I received fell in line with what Buckby describes in Monster of Their Own Making – namely, these are people who are sick and tired of being demonized and vilified. Yes, that’s true. And that is precisely what the Far Right preys on, which is why it is so dangerous. And it would be equally dangerous for us conservatives to not call it out.
What makes Monster of Their Own Making such a significant book isn’t just that it explains the three-pronged attack that radicalizes young white working class men; it also makes the argument that conservatives and center-right populists need to get off the defensive and stop pretending that extremism doesn’t exist on the Right simply because it exists on the Left.
Conservatives can stop taking a defensive position every time an atrocity occurs and start drawing attention to the fact that far-right radicals are being created by the negligence of our politicians, the smearing by the international press, and the extreme policy proposals and street activism of radical progressives.
In doing so, “the right” can redefine what it means to be a nationalist in the face of this ugly far-right extremism. Only in being willing to recognize this problem can they effectively fight back against the smears and the lies told by far-left progressives and reassert the real values of democratic populism and nationalism.
One of the most striking things Buckby points out in Monster of Their Own Making is what he says about the election of Donald Trump. Unlike prevailing media/political opinion that Trump “emboldened” the Far Right, Buckby views Trump’s election quite differently.
Had he lost that election and Hillary Clinton won, the likes of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her “squad” of feminist congressional windbags would have notably more power than they do now. That would have disenfranchised the American working class even further, and who knows what kind of traction neo-Nazis could have gained. Donald Trump is a relief valve—he took that bubbling anger from working class America who were being smeared by the political class, and he took action. He started giving people the change they had been asking for, spoke up for those without a voice, and helped steady the righteous anger from the forgotten people of America. He also fought back against far-left ideologues, though that war is nowhere near over. [Bold emphasis Dianny’s]
Had Trump not done that, the far left would have something real to worry about. A bigger, stronger, angrier class of people who would have had nowhere to turn but the real far right.
When you understand what motivates people to gravitate toward extremism, this observation makes total sense.
As Buckby says of himself:
I never would have joined the BNP [BNP is British National Party. Did I mention Jack Buckby is a Brit? – Dianny] if the politicians had just listened to the very real concerns of working-class people, and I know that most of the young men from my home county who became terrorists would probably have gone on to lead perfectly normal lives too. If only the politicians had done what they were elected to do from the start, which is to represent the people, then the world we know today would be a very different place.
Couple the neglect from elected politicians with the concerted effort from those in the media and Leftist organizations to silence and marginalize anyone on the Right, is it any wonder extremism becomes appealing?
As Buckby explains:
Banning neo-Nazis from Twitter does not stop neo-Nazis from existing, nor does it stop them from recruiting. Stopping the far right from organizing, deplatforming them, and labelling them hate groups does nothing to deter these people. If anything, it motivates them to continue fighting back against the system and even lends credibility to their argument. When you attempt to silence the far right, you give them the evidence they need to claim their message is being silenced because what they say is true.
Boy, that is one hell of an important point.
Truthfully, I could go on quite a bit more about Monster of Their Own Making. I made pages and pages of notes. The book isn’t overly long in the least. Even so, Buckby packs so much valuable information in those pages. His writing style is personable and honest. And when he uses his life story and experience, it is both engaging and compelling.
Frankly, nobody within conservative media has written a book quite like Monster of Their Own Making, which is a shame. Then again, I don’t know if anyone other than Jack Buckby could’ve written it.
Monster of Their Own Making is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, and other retailers.
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