A Twitch streamer has perfectly explained what gamers and streamers can do to help create a voice against the kind of horrific political terrorism that came to America’s Capitol building yesterday.
It’s no secret that the internet has functioned as a hotbed and recruiting area for political extremism, with many young people finding solace in violent ideology as a way of coping with the struggles of modern life.
Twitch streamer DJ Muel has called this phenomenon the “gamer to fascist pipeline” - the process by which young, angry gamers are put into a step-by-step process towards political extremism, and he argues that it’s time for people to fight back against it.
Explaining what happened yesterday and why it matters to Twitch streamers and gamers alike
Yesterday’s violence came as a great shock to many people; it’s no surprise that there are so many emotional outpourings following the horrific attacks on American democracy. DJ Muel took this as an opportunity to educate people about why gamers are often susceptible to these kinds of groups, and to ask people to stand up to them.
The problem which he identified is that many gamers find themselves unhappy with the state of the world and their opportunities within it. As a result, many of these people look for someone who can explain their anger.
This can lead to hotheaded gamers finding streamers, on Twitch or elsewhere, who lean towards more extremist ideologies. This can usually come in the guise of rationality, but ultimately leads towards more violent and more dangerous ideologies over time.
Gamers everywhere fall victim to this kind of process, and oftentimes they can even fail to realize just how normal political violence has become until it’s too late.
How Twitch streamers can help
DJ Muel’s suggestion that Twitch streamers do their part by normalizing political discussions and expose people to less violent, more healthy ideas is an excellent first step. While Muel’s own political leanings are towards the left, it doesn’t take a left leaning perspective to help gamers avoid the trappings of extremism.
Simple things, like exposing Twitch viewers to accurate information, disavowing violence, and pointing out when someone or some group has a reputation for advocating violence, are great ways to help keep viewers aware of the unfortunate risks present on the internet.
Anyone who thinks they might be slipping towards extremism should take a moment and consider what their views are. Any ideology that relies mostly on attacking or blaming a specific group will almost certainly be one to avoid. There are plenty of problems in the world right now, and none of them can be blamed on a single group.
Political engagement is healthy in a democracy, and political discussion is something that should become normalized among a democratic population. Maybe if people were more comfortable sharing ideas, rejecting violence, and discrediting lies and propaganda, even just on Twitch, they wouldn’t have to worry about gamers falling in with violent and aggressive groups.Published 08 Jan 2021, 01:38 IST