Communism, Fascism, Progressivism, Conservatism, Liberalism, Libertarianism, Nazism. What do all these “isms” mean, where do the Alt-Right and ANTIFAS fit in, and do most Americans have any clue what to make of it all? If you search for political spectrum charts on the Internet, you will find disparity. For example, some place Fascism on the far right while others show it on the far left next to Communism and Socialism. You also might gain an idea of whether or not the chart’s creator was of liberal or conservative persuasion based simply on the positioning of Republicans and Democrats in relation to the middle, or the historical figures used to illustrate terms.
Radicalization and violent extremism are topics of concern that have become much more pronounced in recent years (Sedgwick, 2010), and radicalization can be defined as the development of extremist ideologies and beliefs (Borum, 2011). Many factors influence individuals to turn from nonviolent to violent ideologies, including propaganda on the Internet (Maher, 2007), social networks and communications with other extremists (Sageman, 2004), political leaders and authority figures (Moghaddam, 2005), and intergroup conflict (McCauley & Moskalenko, 2011). Any of these factors individually, or a combination thereof, may contribute as catalysts for heightened radicalization (Bubolz & Simi, 2015).