“Radicalization” is an imperfect term, since to many it implies a linear escalation from simply irrational views to dangerously extremist ones. But radicalization is often built out of very real and understandable dissatisfactions. Moreover, isolation can be a strong contributing factor, as can personal uncertainty and political instability — both of which will be widespread in any society facing a rising death rate, extreme unemployment and extensive governmental failures.
And it is my fear, as a researcher of far-right and anti-feminist digital spaces, that continuing mass anxiety and material depression will combine with the contemporary digital landscape in an ugly fashion. As a dramatic post from one misogynist subculture, incels (short for involuntarily celibate), recently put it:
“Normies now feel what we feel all the time. Alone, bored, sad, aimless, horny, empty, desolate, disconnected from the rest of humanity — the endless drone of whining and moaning I’m seeing on the social media timelines is the hellscape we have to endure constantly all the time during ‘normal times’, I can’t help but have a huge dose of schadenfreude over this — welcome to our world normiescum.”