If you tell people they’re racist for worrying about radical Islam and immigration, you won’t always convince them that all forms of Islam and immigration are good. You might just end up convincing them that racism isn’t as bad as they thought it was. That’s the basic premise of the book Monster of Their Own Making: How the Far Left, the Media, and Politicians are Creating Far-Right Extremists. The author, Jack Buckby, would know — he spent years as a white nationalist before unequivocally renouncing that vile movement. Perhaps someone should alert Wikipedia that he’s gone from a white nationalist to a counter-extremist.
As of Thursday, Buckby’s Wikipedia page mentions neither his book nor his current employment. At least the page no longer calls him a “British far-right activist.”
— Jack Buckby (@jackbuckby) June 25, 2020
The current version describes him as “a British political commentator. He was previously active in a number of far-right groups and campaigns, including the British National Party and Liberty GB. In 2017 he was associated with Anne Marie Waters and her party the For Britain Movement.” The Wikipedia page describes his “far-right” activism, but not his current positions.
In addition to being the author of Monster of Their Own Making, Buckby is a research associate at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a Canadian think tank.
Buckby has pressed Wikipedia to update the page, but the editors have said his work against radicalization is just “not noteworthy.”
“This is what [Wikipedia] editors (activists) say to people debating on my biography. My work exploring radicalisation and opposing political extremism is “not noteworthy” so no new information should be included, and I should be portrayed as far right for the rest of my life,” Buckby tweeted with a screenshot of the discussion about his page.
This is what @Wikipedia editors (activists) say to people debating on my biography.
My work exploring radicalisation and opposing political extremism is "not noteworthy" so no new information should be included, and I should be portrayed as far right for the rest of my life. pic.twitter.com/AkbOBvNPh0
— Jack Buckby (@jackbuckby) June 26, 2020
When Larry Sanger, a co-founder of Wikipedia, solicited the “most prominent names and websites of Wikipedia critics,” Buckby responded, “I’m not prominent but I am a new critic after seeing how they are portraying me on my biography page. It is shocking.”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” Sanger replied.
Yeah, sorry about that.
— Larry Sanger (@lsanger) June 25, 2020
Sanger did offer a piece of advice: “You can go on the talk page of the article about yourself and very very humbly beg permission to defend yourself.”
You can go on the talk page of the article about yourself and very very humbly beg permission to defend yourself.
— Larry Sanger (@lsanger) June 25, 2020
Yet it seems as though the Wikipedia editors in question may harbor a bias against Buckby or against conservatives in general.
While Buckby has renounced the far-right and white nationalism, he still considers himself conservative, and his book explains how the left radicalizes conservatives by falsely branding conservative ideas racist.
Movements like white nationalism consist of “principled fanatics and joiners,” Buckby told Triggernometry. “A joiner is someone who’s devoid of any sort of ideology, it’s someone who’s an outcast, they’re vulnerable, they don’t have much going in their life and looking for community.” He, however, was a “principled fanatic.”
“I joined because I saw real-world problems,” he explained. He listed the horrific Muslim “grooming gangs” that rape Western women in European countries.
“Extremism isn’t created in the void. You see a real problem — grooming gangs, immigration is too high … and you join pretty much anyone who’s willing to talk about it,” Buckby explained.
The cycle of radicalization “starts with negligent politicians” unwilling to discuss the issues, making concerned citizens grow frustrated. Then the media, which “should be a check on the politicians,” start “calling the working-class people racist.”
Then the exasperated citizens go out in the street to get the media to pay attention to their message, and “the far-left activists break your window or something or smash your head with a bike lock.”
“It’s backing you into a corner,” Buckby explained.
This vicious cycle led him to embrace white nationalism and worse, but he said the movement turned on him. He mentioned having family who suffered in the Holocaust, and other white nationalists thought he was Jewish. They were “completely authoritarian about European identity,” he said.
Buckby has worked hard to expose this cycle of radicalization, but Wikipedia continues to focus on his history, rather than his present. The world needs to know how the left’s baseless accusations of racism lead some concerned citizens down a dangerous path.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.