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Questioning our Unquestionable Assumptions

If we can be patient with our feelings of unease, and learn to question our assumptions, no matter how rigid they have become, and no matter the reverence we feel for the authority figures who taught us these assumptions, then we can transform ourselves and our society.

As prejudice is the foundation of human conflict, understanding how to resolve conflicts within ourselves, rather than on the battlefield, is probably the most important paradigm shift that we can achieve.

By learning to calm our emotional responses to such things as suicide bombings and mass shootings, we can help make our world a much safer place to live.

In recent times, we have been subjected to the War on Terror. It is always dangerous to solidify an abstract concept – to reify thoughts or emotions into concrete realities. Roosevelt said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, but now we are fighting a war against fear, which is the very opposite of Roosevelt’s dictum.

We have been deftly moved from the fear of nuclear annihilation to the fear of terrorism: the fear of fear itself.

This war has led to immense and irrational prejudices against Muslims. The terrorists belong to tiny factions, yet the media continues to call the few militant Wahhabis of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State “Sunnis” (or simply “Muslims”). While the Sunnis make up the majority of Muslims, the fundamentalist Wahhabis represent perhaps one per cent, and most of these do not belong to terrorist factions.

Similarly, only a fraction of Shi’ites – the other major branch of Islam – are involved in terrorist activity. But all of Islam is seen as threatening, through media manipulation or simple ignorance.

After the July 2005 bombing in London, one of my friends insisted that “Muslims” should apologize for this crime. This is like saying that Christians should apologize for the torrent of hate speech that pours out of the Westboro Baptists. However, cognitive dissonance tends towards generalization.

It is only by recognizing our frailty that we can become strong. The unconscious mind is easily directed, and thoughts are easily led. By understanding this, we can improve our ability to learn and strengthen our defenses against manipulation and undue influence which have become commonplace in today’s world.


This post is an excerpt from Jon’s new book, Opening Minds, a primer about undue influence and how the unconscious mind works, a book scheduled for release in the fall of 2019




Cognitive Dissonance, Revisited

Cognitive dissonance is perhaps the most fundamental concept for an understanding of undue influence and coercive control.

Every now and then, a great genius lights up the world and creates a new perspective. Leon Festinger was such a one, and his cognitive dissonance is one of the most important ideas of the last century.

Leon Festinger

New ideas take time to root and are usually ignored or opposed before they can be accepted. Darwin’s natural selection and the acceptance of the unconscious mind are two examples of this.

Festinger’s work has transformed psychology. But still his name had not entered Microsoft’s spell checker, more than 60 years after his profound discovery.

Festinger realized that reason does not necessarily inform our decision-making. Instead, we usually hold on to our beliefs and adapt – or ignore – the facts that conflict with our beliefs. Any conflict between behavior, emotion and thought creates an unpleasant sensation, much like the grating dissonance between two or more inharmonious musical notes. To end this uncomfortable feeling, we will tend to reject the source – even when that source is very hard evidence indeed.

Prejudices are basic to paradigms – sets of beliefs that govern our view of the world. In Ken Burns’ wonderful Jazz documentaries, a white aficionado explains that as a child, at the beginning of the twentieth century, in the Deep South, he was led to believe that black people were inferior to whites and incapable of intelligence.

He suffered overwhelming cognitive dissonance when he first saw Louis Armstrong perform. Armstrong was quite evidently a genius. His creativity was fundamental to the development of jazz and his virtuosity transformed trumpet playing and singing in all genres of popular music.

The young white man understood that he had been fed false information, and was able to resolve the cognitive dissonance by rejecting that information. His ability to change his perspective is a lesson we should all take to heart, because all too often we follow our beliefs instead of the evidence.

There is no doubt that the paradigm shift that ended racial segregation in the United States was accelerated by the genius of black performers. Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, Nina Simone, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Harry Belafonte and a host of others showed that black people could burst with talent.

Incidentally, prejudices against Jews were challenged at the same time, through the likes of Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and the many composers of jazz standards and musicals (most of whom were Jewish). Many of the most talented comedians and classical musicians have also been Jewish.

While idiotic prejudices continue, they are less prevalent and are no longer supported by law, as they were well into the 20th century.


This post is an excerpt from Jon’s new book, Opening Minds – The Secret World of Undue Influence, Coercive Control & Manipulators, scheduled for release in the fall of 2019


The Process of Undue Influence

The process of undue influence follows a predictable series of steps. First comes contact. This will either happen in person or through an advertising approach. It comes in many forms: flyers, posters, mailings, books, media ads and articles are used by authoritarian groups. Many groups use street recruiters, and most have their own publications; some have hired professional advertising agencies to refine their approach.

The Moonies and, more recently, militant Salafi Islamists, will approach college freshmen. Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and Larouchies knock on doors. The Larouchies and JW’s also use obituary columns to target grieving widows and widowers.

Authoritarian groups seek out competent recruits. Anyone with significant physical or mental problems, including drug or alcohol addiction, will be weeded out at the beginning. There may also be certain groups that are not targeted – Scientology avoids homosexuals, journalists, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and disabled people.

People do not join authoritarian groups because they are stupid. No authoritarian group would survive long with dim, ineffectual members. Many are idealists convinced that they are working towards a better world. Studies show that authoritarian group members are often middle-class and fairly well-educated. They have higher than average IQs and perfectly normal personality profiles.

Authoritarian group members do not present with any more emotional or psychiatric problems than the normal population. The same is true of terrorists. Detailed surveys of several terrorist groups have shown that their members have little difference from the general population for mental illness, except for their practice of the anti-social beliefs of the group.


This post is an excerpt from Jon’s new book, Opening Minds – A Primer on Undue Influence, scheduled for release in the fall of 2019

Our Susceptibility to Undue Influence

It is not just the Internet that is rife with scams. Trickery is an aspect of human nature, and it reaches back long before the advent of the world wide web. Indeed, some students of animal behavior say that lying is the first stage in the evolution of intelligence.

Californian jays have been observed pretending to bury food, and then quickly concealing their actual stash, while their rivals scrabble about in the false hiding place.

a confidence trick

a confidence trick

Pride does indeed come before a fall. If there is one lesson that we should all learn, and relearn, as often as necessary, it is that no one is invulnerable to unethical persuasion (undue influence).

Not even those of us who make it our life’s work. Indeed, it is confidence in our invulnerability that makes us so vulnerable.

Despite decades of immersion in the world of hucksters, I, too, can still be charmed, cajoled, and led like a lamb to the slaughter.


This post is an excerpt from Jon’s new book, Opening Minds – A Primer on Undue Influence, scheduled for release in the fall of 2019

How Easy is it to Trick the Brain?

Psychological studies have repeatedly shown how easily rational thinking is bypassed. Our perceptions are limited, and we interpret the meaning of those perceptions automatically. We “fill in” reasons for events that are hard to understand. We focus on what we expect to see, or what we are prepared to see.

This opens the door to sleight of hand tricks by magicians, hypnotists and street con artists, as well as the hocus-pocus of demagogues, whether political or religious in their claims, and recruiters for authoritarian groups who have been manipulated to be true-believers.

In one celebrated experiment, participants are asked to count the number of passes made in a basketball video. Focused on the passes, the majority – about 80% of participants – fail to notice the man in a gorilla suit who walks across the court. This phenomenon is dubbed “inattentional blindness.” It shows how highly selective our normal perception can be.

There is a boundary between what we actually see and what we fill in. If a red card is held at the periphery of vision – the back of an ordinary playing card will do – people are generally surprised that they cannot discern its color, because color vision does not extend to the edge of the visual field. The card can be clearly seen, and once its color is known it will then be seen in the right color.

It is a surprising truth that we all live in a world that is partially imagined. Some part of every perceived reality is actually virtual. This is well-known to stage magicians, whose art depends upon directing the imaginative power of an audience.

Police in Moscow were baffled by a new crime where a grifter requested directions from a stranger before asking for his wallet. About two thirds of people handed over their wallet without reflection. The problem for the police is whether a crime has been committed.

The problem for us all is our inborn compliance with authority: Derren Brown demonstrated this behavior in one of his TV shows (http://derrenbrown.co.uk/). He walked up to a stranger and asked for directions, at the same time urging the stranger to take a bottle of water from him. Brown created confusion by splitting the stranger’s attention. Into that moment of confusion, Brown slipped the request for the subject’s wallet, keys and phone. The victim of this hoax took several steps before the penny dropped. Our attention is far more controllable than we like to believe.

The dream state which exists in the background of the mind is vital to understanding different states of consciousness. In dreams, we do not question the accuracy of our perception, even though objects can change from one moment to the next. A baby becomes a briefcase, with no perplexity on the part of the dreamer.

The sense of judgment is suspended, and we do not even question our nonsensical imaginings. This innocent belief can carry over into the waking state, so that beliefs are asserted as “knowledge” without any need for evidence.

We are bombarded by a constant flow of data, from our environment and from within our own bodies and minds. We can only focus on a fraction of it, so we are never fully aware of everything that does register. This is the simple basis for positive suggestion.

 Confusion, repetition, fixation and mimicry will all bring about hypnotic-like states. The professional hypnotist uses these techniques to control attention and brings about a collaboration where the subject “fills in” the context. This can create experiences that are every bit as believable as dreams. And we live in a world where people are eager to suspend belief.

An interesting video and test to see how the brain works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo&feature=youtu.be


This post is an excerpt from Jon’s new book, Opening Minds – A Primer on Undue Influence, scheduled for release in the fall of 2019


Are You Being Misled Online?

Have you ever been misled online? If so, you are not alone! It’s not easy to discern fact from fiction online, especially for teenagers who grew up with the internet. But help is on the way, thanks to MediaWise https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/ and a three million dollar grant from Google.

What is MediaWise? It’s a groundbreaking digital literacy project designed to teach 1 million teenagers—half from underserved communities—how to sort fact from fiction online by 2020.

Yes, there are actual skills one can learn to become more critical consumers of information online.

While teens are generally regarded as digitally savvy, research from Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) show that the vast majority of teenagers have trouble navigating digital information—whether it’s viral hoaxes on Instagram, misinformation campaigns on Facebook, or sponsored content on news websites.

MediaWise is tackling these issues in three ways:

1. A new curriculum that will be available in fall 2019
2. In-person events at schools nationwide
3. Fact-checking content and outreach via social media

MediaWise also has a great hashtag #isthislegit.

In the meantime, Media Wise reminds all of us that there are three questions we should be asking when we see and read something online:

1. Who is behind the information?
2. What is the evidence
3. What do other sources say?

SOURCE MATERIAL: MediaWise https://www.poynter.org/mediawise/

News: Fake or Real? Try the Scientific Approach

As you scroll through your social media wall you encounter an article someone shares that sends your blood boiling or confirms something you know. This person did what? What’s going to happen? I knew it!
You’ve taken the bait. You read it. You believe it. You share it. You later learn that the information you shared was false or misleading. How frustrating! Especially when you consider that there are those that do report the news accurately who are accused of presenting “fake news.” 
Fake news disguised as real news here, real news accused of being fake news there. What is a person to do? How can we avoid our gut feelings and biases to cloud our judgment? How do we avoid being fooled? 
Researcher Emma Frans has a suggestion. We can think like a scientist. As Emma Frans points out, science offers us tools for “evaluating information in a rational way.” 
The following post, “How to Read the News as a Scientist” is part of TED’s How to Be a Better Human series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from someone in the TED community. The Open Minds Foundation is happy to share this useful and relevant information with its readers:   

Ukraine is Educating Students to Identify Fake News and Propaganda

Learn to Discern – Media Literacy Training

On March 22, 2019, NPR published this article, “Students In Ukraine Learn How To Spot Fake Stories, Propaganda And Hate Speech” in which Sasha Ingber discussed a recent report by the global education organization IREX.

Sasha explains that the report says “students in 8th and 9th grades were better able to identify false information and hate speech after teachers integrated the organization’s media literacy techniques into their lessons.  Students were twice as likely to detect hate speech and 18 percent better at identifying fake news than students who missed out on those lessons, according to the report.”

The Listen to Discern media training program was designed by a group of fact checkers, journalists, and teachers. Teachers wove this training into existing lessons plans which then helped students identify disinformation, propaganda and hate speech.

The IREX report concluded that students that participated “performed better in all media-analysis skills, such as distinguishing facts and opinions, identifying hate speech, and noticing where information had been omitted.”

Need for Educating Adolescents on Fake News and Propaganda

Today, fake news and sophisticated disinformation campaigns are especially problematic. Young people are more likely to get their news through online sources and need training so as to identify propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation.

There has been a surge in fake news and, by design, it is hard to distinguish such counterfeit information from the real thing.

Part of Open Minds’ mission is the targeted education of 12 to 14-year-olds about undue influence, manipulation, and fake news.

Successful programs such as IREX’s Citizen Media Literacy Project – Ukraine (CMLP) should be promoted and copied.

More customized training programs designed to teach individuals at a young age how to identify and examine propaganda, along with critical thinking skills, are needed. These programs work, as seen in the Ukraine.

Additional Resources:

Students In Ukraine Learn How To Spot Fake Stories, Propaganda And Hate Speech

IREX: A global development & education organization

Information and Its Counterfeits: Propaganda, Misinformation and Disinformation

Learn to Discern (L2D) – Media Literacy Training

How Ukrainians are discerning fact from fiction in media


About the author: Read more about Kimberly O’Donnell’s story in the Atlantic


Islamophobia is a form of undue influence that creates a false view by omitting information, using exaggeration and out-and-out deception. Far from the radicalized terrorist that the Islamaphobe paints as all of Islam, the vast majority of Muslims are law-abiding citizens, who are as appalled as anyone else by the extreme activities of Al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS.

On June 27, Lord Pearson of Rannoch stood up in the UK’s House of Lords and said, “Will the government please stop using the word ‘Islamophobia’ because it is surely reasonable and not at all phobic to fear the world’s most violent ideology from which indeed most hate speech comes.”

I am glad to report that Lord Pearson’s request was met with calls of “shame” from the House. Pearson is one of only three peers who have aligned themselves with the anti-European Union UK Independence Party. The upper house of parliament contains 791 peers, so UKIP is in a tiny minority (it has no single member of parliament in the House of Commons).

A fellow peer pointed out Lord Pearson’s close association with Tommy Robinson, leader of the right-wing English Defence League, who was jailed for 13 months this May. It is good to see these politicians refusing to be swayed by Pearson’s fearmongering.

There are grounds for hope: this year I’ve had the good fortune to attend two meetings hosted by the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and to talk with about 70 fellow attendees. I was there to suggest a preventative approach not only to radicalization, but to all forms of manipulation and undue influence – which is the mision of Open Minds.

I was gladdened by the compassionate concern expressed by everyone there. It is worth pointing out that several of the attendees were themselves Muslims active in deradicalizing those tricked into extreme beliefs.While organizations such as RAN and the UK’s Prevent do excellent work in alerting the public to the dangers and the reality of terrorism, they do not focus on the broader psychological education suggested both by the Open Minds Foundation and the International Cultic Studies Association.

I made some comments about the rise in Islamophobia during my last conversation with Chris Shelton. I support those programs which have tried to educate children about the gifts of Islamic civilization to the West over the centuries, and to show the damage caused to that civilization after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the wake of World War One by western nations.

Islamophobia uses the most basic tools of undue influence: it generalizes all Muslims, as if Al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS represented the whole population, and it edits and distorts history to inflame hatred.

To bring a more accurate picture into focus, I have taken a little time to list some of the many gifts made by Islam to the West. I think this informaton should be broadly available to schoolchildren to undermine Islamophobia. I am indebted to Jim Al-Khalili for his BBC series Science and Islam and to Ehsan Masood for the excellent book that accompanied the series.

The Translation Movement that began in Baghdad in the mid-eighth century CE is one of the glories of scholarship and scientific enquiry. The available wisdom of the world was gathered together, translated into Arabic and used to develop science and technology in an unprecedented way.

The discoveries of the Translation Movement came to northern Europe through the Caliphate of Cordoba in Spain and through contact with the Crusaders in the Middle East at the beginning of the second millennium of the Christian Era. Cordoba was the largest city in Europe at this time. It had streetlighting, running water and hospitals that were open to all 24/7.

The Translation Movement brought together all the available learning of the world. No expense was spared and texts poured in from India, from China and from the Byzantine Empire.

Classical Greek texts decried and destroyed by Christian theologians re-introduced the work of Plato and Aristotle. The huge library collected in Baghdad kick-started revolutions in mathematics. Arab scholars refined the Indian system of numbering to give us ‘arab numerals’. This included the number zero, and allowed for complex calculations that had been impossible using the Latin MDCLXVI system. Muslim scholars added the decimal point, algebra, algorithms, and quadratic equations – without which there would be no computing, no AI and no Internet.

Astronomy was transformed by Muslim scientists – including the development of the classical Greek Aristophanes’ argument that the Earth is round – and al-Haitham’s [c.946-1040 CE] Doubts about Ptolemy – long before Copernicus or Galileo. Note also the Arabic names of tens of stars: Aldebaran, Betelgeuse, Altair, Dench, Formalhaut, Rigel among them. Muslims developed the astrolabe and the quadrant, and the established of observatories in the 820s (CE) in both Baghdad and Damascus.

Technological innovations included the water-clock, the crankshaft, cam-operated valves, automatic valves and double-action pumps. Map-making advanced significantly in the Islamic world, too. After Ferdinand and Isabella expelled Muslims to North Africa, some had to be recalled, to maintain the sophisticated irrigation systems they had built.

Developments in medicine were simply stunning. The authority of Galen, the second century Roman, held sway in western European medicine well into the 17th century, it was questioned (in the 9th century, by ibn-Ishaq, and later by al-Razi), tested, refuted and replaced in the more scientifically inclined Muslim world.

Among al-Razi’s books is Why People Prefer Quacks and Charlatans to Skilled Physicians. Al-Razi’s many accomplishments included identifying measles and smallpox accurately (his diagnostic approach was used into the 19th century in the West). He wrote a 23-volume encyclopedia of medicine, and was the first to understand that fever is a protective response. He used scientific experimentation a century before Roger Bacon became the “father of science” by repeating lessons he had learned from scholars living in Islamic countries (some of whom were Jewish or Christian, because they were tolerated as “People of the Book”).

Al-Razi’s work was greatly extended by ibn-Sina – called Avicenna in western Europe, whom I mistakenly identified in my talk with Chris Shelton as the author of the commentary on Aristotle that sparked the founding of Christian Europe’s first universities at Bologna, Paris and Oxford (it was actually Averroes’ commentary).

Ibn-Sina wrote a complete summary of medical knowledge. It was a standard text in Christendom for six centuries, going through 60 editions between 1500 and 1674 alone. He understood that tuberculosis is contagious, that diseases can spread through both soil and water, and that emotions affect health. He also discovered that nerves transmit both pain and muscle signals. He listed 760 medical drugs. He also said that perhaps heaven and hell are states of mind, rather than physical realities.

Al-Zhahrawi, a Spanish Andalucian native who died in 1013 CE was probably the most celebrated surgeon in history up to and for many years beyond his time. He discovered what is now called Kocher’s method for relocating a dislocated shoulder and the Walcher position for easing difficult labors. He developed or perfected many surgical instruments, including forceps for childbirth, tonsillectomy scissors, the abcess knife and many others. He was the first to advocate catgut for surgical sutures (don’t worry, “catgut” is made from many animals, none of them cats!).

The second Caliph, al-Khattabb (581-644) introduced quarantine – it took the Venetians until the 14th century to adopt the practice. In the 9th century, Cordoba – the largest city in Europe – had hospitals that were open 24/7 with separate wards for men and women, which were divided for the mentally ill, for optical complaints and various other ailments. They also had running water and a streetlighting system, along with a sewerage system (so it definitely didn’t smell like most other European cities, where human waste was simply thrown into the streets).

The ibn-Tulun hospital was established in 872 in Egypt. Muslim hospitals found enough benefactors to offer free medical care to the whole community, a thousand years before FDR’s administration suggested the same level of care, and European countries adopted it.

These are just snapshots of the great benefits that flowed freely from the Islamic civilization into the West. The simplistic polarized thinking of Islamophobes is easily refuted, once the evidence is consulted. As ever, we advocate critical thinking and careful examination of the evidence. The creation of a dehumanized enemy is a long-standing method of phobia induction; people often group together instinctively in the face of danger.

Islamophobia doesn’t just induce fear in non-Muslims: it is also exactly what the tiny minority of terrorists promote, so that the majority of peaceful and pro-social Muslims, finding themselves hated and reviled by their neighbors, will be aggravated into joining the ranks of the extremists. We can prevent this radicalization, if we use accurate information and overcome this prejudice.

At Open Minds, we are preparing free online courses that will be both interesting and accessible to adolescents and adults, and will teach the basic characteristics of human predators and their agents, along with the techniques of seduction and recruitment they use. We particularly want to educate youngsters to recognize the manipulative techniques common to all human predators and their groups, no matter which ideology, faith tradition, or philosophy they follow. We welcome your contributions and support for this project.

What do you think about this article? Do you agree? Have you read Jon’s book, Opening Minds? Do you have a story about Islamophobia that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! 


The Human Side of Extremism

It is now exactly one year ago that I was doing research on the Greek island of Corfu into the electorate of the extreme-right, neo-Nazi, and openly racist political party ‘Golden Dawn’. In the shadow of the severe economic crisis that had hit Greece, the Golden Dawn grew to be the third largest political party in the country. During the elections of 2015, around 400,000 people voted for the Golden Dawn, despite its members being explicitly linked to violence, and while most of them were on trial for running a criminal organization. As part of my master’s in social and cultural anthropology, I had set myself the task of finding out how ordinary people on a peaceful island like Corfu could be voting for such an extreme political party, and what impact this had on their lives.

During a period of three months ‘in the field’, I held 21 in-depth interviews with both voters of the Golden Dawn and people with other political affiliations. Aside from these interviews I indulged in ‘participant observation’, a popular research technique among anthropologists, whereby one infiltrates the given group to become familiar with its cultural environment and behavior. As a result, I regularly found myself having a drink in a supermarket-turned bar in one of the mountain villages of the island, where Golden Dawn voters would meet in the evenings. Another spot I frequented was an electronic store whose owners were Golden Dawn voters, and where like-minded people visited them.

In contrast to what I expected before coming to the island, I was welcomed warmly by these people; even though my interviewees found themselves in a severe economic crisis, they always insisted on paying for my coffee or beer. At the time, the friendly relations that started to build up made me slightly uncomfortable. One of my informants would tell me during an interview that violence against immigrants is permissible, as, by his logic, these immigrants are invading his country and violence against them thus counts as “self-defense”. The next day I was happy to greet him on the street. Another informant matter-of-factly told me that Albanians are second-class citizens. A moment later she invited me to dinner.  At the time, I decided to create some distance between myself and my informants.

Now, almost a year has gone by; I have completed my thesis, and have had the time to reflect on my fieldwork in Greece. I have written about the economic, political and humanitarian crises that naturally caused grievance among Greek citizens: between 2009 and the elections of 2015, the unemployment rate passed 25%, and government trust reached an all-time low. Around this time, a new social class was born, dubbed the “newly poor”: hard-working people who ended up jobless with neither health benefits nor faith in the political parties that had governed their country for years.

The rest of my thesis contains personal stories of Golden Dawn voters that illuminate their marginalized position in society, as well as their belief in conspiracy theories that are used to explain the aforementioned crises. The Golden Dawn voters were stigmatized as “dumb” and “narrow-minded” people, with whom any contact should be avoided. In the Golden Dawn, they found a group to which they could belong, readily accepting irrational conspiracy theories that conveniently placed the cause of the different crises far beyond the realm of their own influence.

After giving the problem more thought, I am convinced I should not have tried to create distance between myself and my informants. It is this distance that keeps the feeling of being marginalized alive, while it also reinforces the “echo chamber” these people find themselves in.

Now, of course I’m not saying that we should all befriend a neo-Nazi and simply accept their behavior. However, it’s good to keep in mind that some of these voters are kind and caring people whose situation makes them highly susceptible to the fear-mongering, blaming tactics, easy solutions, and seemingly comprehensible explanations radical groups such as the Golden Dawn – and other extremist groups – have to offer. We need to better understand that in crisis, people will seek any possible life-raft – even a leaky one, like the Golden Dawn.

Editor's Note: While we at OMF value all free expression of opinion, the views expressed by our contributing authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of OMF, its board members, or trustees.

What do you think about this article? Do you agree?  Do you have a story about political extremism that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! 

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