Conspiracy theories have been talked about a lot recently as a key ingredient in the radicalisation of right-wing lone actor (RWLA) terrorists. To some extent, all narratives and ideological propaganda issued by far-right groups is conspiratorial but the qualitative difference between violence and non-violence is an important one. To what extent can conspiratorial narratives alone play a pivotal role in the radicalisation journeys of right-wing lone actor terrorists? What other factors are important for pushing individuals from radical to extremist violent action? And what is peculiar about far-right conspiratorial narratives and their ability to inspire violence? This blog post surveys the existing research on RWLA terrorists and the manifestoes of three crucial case studies (Brenton Tarrant, John Earnest and Patrick Crusius) to determine the extent to which conspiratorial language is crucial in RWLA violence.
The study of conspiratorial language and narratives as a predictor of right-wing violence has experienced a boom in recent years. With a recent rise in far-right terrorist attacks, researchers have turned their interests to spotting the enabling factors in RWLA violence and how conspiracy theories may play a role within the radicalisation process.