That’s a concept from Talia Levin’s new book, Culture Warlords: My Journey Into the Dark Web of White Supremacy, which she expounds on in this interview.
Most people don’t start out waving swastikas. They are being led to this place by “launderers,” people who seem reasonable and who introduce racist ideas subtly, and give people permission to engage in hate that is more socially acceptable. The launderers can be YouTubers and right-wing influencers. They may start out saying there are too many women in Star Wars movies, or that lady Ghostbusters have ruined their childhood. It soon becomes easier and easier for them to say that feminism is harmful garbage that has caused them to be unhappy. From there it’s not a long journey. The slope is greased by people with high production values and a lot of money behind them.
They are not weird toothless masturbators living in their mothers’ basements. Every member of the organized racist movement that I surveilled, spoke to, and catfished was a person — a human being with complexity and dimensionality who has made amoral choices. Their humanity is an integral part of the portrait but it does not absolve them. They make the choice to disseminate evil. It makes them more worthy of condemnation. They have chosen to spread hate and fear. They have chosen to follow an ideology that makes them feel like heroes for hurting people who are already hurt.
Think about it. It’s easy to name a lot of these launderers. They range from talentless goofballs like PewDiePie to nasty lying culture warriors like Ben Shapiro to millionaire establishment spokespeople like Tucker Carlson to corrupt gangsters like Donald Trump. I bet you all can rattle off a long list yourself. All of them deny their racism and white nationalism with varying degrees of believability, and none of them ever face any consequences.