The U.S. response to terrorism, both domestic and transnational, has been rooted in ontological security, meaning that a state will seek to protect and perpetuate its own national identity, resulting in the U.S. government historically overlooking terrorism perpetrated by right-wing groups that aligned with a dominant American national identity.
The number of terror attacks in the U.S. known to be motivated by right-wing ideologies has grown by over 35% in the last 7 years. Peace Science has found that symbolic targets, gender relations, and threats to identity and privilege are more important to motivating right-wing terrorism than objections to policy or material or economic factors.
Context: Often, members of alt-right, white nationalist/supremacy organizations conduct violent acts that are considered isolated incidences and do not carry the
“After recent terrorist attacks, I have witnessed the proliferation of anti-Muslim rhetoric and the rise of right-wing extremist parties…this has led to an atmosphere of fear towards Muslims in countries where they are seen as a separate ethnic group or viewed as foreign.” Populist parties have gained support by capitalizing on concerns over the financial burdens of migration and the belief that migrants engage in crime, take jobs away from nationals, are a threat to national identity, or have religious practices incompatible with modern society.
Symbolic targets and threats to identity privilege are more important to motivating right-wing terrorism than objections to policy or economic factors.