A popular, emerging conspiracy theory among the far-right is that protests against President Donald Trump, the alt-right, police violence, and other perceived social problems are not in fact grassroots movements coming together in reaction to issues that concern them. Instead, they are part of something much more sinister.
They argue that these protests use paid actors to cause chaos and create the appearance of a mass opposition to right-wing causes. While accusations of arranged, paid protests are leveled at a fair number of people, no one is blamed more often than George Soros.
So, who is George Soros? In reality, George Soros is a Jewish Hungarian-American billionaire investor who is heavily involved in donating to and funding progressive political causes and organizations. He is functionally a left-liberal equivalent of the Koch Brothers. To conspiracy theorists however, George Soros is the puppet-master behind Black Lives Matter and Antifa.
Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar claimed that Soros had masterminded the violence at the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, and that he was a Nazi collaborator, despite having been born in 1930. George Soros has even been charged by conspiracy theorists Alex Jones and Jack Posobiec with funding the protests by NFL players in order to start a race war… somehow?
To some mainstream conservatives, Soros is the one funding every vaguely left-wing protest. I suppose there is at least a tiny kernel of truth to this. Soros does pour billions of dollars into left-liberal, non-profit organizations every year. But to claim that every left-wing protest is Soros-funded, or that protesters are paid shills, is willfully ignorant.
Charles and David Koch pour billions of dollars into libertarian, conservative non-profit organizations every year, but this doesn’t mean that every right-wing protest is Koch-funded, or that every right-wing protester doesn’t legitimately hold their political beliefs.
Plus, if Soros is really funding the activities of radical left-wingers, then I want to know: where’s my money? I’ve been protesting and agitating for free this entire time, so either my check was lost in the mail, or Soros is just a really bad boss.
The use of George Soros as the grand mastermind of the sinister leftist conspiracy obviously has both its overt and covert anti-Semitic connotations, depending on who’s propagating the conspiracy theory.
But another major part of the Soros conspiracy theory is that it is a deliberate attempt to dismiss the voices of the millions of people who are protesting because of what they believe in without actually addressing the arguments and points that are being made. The intention is to shut down any potential for addressing political issues like white supremacy. Fear-mongering about paid protestors is nothing more than a fallacious “appeal to motive” intended to derail the conversation.