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Are you missing out? Fans in the moshpit at a Trivium gig in Finland. Photo: AIJA LEHTONEN/REX SHUTTERSTOCK

All you need is hate: the dangerous pleasures of extremism

Whether you’re a jihadi or a heavy metal fan, a fringe subculture offers dark temptations

For some time, I’ve been dogged by a worrying suspicion: what if the bad guys are having a better time than I am? The world seems to be favouring those who embrace the worst human instincts—racism, sexism, venality, lying and hatred. And for all the resentments that lie behind this kind of politics, there’s also a gleeful joyousness in its expression. The party atmosphere at Donald Trump’s rallies (now on hiatus) is frightening but perhaps envy-inducing. In contrast, the pleasures available to me—a doubt-stricken left-liberal—seem negligible. In a recent column, Anne McElvoy skewered liberals for how “unattractively miserable” they seem when compared to Boris Johnson’s reckless ambition. She had a point.

If this apparent joie de vivre is an attribute of today’s mainstream right (and its equivalents in shriller sections of the left), how much more is it the case for the extremist fringe? In Julia Ebner’s Going…

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