There is a strange process afoot, which I suspect is easier to describe than to explain. In its most basic form, it goes something like this:
Someone has an online presence, most commonly in the form of a content creator. They describe themselves as rational, skeptic and free-thinking, often with an undertone of anti-authoritarianism. They position themselves in opposition to conservatives on a number of issues, for instance when it comes to the role of religion in politics. Their god-terms (to wit) are science, rationality and skepticism, with the corresponding devil-terms of religion and tradition.
Fast-forward a couple of years, and things have radically changed. While there might be lingering traces of skeptical roots, the overall tone and messaging have changed. If the tone was polemical before, it has now intensified and become increasingly specific. The prior focus on denouncing anti-scientific sentiments has been replaced with denouncing leftist SJW feminists, wherever these may be found. Similarly, the notion of free-thinking has been replaced with what can only be called a liturgy: there is a number of stock phrases that are used almost verbatim by members of the community.
The transition from the one type of person to the other seems contingent to me. Out of all the possible developmental paths things could have taken, this one underwent the formality of actually happening. Things could have been different, but they are not.
The question posed by this state of things is: why? What led these self-awowed critical thinkers to join the relentless chant against the so-called SJWs?
A less obvious question is why those who, today, display interest in the skeptical line of thinking tend to follow the same trajectory as those who did years ago. What compels them to undertake the same journey, even though the present-day discourse bears little resemblance to the source material? What discursive notches are at play?
There is a strange process afoot, which I suspect is easier to describe than to explain. A first step in explaining it is to notice it.