|A calm look at the alt-right
By Daniel M. Ryan
In their "Establishment Conservative's Guide To The Alt-Right", Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopolous are correct in that the bulk of it – the Pépé-the-Frog memes, the "Trump Train" and other excitements – is juvenilia. On these grounds, I've expected something like it to bubble up and rile the elders. Poking the old men is a longstanding tradition amongst youth, and it works on positionality. Whatever grosses out (that is, keeps away) the elders: that's what's up for consideration. When you're doing this, part of you wants to be taken seriously by some out-of-it adult: it's a kind of bet. If you win, you get a big brag story for your peers. If you lose in the sense that you're cracked down upon, you ruefully admit that you've been "busted" and shift back to something closer to normality. But you did try.
Any parent who's wise to this game usually arranges a busted bet in the form of amused disdain. Rather than reacting emotionally, he just chuckles about it and semi-seriously lets the kids have their space. He might take the opportunity to swap stories with his old buds about how they went wild as teenagers.
True, there is an ugly side to the street-level alt-right that's manifested itself in horrid images being sent to Jewish journalists who've explicitly or apparently criticized Donald or Melania Trump. But what's evident, at least at a safe distance, is how small those harassers are. They're like those somewhat unhinged folks who send death threats to celebrities. Their favourite fight tactic is like that of the proverbial bantam rooster: hit 'em with all you've got on the first punch. A big fellow would start off mild, perhaps with amused tolerance at first.
In this sense, the alt-right is just a flashy and unusually provocative part of the Trump Train. The seedier parts are tag-alongs, hoping that the Trump Train rolling ahead of them will make their own paths less difficult. Many of the folks in the squalid part are ambivalent about Trump, seeing him as a useful figure but knowing he is not an ally. They know how disreputable their opinions are, and they do have a residual realism about how far-out they are. Many of them know all too well how far-out they are.
True, a lot of the trouble they cause is and will be shocking. It'll also be transitory. Much like the reaction to Trump's own gaffes, the resultant uproars will be tempests in teapots that'll sweeten the tea of a bunch of (some overage) teenagers. They'll keep playing the game this way until they no longer shock or Captain Katzenjammer and The Inspector show up. Until either, the alt-right party will continue rolling on: it'll go down as another one of 4Chan's big successes.
But there is a definite way in which these folks herald serious, long-term trouble. Whether they instigate or indicate it is not clear yet.
A Quick Look At The Inner Circle
One of the striking features of the alt-right's inner circle is how intellectual they are – and how arty they are. Richard B. Spencer graduated with an arts degree and clearly has a passion for history. Jared Taylor got his bachelor's in philosophy and his master's in international economics. Jack Donovan, the house intellectual on masculinity and manliness, is a fine arts graduate. Although the entire group has a serious interest in Darwinism, there's hardly a scientist among them. The closest they have is Prof. Kevin B. Macdonald, a Professor of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach; he got his tenure when he was a left-liberal. To put it mildly, his theories about the evolutionary psychology of Jewish people are not accepted by the social-science community.
Another striking feature of this group is how thoroughly the inner circle is aware of how disreputable they are. They actually take pride in their marginalization, and it's a deep pride. They've got the Dr. Stockmann act down pat. They deeply believe that the opprobrium heaped upon them is not shameful but honourable: a medal bestowed upon them for being the bearers of shocking truths and deployers of "hate facts." This oppositional pride is deep within their guts; it does suggest the question of how they will react if they burst into semi-respectability.
If there's any rootedness in their intellectual life, other than their passion for Darwinism, it's anthropology. One of Richard B. Spencer's themes is white susceptibility to "pathological altruism." Had he put it in the framework of moral philosophy, his work on this theme would have been an extended riff on Ayn Rand's pronouncement "the worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt." But he grounds it instead in the anthropology of Nordic-type white people, breaking the universality of ethics and making it into something categorically different from Miss Rand's ethical theories. Spenser's version is also politically potent, nascently.
You might already know that the core of the alt-right is Nationalism, with White Nationalism being the preferred variety. Anti-Semitism is optional, but welcome. As such, the inner circle's oppositional pride is fueled by the fact that they're positioned against not only globalism but also political correctness. The latter is supernovaing as I write. An alt-right fellow traveller and plain Nationalist, Vox Day, published a book called SJWs Always Lie in which he dissected their tactics. It's been a brisk seller. As I write, videos that make laughingstocks out of SJWs are piling up in Youtube. If Donald Trump wins the Presidency, there will be a shift to civic nationalism - and the political-correct'ers, once their supernova phase is complete, will burn out and go dormant. I'm sure they'll go down as cyberbullies who cunningly camouflaged their cyberbullying as "hating haters." Replace "evil" with "hatred," and they definitely resemble the protagonist from the Twilight Zone episode "Four O'Clock."
Sam Francis, the late public intellectual who has been posthumously appointed as the alt-right's elder statesman, hit the nail right on the head when he called the anti-racist crew neo-Victorian. Have you heard of the Freud-inspired narrative about the original Victorian age? It says that the suppression of sexual desire led to outright perversions springing up. It's plain to see the similarity between "immorality" and "hatred". Once again, a bunch of busybodies have wound up making things worse. Only an old feller like me can remember the 1970s, when anti-Semitic-ville was almost a ghost down and racism was on the wane and looked to all appearances to be on its way to a well-deserved extinction.
We've Been Down This Road Before - And It Doesn't End Well
There's another tie to the Victorian age, more exactly the immediate post-Victorian age. A long stretch of underlying peace and plenty does induce some intellectuals to take a purportedly scientific look at human aggression and tribalism. This trend did pop up in the late Victorian and Edwardian ages. Inspired by the original Nietzsche and Darwinism, some intellectuals plumped for our darker side: our capacity for tribalism, barbarism and even savagery. These folks formed part of the movement that Joseph Schumpeter called the "Counter-Enlightenment."
Like the manosphere part of the alt-right, those intellectuals were concerned with manliness becoming too tamed and masculinity becoming throttled. In a time where wars were contained and the ruling classes were complacent in their core, this trend seemed fresh and daring. But we know how this revival of masculinity ended up. It didn't end with World War 2, it ended with World War 1 – whose own sorry outcome inflamed a disgusted and embittered pacifism that made Communism semi-respectable and gave Adolf Hitler a lot of breathing room.
One aggravating side of the alt-right is their barbs about their opponents being insufficiently masculine. "Beta male", "white knight", "cuck", and of course "cuckservative." Like other radicals with a teenagerish streak, they (perhaps deliberately) misinterpret slow-to-rise phlegmaticness as effeteness or weakness. Unless they themselves burn out as a fad, they will eventually get the culture to the point where normal men will wake up. They probably won't like what they see as a result. Instead of the political turmoil they hope for, they'll wake up the spirit of war. Given the on-again, off-again War on Terror, it's an easy to guess as to who the enemy will be. The alternative is an all-out war with the up-and-coming China, which would not be unlike the British Empire and its allies going to all-out war against the new contender Imperial Germany.
Politically, they will not succeed with their goals. The best they can hope for is to be co-opted. Had the Left not been suffused with political correctness, it would be a no-brainer for them to rebrand "White Genocide" as "Economic Genocide." Given that they have euchred themselves out of this rebrand, there's a chance that the Republican Party will do the retooling and thus deracialize it. If so, we're in for an unfortunate era of Big-Government Republicanism with a civic-nationalist and somewhat aggressive character. On the plus side, the Republican Party's heart would be occupied by so-called trailer trash in the same way that union members occupied the hard of the Dems from the 1940s to the 1960s. Tariffs and mandatory E-Verify will be the answer to the Davis-Bacon Act and the Wagner Act, and poor white folks of Appalachian stock will have a place reserved for them at the racial-spoils-system dining table. No more than that.
The real danger is war, a popular war that appears to be another World War 2 but ends up becoming another World War 1. If there's any silver lining, it will be in the restoring of the good old-time opprobrium heaped upon our barbaric side – and a long memory of how much trouble is caused by busybodies whose saintly disguise camouflages bullyish aggression. The best silver lining would be our descendent consigning this period as an age where the demos allowed themselves to be governed by bloody fools.
Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is shepherding the independently-run Open Audi Initiative Prediction Market Shadowing Project. He has stubbornly assumed all the responsibility and blame for the workings and outcome of the project.