Naming is the origin of all particular things and the medium is the message, so don’t be surprised (as yours truly predicted) at the death-by-branding of the above-ground alt-right, as carefree mockery in the face of conventional cant gives way to perennial fundraising and dead horse-flogging lamentations of unfairness that nobody can seem to stop.
Indeed, the conviction that bloviating is tantamount to resistance is what adolescents have in common with activists, precisely the plush-doll American dream that Occupy Bernie and the alt-right both thought they were rejecting. Onward! The affairs of strangers must be meddled in half-assedly. I’m all for realism (and vigilantism) in the face of swarthy Idiocracy, but…. an “ethnostate”? How very postmodern. Will there be spandex cycling shorts and fair-trade organic light roast for all us “conquerors and crusaders”? And how, exactly, does getting bricks thrown at you by Antifa harm (how does it not help) the plutocracy, the MSM, SPLC, “und so weiter”? I know, I know, Never doubt that a small, full-retard vanguard can change the world, and I wish you the best of luck. (Come at me personally with that febrile Jewology you like to horrify nursing home yentas with on the Forward comments section and I’ll give your plebeian ass a Greco-Roman colonoscopy like my name was Meyer Lansky. But hey, Richard Spencer says it’ll help you get your ideas out there, right?)
On the other hand—and this is what’s so woefully lost on the inveighing punditry as they puzzle over Spencer’s naughtiness—in an era of vaunted victimhood and infantile HR-speak, racism is healthy by comparison (nor is it entirely unhealthy in general.) Fact is, genteel aversion to frankness is a liberal impulse, not a consensus but a cowardice, and it provides far better cover for exploitation and well-heeled debauchery than get-off-my-lawn conservatism ever did. Neofascism is an overdue rejoinder to the empiricist hubris, intellectual courtesanship and mercenary behaviorism of TED Talk America. Unencumbered by race taboos, only the alt-right is putting forward novel analyses of gentrification and income inequality and elucidating the indispensable role of Benetton inclusivity in proliferating soulless corporatism.
These topics are somewhat ancillary, though. What sensible sort could argue that whitey isn’t sorely in need of a wake-up call? But as a political program, the alt-right jumps the shark. It jettisons all couth, all sense of balance, of individual dignity and of when the inclusive impulse is organic and sincere:
I asked [Spencer] whether I, as someone who is half-Chinese but had a classical Western education, would fit within his group… “I’m a generous guy,” he told me. “If you truly identify with our people, I would not have any problem with that.” But there were genetic deal breakers. “A full-blooded African, no matter how wonderful he might be—I’m not sure that would really work.” (Graeme Wood, Atlantic Monthly, June 2017)
How’s that for “freedom of association“? The pompousness here is far worse than the bigotry. It might be half-joking, but it can never be more than half-serious. Spencer’s identitarianism contends with its starting question (“Who are we?”) too brusquely to build anything but contrarianism and dissent upon.
20th century luminaries who flirted with fascism—Celine, DH Lawrence, TS Eliot—are dismissed today as brilliant but troubled gadflies. Symposia and scholarly papers are devoted to gauging the anti-Semitism of Nietzsche or Heidegger without really parsing their big ideas. In the postwar US, we’ve identified ourselves not with heritage or hierarchy but with the vanguard of wild abandon, the Beats, Lenny Bruce, Jim Morrison, gangster rappers and Hollywood mafiosi, many of whom (not incidentally) were astroturfed plants. Where has this led? Altamont, O.D., Henry Hill ratting out Pauly. Hunter S. Thompson’s proverbial “high water mark.” Divorce, illegitimacy, AIDS, pandemic nervous ticks, strange new addictions, and the destruction of the ecosystem in pursuit of personal fulfillment and freedom from societal constraints. Is this not a Dionysian death cult? Really, how much worse is fascism than, say, a liberal intelligentsia that gives sympathetic media coverage to child rape?
But this is the logical cul-de-sac of political liberty, and for anyone with an IQ above 120, the novelty has simply worn off all the system’s diversions. The white negro long ago supplanted the Ugly American with no resulting change of policy; the atom bomb destroyed the world passively. We live in an era when old men pass for youth impresarios, when Hollywood devours every last comic book and historical footnote for lack of fresh ideas and
the vast fatigue…experienced by a generation on which the multitudes of… innovations burst abruptly, imposes on it organic exigencies greatly surpassing its strength. (Max Nordau, Degeneration)
Just look at your average NPI conference attendee: preppy, scrawny, grey-complexioned, pimple-pocked, rocking Brooks Brothers like awkward bar mitzvah boys. They go about preaching Olympian beauty ideals and gabbing about master morality though as dependent moderns they’d be hard-pressed to make more than a pin-prick in the New Colossus’ pinkie toe.
To their credit, the alt-right is the last bastion of true, unco-opted, unadulterated social satire. I mean, what’s less relevant today than SNL? Lately the dominant, left-liberal paradigm begets only humorless ideological directives and “validation,” however oblique, of skin-crawling peccadillos. Like aging pop-stars, Saudi oil-wells and boomer entitlements, the legacy media is an obsolete investment being defended with ever-increasing ruthlessness:
Even its Silicon Valley supersessionist heirs (whom you’d think would display more independence of thought, Lord knows they’ve got the requisite leverage) cling to its mid-20th century ideological commitments. Are they bringing us freedom? Behold the near-totalitarian level of perception-management we’re approaching, thanks to our zombified cooperation with this Zuckerberg, the protagonist from One Hour Photo leapt skin-crawlingly into real life and absolute power, only minus the emotions:
They have seeded and infiltrated nearly every information source and thought trend; they can track your emotions in real time and find you in the remotest wilderness; they’ll use gay pride to ratchet up anti-Russian jingoism and black liberation to help destroy the middle class.
In keeping with this strategy, myriad popular online outlets affect a cutting-edge veneer these days, but a good general rule is that the more lurid and higher-budget the content, the more wholly owned its producers are by the planetary managerial class. The biggest backers of Vice, for instance, are BofA, Disney, George Soros and Rupert Murdoch. This brackish scene deserves the vilest ridicule, the most acerbic satirization, but there’d be no funding for that, for the same reason nobody ever invades Switzerland.
Some of the wittiest, most acerbic shit I’ve ever read in my life was spoken at NPI conferences or published on Radix Journal circa pre-Trump. When the point was to express these ideas (not just expand the audience for them), they were way funnier and more exhilarating. Now that the antiseptic media klieg lights have warmed the alt-right’s obligingly exposed butt cheeks, the fact can’t be concealed that vindictive, half-witted, pathos-laden language is rife on Counter-Currents, Radix, TRS, Red Ice and Occidental, and this humorlessness has diffused throughout the alt-right punchbowl as the imperative to branch out and justify itself overtakes insider ribaldry. How sad to be peddling an ideology of order, hierarchy and opposition to commercial vulgarity in the .25 cents’ admission Imagination Land of new media, only to get mere first world pushback as they traffic in ideologies that really punished thought-crime. Now that they’ve had their fifteen minutes, the leadership will spend the rest of their lives scraping donations, “Remember me? Just ten grand more to meet our goal this season.” Even Milo was doing interesting work as recently as 2015, before his election year transition to full-time attention-whoring. Spencer’s criticisms of him are blissfully un-self-conscious.
The problem with the 2016 NPI conference wasn’t the menace or poor taste of the sieg heils, it was the quivering bunghole that compliments the kind of toast Spencer delivered. I mean, “Children of the Sun”? That’s what the Times is calling a Nuremberg rally? Sounds more like a Maya Angelou quote over a stock photo. Children of the fucking sun, why not “God’s Chosen People”?
The fact that the bourgeois American WASP is a diminutive, emotionally sterile cardboard cutout who might actually have enjoyed deferring this past seventy years to comparatively dysfunctional cultures that have a little more cut-loose panache than his own is as little discussed on the alt-right as Germany’s no-go zones are on MSNBC—though Spencer does acknowledge it, calling it “the white problem.” Of course, to suppose Trump will arrest these developments significantly is pitifully gullible optimism. As Spencer told some pie-faced yenta at Rolling Stone, “I think we’ve leveraged ourselves in an incredible way, but at some point we need to cross the Rubicon and have a footprint.” Translation: OMG, this might even lead to an internship. In a duck costume. At a mall kiosk. For (in the words of the great Marshall McLuhan) when you gaze long enough into the Facebook, the Facebook gazes also into you.