Yet again some smarmy bourgeois nonce in the U.S. cannot distinguish between nihilistic, edgy, imageboard-browsing millennials and Neo-Reactionary intellectuals. Why am I not surprised? Oxymorons such as this are to be found in their shoddy exposition:
…Trump’s hardline on immigration has attracted the white-nationalist, racist element of the neoreactionaires…
Need I explain why this is nonsense? Of course not.
As it has become very evident (see here, here and here), the Alternative Right is changing. I made a little video about the topic (several, actually) wherein I basically said that the overall tone of this network is changing hue; where two years ago, at least to my perspective, the Reactosphere (as it was then more commonly called) on YouTube, centered around Davis Aurini and Millennial Woes in particular, had a very keen, “intellectual” feel to it, it now seems to be casualising and attracting all sorts of dullards and clowns. I am not saying anything new or surprising, as it turns out; other people predicted this. (I am rather new here, to be fair.)
This has happened due to the growing size of the Alt. Right. Most people are not intellectuals, and due to the bottom-up nature of it, with leaderesque figures such as Richard Spencer and Greg Johnson avoiding getting into the nittygritty and excommunicating people (with some exceptions) and trying to essentially privatise the Alt. Right, this leaves the thing open to being very much influenced from the ground-up. This explains why the Alt. Right is much quicker to move with the times, to react to daily news and happenings, and the like; as opposed to Neo-Reaction which exists around a rather fixed ideological reference point.
In a short little scribble earlier this year I touched upon this network we call the “Alternative Right” and some of its component parts, as well as how they interplay. Such peculiarities are becoming increasingly obsolete as the Alt. Right becomes increasingly undefined, or, rather misunderstood.
The Alt. Right is not a movement. It does not have end-goals in mind. It has no manifesto or agreed-upon ideology. It is a loose network of individuals, communities, websites, webzines, thinktanks, and so forth. This is frequently misunderstood; people are increasingly wanting to label the Alt. Right as one specific thing or another, and the most common term thrown-around is “white nationalism.”
In a typically sickly-sweet, pompous, pussied Buzzfeed article, the Alt. Right was described as “white supremacy perfectly tailored for our times: 4chan-esque racist rhetoric combined with a tinge of Silicon Valley–flavored philosophizing, all riding on the coattails of the Trump boom…”;
…[Richard] Spencer himself can claim credit for coining the term “alt right”; in 2010, he founded AlternativeRight.com, which is now RadixJournal. But he says the term has gotten a second life in the past year due to a confluence of external factors. “I think it has a lot to do with Trump,” he said. “I think the refugee crisis is also an inspiration. I just think things have gotten so real.”
The alt right’s targets don’t include just liberals, blacks, Jews, women, Latinos, and Muslims, who are all classified a priori as objects of suspicion. (Though this has not gone unnoticed: “It’s definitely something we’re aware of and tracking,” said Marilyn Mayo, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. “There are more white supremacists who are defining themselves as part of the alt right.”)
The alt right’s real objective, if one can be identified, is to challenge and dismantle mainstream conservatism…
Notice the faux-indifference typical of such spewings; but nonetheless, the last sentence here is what is important because it is total rubbish. The sort within the Alt. Right to enjoy attacking cuckservatives and degenerates might have some ideological underpinnings determining their particular choice of target, but overall, as it is with the internet, it is for the lulz.
Other mainstream voices have tried to pin the Alt. Right down, some with, admittedly, a little more success:
…this amalgam includes neo-reactionaries, monarchists, nativists, populists, and even a few self-declared fascists. They mostly congregate online, with a large swath of blogs and websites dedicated to their concerns. As an example of how truly diverse the alt right is, major and proverbial watering holes for them include everything from Breitbart and the libertarian-leaning Taki Mag to Alternative Right — a blog that openly supports white nationalism…
The reason why it is important to consider how the Alt. Right is being seen by the outside world is because what the outside world will see depends on who is being the loudest. And going by how increasing numbers of outsiders are viewing the Alt. Right, it is not looking good.
It is not all “just a joke”; there are various spheres which comprise the Alt. Right, and some may lean towards irony and the like more than others, of course, but the network in its totality is coming to only represent such spheres. Do not get me wrong, there will always be hardline intellectuals in any community of this sort, but ordinarily they exercise a deal of influence and prevent their community from moving beyond their confines. However, the Alt. Right is growing in size rather exponentially due to the Trump phenomenon and the migrant crisis in Europe, thus it is impossible to maintain a single orthodoxy over the masses of anti-SJW teenagers.
I predict, in time, that due to the lack of a proper orthodoxy, one will be unconsciously established a la the mood of /pol/ and other such places. We will see the Alt-Right — the white nationalist, humorous, post-Enlightenment-derived parts of this ideological network — eventually collapse in upon itself and harden ideologically. This is already happening to a degree with people responding to all sorts, including the abovelinked article at Breitbart to set things straight (in varying ways, mind you). However, the notion of Alt. Right-as-big-tent is not something everyone agrees upon, and in an age of volume equalling truth to the ears and eyes of the masses, misconceptions such as ones already mentioned will increase in their number which further drags the entire network under whatever the hoards of newfriends desire.
This is not itself some lamentable tragedy; those who are doing what they want are not going to just stop because they might be lumped-in with a phenomenon which does not totally reflect them or their particular ideology. Plenty of people will go against the grain, and so they should, but this will not influence many people beyond those who are intellectually-orientated.
So why is it important? Why should anyone care about how these intellectual phenomena behave, change and so forth? Well it has been noted before that what we are all fundamentally doing is twofold; we are firstly looking for self-understanding and purpose in a horizontal and pointless age; and secondly we are forming communities which directly challenge and run counter to the established ideological hegemony in a bid not only to find something better individually, but collectively also. We are all of differing castes and spirits, and will come to our conclusions intellectually and in life in our our own ways. Once a big tent begins to take-on a more concise form, it will naturally begin to shrink in size; and a big tent on the internet requires intelligent regulation in order to remain so, otherwise it will come to be defined by the majority — something which is unavoidable in our hyperfast age of 140-characters and memetics.
What more is there to say on the topic? I have already ranted a bit on my own website on the matter (here and here) and I am confident that more people will emerge in the coming months raising concerns about the direction of the Alt. Right and what it fundamentally is. Getting into ideological kerfuffles about whether or not any changes are “good” or “bad” seems to me to be rather a waste of time — even though I of course have my own biases. As I said to someone who asked me that question, of if the changes as I perceive them are for the better or worse, objectively it is neither good or bad, but for people like me who want to discuss more “intellectual” matters and the like, this change is not really facilitating it. What is more, association is another quirk — there is no use in me being affiliated with people I have little in common with, or to be lumped under a phantom which only exists in the mind of someone who woefully misunderstands the nature of such ideological networks (though, some people within the network do not understand such matters either — as we all know, there is constant debating and the like within this network).
We will see how things pan-out in time.