Sven Longshanks and Billy Roper have a new podcast about my WN 1.0 article.
They’ve been involved in the White Nationalist movement for a long time and have followed the arc of the Alt-Right from 2015 to 2018. Both have some thoughts on this subject in light of past experience. We all agree that the Alt-Right’s lack of coherence has finally caught up with it.
What is the Alt-Right? No one really has a definitive answer. The movement has been called “ill-defined” and a “loose coalition” of groups with disparate tendencies. The closest thing we have to a definitive take on the Alt-Right was the MILO and Allum Bokhari article at Breitbart. There doesn’t appear to be a single book written about the subject by one of its own advocates. Basically, the Alt-Right was just a space on the internet where various people interacted with similar attitudes.
The movement rode the Trump wave to mainstream notoriety in the 2016 election cycle. It was so vague that people as different as Richard Spencer and Mike Cernovich identified with it. In hindsight, this was a strength on the way up and a weakness on the way down. When it became clear that White identity politics wasn’t going to be normalized under the Trump administration, the first wave of enthusiasts who came to be known as the Alt-Lite jumped off the Alt-Right bandwagon.
For a movement that is fundamentally supposed to be about identity, the Alt-Right never really figured out its own identity. Is it just the Donald Trump fan club? No. Is it mainstream conservatism or cultural libertarianism? No. Is it just a euphemism for White Nationalism? No. Is it National Socialism? No. Is it identitarianism? Arguably, but it aspired to be something broader. At some point, the Alt-Right became so fixated on “optics” that whatever remaining solidarity it had disintegrated.
In between the bantz and the memes, I don’t think anyone could ever really say what it was because it had evolved into a kind of post-literate popular culture. There were a few stabs made in this direction. In searching for an answer though, I think many people came to believe that the Alt-Right was fundamentally a brand or a style. The core of the matter was “optics” because the Alt-Right has different “optics” than White Nationalism. There were people like TWP who were ruining the optics.
The Optics Question collided with the Nationalism Question. A race or a nation is an extended family. It isn’t a brand or an optic. By definition, there are people who are “bad optics” who are part of your nation. This isn’t a problem for the völkisch nationalists who are fundamentally motivated by identification with and sympathy for their own people. It became a major problem though for people who are motivated by “optics” who feel no sense of solidarity with other people based on their appearance.
The reason optics spiraling proved to be so devastating to the Alt-Right is because appearances are a highly divisive subject that correlate with class. There are any number of styles which appeal to different sub-cultures within a nation. Morality and shared interest are traditionally the glue that unites a people or a movement but the nihilists in the Alt-Right are visual people who aren’t interested in morality. The movement lacked a well-defined and differentiated source of solidarity.
Some food for thought:
– The Alt-Right needs to focus on more core intellectual work beyond just analyzing the news of the day.
– The Alt-Right needs to create cadres imbued with the ideology.
– The Alt-Right needs to focus much more on morality and far less on aesthetics.
– The Alt-Right needs a temporary ban on optics discussions until we can figure out what the hell is going on and why this faggy shit has overwhelmed everything we are doing.
– The Alt-Right needs to step back from grandiose projects like Taking Back America via the power of flag waving to appeal to normies who aren’t going to give a shit anyway.
– The Alt-Right needs to reflect on recruiting people through bantz, humor, having fun, their seriousness and dedication to the cause and hitching its wagon to any politician.