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Stand Your Ground:
Milo, the Alt-Right, & Mainstream Attention

[1]2,386 words

It is hard not to like Milo Yiannopoulos. Watching him is like watching Firing Line if it were being hosted by Noël Coward. He is unquestionably a witty, bright-eyed, and charming individual. Politically, he inhabits the intellectual space in which White Nationalism and conservatism sometimes overlap. That is to say, he is a vocal opponent of feminism in its most flawed manifestations, opposes Muslim immigration, supports Donald Trump, and so on. And he does so fearlessly. Few reading this will not have taken some small delight in one of his particularly cutting phrases or cool trouncing of some hysterical social justice warrior.

For whites, this is often all that it takes to be welcomed into the fold. As a largely politically voiceless group, whites tend to flock towards anyone who has the courage to speak publicly what they think in the privacy of their own minds or dare to say only to close associates.

The problem with Mr. Yiannopoulos is that he is not white. He is in fact half Jewish — a particularly thorny issue indeed. Despite all we know of history, many whites just cannot help themselves but to embrace anyone who is perceived as being supportive of white interests. At the same time, however, it is pure folly to reject the benefits of a sympathetic voice, especially one with such a large audience, just because he is a member of an out-group.

In the article “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right [2],” co-written by Mr. Yiannopoulos and Allum Bokhari, the authors attempt to explain to Breitbart readers (mainstream conservatives who are slightly farther to the right and more open-minded than the average Republican) exactly what this “Alt-Right” they have been hearing so much about actually stands for and why their Twitter timelines are filled with swastikas and “le happy merchant” memes.

The article, well-written and relatively informative, albeit highly selective in its subject matter, has reawakened a debate within our circles about a subject with which we are all familiar: what contributions, if any, can non-whites make to the Alt-Right? Part of the problem is one of terminology. The controversy surrounding the concept of “allies of color” is, in part, that the term itself suggests a far more intimate working relationship between us and non-whites than White Nationalists feel comfortable having. An alternative phrase — “peripheral agents” — might provide a greater intellectual distance between sympathetic non-whites and White Nationalists while allowing us to more objectively and calmly analyze their impact on the movement and public perception.

If we answer the question of the role of peripheral agents simply by emphatically restating our foundational principle — the creation of sovereign white nations — and take all the ultimate restrictions that such a project will necessitate as a given, we are left to deal with three important issues: first, the question of whether sympathetic publicity is always good publicity, even if emanating from non-white voices; second, the question of how White Nationalists should make use of mainstream coverage; and third, who exactly is it that White Nationalists are seeking to attract (a question that is not quite as simple as one might guess).

It is not necessary to provide a complete synopsis of the article here but a short description of a couple of its elements is required. The authors define the Alt-Right very broadly: they mention a number of well-known contemporary names, including Steve Sailer, Curtis Yarvin (the Jewish neoreactionary better known as Mencius Moldbug), Razib Khan, and Richard Spencer, as well as early luminaries such as Julius Evola, H. L. Mencken, and Oswald Spengler. Included in their genealogy of the Alt-Right are various factions or fields of interest such as the human biodiversity movement, libertarianism, neoreaction, and the manosphere. Even a passing mention of the Nouvelle Droite is made. It is an eclectic mix of ideas but each has in common a disdain for and a rejection of the oppressive and ill-informed world of politically correct pearl-clutchers on both the Left and the mainstream Right. Needless to say, most of those who are reading this will likely already have read the article but, if not, it is worth spending a few minutes perusing it because it will attract newcomers. For this reason, it can be seen as a benefit to the movement. But the fact that it will serve as an introduction for many people makes it that much more crucial for White Nationalists to assert our particular message clearly, loudly, and without compromise.

The head, heart, and muscle of the Alt-Right is White Nationalism, a movement which is not mentioned once in the article. Considering the scope of the piece, this can hardly be construed as anything but deliberate. Without the tools of extra sensory perception, we cannot know for certain precisely why the authors have neglected White Nationalism but, with our understanding of Jewish intellectual movements to guide us, we can surmise that they chose to downplay the influence of radical White Nationalist intellectuals in favor of a more inclusive and socially acceptable collection of thinkers in an effort to secure for themselves a niche in the marketplace and a future for non-white writers. To do such a thing makes perfect sense. The authors cannot be faulted for this. It is not even out of the realm of possibility that they are genuinely sympathetic to White Nationalism in the same way some of us are sympathetic to Hindu Nationalism or various other anti- or postcolonial movements — i.e., as movements consistent with our ideology but within which we can play no part other than that of observers and commentators.

There can be no doubt, for example, that the Indologist Koenraad Elst [3] has had a tremendously positive influence on Hindu Nationalism without pretending to be a Hindu Nationalist. His books are widely read and can certainly be seen as good publicity for that particular movement. Though the situation is not strictly analogous (especially considering the fact that he is not Jewish), in the context of Indian politics and demography, Dr. Elst is a “minority” who has devoted his career to a cause that is not, strictly speaking, his own. There are, of course, numerous other examples of this phenomenon but the point is that it is certainly possible for members of an out-group to aid the cause of an in-group provided that the in-group is firmly and explicitly committed to its own principles and that this is understood by both sides.

If we approach the subject from this point of view, it seems clear that sympathetic publicity arising from anyone is good for the movement (with the above caveats). Good publicity is, of course, any publicity that attracts new people to one’s project, whatever that may be. As Greg Paulson points out in his recent related piece [4] at Counter-Currents, for many millennials, involvement with the various factions of the Alt-Right mentioned above provided their introduction to White Nationalism. He writes: “. . . they started out by simply finding our racial, anti-feminist, and un-PC memes funny (but not taking them seriously), and as time and engagement with our memes progressed, they started taking the legitimacy of our points and eventually embraced our ideas.”

The intellectual paths taken by individuals who end up becoming White Nationalists are probably as diverse as White Nationalists themselves. An in-depth study of this process will surely be undertaken someday, but anecdotal evidence abounds and would suggest that Mr. Paulson is correct. Thus it is important to cast as wide a net as possible. After all, we are attempting to undo many years of philosophical and political corruption, as well as — and most importantly — the suicidal psychological distortions inflicted upon a group of people that make up about 18% of the world’s population. Some will, by nature, respond more slowly than others and to them we must show patience (a task that, admittedly, seems to grow more challenging the longer one has been in the movement). However, as long as we are honest about our goals and refuse to temper our basic message, providing a warm welcome to the curious will benefit us all tremendously.

One of the claims made by the Mr. Yiannopoulos and Mr. Bokhari is that many in the Alt-Right are simply being childishly rebellious and lack any real substance to their arguments. They write, for instance, that some are drawn to the movement because “it promises fun, transgression, and a challenge to social norms they just don’t understand [italics mine].” And later: “Young people . . . are drawn to [the Alt-Right] because it seems fresh, daring and funny, while the doctrines of their parents and grandparents seem unexciting, overly-controlling and overly-serious.” This is doubtless true to some extent. But behind this jocularity is a deadly seriousness that risks getting lost in the “amorphous movement,” as the authors term it, if it is not regularly checked and contextualized. It is the job of the older and/or more learned members of the community to ensure that the young do in fact understand the ideas behind the memes.

Though many have arrived on this side of the political spectrum from a variety of backgrounds and political philosophies, it must be remembered that the core ideas that propelled the Alt-Right onto the pages of Breitbart in the first place were those of White Nationalists. We have gained strength and followers precisely because we do not compromise with our enemies. It should be obvious that there is no reason to start now. It is our honesty about everything that has made the movement a dynamic, cutting-edge, and ultimately unavoidable force in contemporary political discourse. One of our greatest powers is that we know we are right and we can prove it. And we do not back down under pressure. Simply put, White Nationalists are the alpha males of politics and this is, without a doubt, partially what draws people towards us.

The question of who our audience actually is and which segments of the white population are most necessary to attract is one that also needs to be considered in the context of any conversation about publicity and mainstream attention. First and foremost, it must be stated that White Nationalism is neither a rebrand of conservatism nor is it a joke, despite sharing some positions with conservatives and having a uniquely talented number of true comedic talents in our ranks. It is now — and always has been — a radical political movement. We are not looking to restore the collapsing architecture of a system that brought us to this point in the first place. We are trying to create a new and healthy culture in which we freely and without sentimentality discard those ideas that have failed us and have helped to maintain the collective state of white psycho-social submission to Jewish elites. It is absolutely necessary to for us to begin to think exclusively as radicals, using the terms and ideas of radical politics, and to distance ourselves from conservatism with no compunction.

Radical political action is almost always the result of the dissemination of a particular ideology by a cadre of older intellectuals whose ideas, refined and crystallized by years of serious study, find traction with military-aged men, especially those on the younger side of this demographic. These people experience the effects of previous generations’ bungles and missteps in ways that are often more immediate and pressing than they are for older, more secure, and less socially flexible individuals. The young tend not only to be more intellectually open but also more willing to undertake risk and to find delight in spiritually fulfilling thrill-seeking. A movement that is not seen as dangerous in some way is not going to attract these people and will always drift towards stagnation.

One of the fears often expressed at times like this is that of mainstreaming. We are all aware of both recent and historical examples of such behavior and rightly fear it. Who does mainstreaming attract? Primarily those with a heavy stake in the current system, people who believe that a few tweaks in the political climate will restore the stability of decades past, and those who long for a world that has either already passed or never actually existed, i.e., hopeless nostalgists. This is not the stuff of which radical political movements are made. Thus any attempt at mainstreaming our message will alienate the precise demographic that is most necessary for the success of any radical political movement. There must be a space for those entrenched in the system to find common ground with White Nationalists (they most certainly have as much to gain from us as we do from them) but at the same time those with youthful energy and a healthy sense of adventure must not be alienated. The “14/88ers,” despite occasionally being crudely over the top (those whom Greg Johnson has famously termed “vantards [5]“) should be corrected when appropriate and necessary but not to the point of demoralization. None of us need look too far to find sources of frustration and ennui. But this should not come from within our community if it can at all be helped. White Nationalists should be supportive and provide a safe haven for those who are pro-White and are not harming the movement either through stupid behavior or fundamentally misguided ideas.

In sum:

  1. Any publicity that is not explicitly negative should be seen as a boon to the movement — even if it comes from a non-white.
  2. In order to use such publicity most effectively, White Nationalists must be gracious and appreciative without ever straying from our fundamental beliefs or trying to downplay some particular aspect of our ideology in order to trick people into accepting us. This will guarantee that our ideas will be accepted by those ready to accept them and increases the likelihood that we will garner respect, however begrudgingly, from all whom we engage.
  3. Replacing the term “allies of color” by the more neutral (and accurate) “peripheral agents” might go a surprisingly long way in reducing knee-jerk reactions to out-group attention in the future.
  4. Finally, it is crucial to maintain a certain level of tolerance for the young and hot-headed so that they learn and progress as individuals and as activists rather than throwing their hands up into the air and gravitating towards unstable and marginal figures within the movement, thereby wasting their talents and energy pursuing chimeras.