Alt Right vs. Alt Wrong:
Notes on the Milo Question
My writing often takes a confessional turn. I have a whole book called Confessions of a Reluctant Hater, for instance. I have also confessed to being a “transphobic.” In fact, I am such a huge transphobic that I had to confess twice.
Today, I want to confess that there are some people in the broad “Alternative Right” that I wish would just go away. Usually it is political. Sometimes it is personal. Sometimes it is both. To be quite specific, I really wish Milo Yiannopoulos would just go away, as I made clear on last week’s episode of Fash the Nation.
Of course, wanting to be rid of people on the Alt Right is hardly unusual. In fact, it is pretty much the norm. For instance, Ramzpaul and Colin Liddell wish the 1488ers would go away, and the 1488ers more than reciprocate. I don’t think this attitude is very constructive, however, which is why I feel guilty for sharing it from time to time.
The question, though, is how, exactly, can the Alt Right “get rid of” or “stop” anyone? After all, the Alt Right is almost entirely a virtual movement, consisting of images and words, both written and spoken. It only occasionally takes the form of organizations with members. And it only occasionally materializes and occupies spaces in the 3-D world, and then only fleetingly, in restaurants and conference centers.
A membership organization needs to worry about “entryism” and can conduct “purges.” But a virtual movement with no clear boundaries between “inside” and “outside” can neither guard itself against entryists nor purge dissenters. All of that is empty talk in a movement in which anyone can become a “member” simply by setting up a forum account, and in which one can become a “leader” simply by starting a website, podcast, or YouTube channel and attracting an audience by steadily producing content.
Sure, you can bar people from membership organizations and meetings. But you can’t bar them from the internet, which is where most of the movement is at. Sure, you can ban accounts. But that is a far cry from a “purge.” Trotsky couldn’t come back with a sock account.
In a movement that consists mostly of ideas, how can we “stop” anyone? Basically, there are three things we can do:
- Offer better ideas
- Troll them
- Ignore them
Offering better ideas is my preferred route. If someone is putting forward bad ideas — false pictures of who we are, false accounts of our plight, false accounts of our enemies, ineffective solutions, etc. — that is definitely a problem. But since we can’t just press a button and drop them into a piranha pool, we have to turn this threat into an opportunity to put forward better ideas in a more persuasive manner. The core of this approach is offering arguments and facts, not mere rhetoric.
In a primarily memetic movement, the question is not one of who is “in” or “out.” It is a question of truth and falsehood, of Alt Right vs. Alt Wrong.
Related to offering better ideas is offering better spokesmen for ideas. If you don’t think x is a good spokesman for White Nationalism, the best solution is to find a better one. Right now, there are very few people who are willing to put their faces out there as spokesmen for our cause, and most of those are over 60. But ask yourself: given the rate of the movement’s growth, will that be the case in 5 years, 2 years, even 1 year from now?
Trolling is the online equivalent of the piranha pool. A well-organized troll campaign can reduce its target to a skeleton in under 30 seconds. Basically, it consists of mockery and bullying, to destroy the target’s reputation and create such a stink that he leaves the room. It is primarily rhetorical, not argumentative. But it has its limits.
First, it only really works on weak people. Most people are weak, of course, but the most problematic people often aren’t.
Second, it often draws an audience to the target, increasing rather than decreasing his influence.
Third, trolling is like poison gas, germ warfare, or the nuclear option. It might destroy the target, but it also poisons the atmosphere and may even kill those who use it. We want our movement to be an oasis in the desert, not a scorched wasteland. A beacon of sanity, not a madhouse. The nucleus for the revival of high-trust European societies, not a nest of paranoia and intrigue. We have to ask ourselves if a culture of trolling is consistent with our long-term goals.
Ignoring our enemies is sometimes the best way to combat them. Every week or so, a trackback shows up in the Counter-Currents comment queue to an article or forum post attacking me. Like every even moderately famous person, I read everything that is written about me. They are never worth responding to, but even if they were, why do it? Usually these blogs have almost no readership. To respond would give them a far bigger audience. It would magnify rather than reduce their influence. Indeed, that might be their motive for attacking in the first place. So dynamic silence is the best strategy. I am in the business of slaying dragons, not swatting flies. But dynamic silence works better with flies than dragons. And sometimes there really are dragons, which brings us back to options 1 and 2.
When Milo first showed up on my radar, I regarded him as an opportunity, not a threat, and I reached out to him. After all, people outside our group can be enemies, allies, or neutrals. We win by raising the number of people fighting for us and reducing the number of people fighting against us. It is almost a tautology to say that a movement only grows by being noticed by people who are outside it. And the fact that Milo is a Jew and a flamboyant homosexual coal-burner actually increases his mainstream credibility in discussing the Alt Right, because obviously he is not a candidate for membership, much less leadership.
Of course, nobody should be surprised that a frankly racist and xenophobic movement should not greet Milo with trust and openness. But I remain dismissive of the fears that Milo can somehow “co-opt” or “subvert” the Alt Right.
As I see it, the purpose of the Alt Right brand and movement is to provide a somewhat ideologically vague umbrella term under which people in various stages of red-pilling can congregate, providing White Nationalists with an audience and milieu in which we can convert people to our way of thinking. The core of the Alt Right is White Nationalism, and the fuzzy periphery consists of potential converts. We need both groups for the process to work.
The only way Milo could “co-opt” or “subvert” that is by creating such a massive influx of half-baked cultural libertarians that we can no longer assimilate them. When you think about it, though, that’s actually a problem I would like to have. But in fact it is not a problem. Because, (1) Milo’s star is waning, and (2) our ability to red-pill and assimilate newcomers has never been greater. So relax, get out there, and straighten these people out. This is what success looks like. Nobody ever told you it would be easy.
I began to sour on Milo after his recent speech, “How to Destroy the Alt Right.” Now, there is a perfectly charitable interpretation of this speech, and much of the criticism of it strikes me as dumb, jaundiced, or dishonest. For instance, some critics obviously never read beyond the title to discover that the only way to defeat the Alt Right is, in effect, to stop being anti-white. Even Milo’s transparently dishonest attempts to minimize the racist and anti-Semitic elements of the Alternative Right (which he has done before) can be seen as an attempt to lower mainstream resistance to us, which is particularly useful given Hillary Clinton’s attempt to use the Alt Right as an anchor to sink the Trump campaign.
But this is where he crosses the line:
The media desperately wants to define the alt-right by the worst 5 percent of its members. They take the genuinely anti-semitic racists — the stormfronters or Stormfags, the 1488ers, the Andrew Auernheimers — and use them to define the whole movement. The left is obsessed by white supremacy, which in reality makes up an infinitesimally small number of people.
This is not just a politic lie, it is a malicious one. And it singles out a friend by name. We are cucks not to hit back. How do we hit back? Obviously, calling him a faggot won’t work. Trolling Milo might be fun, but I doubt that he can be bullycided, and my general reservations about trolling still stand.
The best response to Milo is to offer better ideas. Milo’s apologists counsel against “infighting.” (Is Milo “in”?) Milo, they say, is a valuable “gateway drug.” He’s bait that we can fish for souls with. So don’t attack him.
But the only way Milo will actually function as a gateway to White Nationalism is if we take his audience the rest of the way. And that requires criticism. We have to correct his false statements, expose the superficiality of his worldview, and uphold White Nationalism as the better outlook.
The final straw was when Milo showed up to give a speech in drag. Homosexuals are and will remain part of our racial family and part of our movement. But effeminacy and exhibitionism are gross and dishonorable. Our movement involves a great deal of fun and irony, but at heart it is a serious thing. We believe in values like truth, beauty, purity, and sanctity. Milo is making a mockery of that.
What does Milo have to do, exactly, before his enablers will throw up their hands in disgust? His defenses of male genital mutilation and pedophilia were not, apparently, enough. Does he have to show up with a basket of fruit on his head?
Seeing Milo in drag made me wonder. His defenders point out the people he brings in. But it is impossible to count the people he is keeping away. Our movement has been so marginal for so long that we are desperate for attention. Hence we often embrace and coddle freaks. If we really believe our message, though, then we have to believe that we can change the minds of all of our people, including the best. And we have to wonder if every freak like Milo is repulsing a hundred normal people for every one that he attracts. That’s why I wish he would just go away.
But wishing doesn’t make it so. Neither will arguing. Neither will trolling. Ultimately, the only thing that will make Milo go away is if we find better people to wrench his audience and spotlight away from him. And that’s something we should have been trying to do all along.
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