Another very important essay. Please read, comment, and share. — Greg Johnson
Late in 2016, the “Hailgate” incident ignited a furious war of words on the Alt Right, centering on the use of Nazi rhetoric and imagery by people in our movement.
In my view, most people in the Alt Right took the correct line: viewing the incident as a failure, chastising those responsible, but not overreacting and cutting ties with the movement as a whole. Those who did try to distance themselves were wrong: four drunkards doing Nazi salutes in an audience of more than three hundred is pretty damn respectable, especially at a time when “mainstream” heads of state were puffing on Fidel Castro’s dead mass-murdering Commie cigar.
Needless to say, those Hailgate defenders who accused people of “cucking” and “punching to the Right” were also wrong. The reason why the Left dominates cuckservatives is that Leftists see themselves as engaged in a metapolitical war (which, after all, they started), while cuckservatives see their political calling as a polite debate and business opportunity. People engaged in metapolitical war do not sell out their own side to the enemy, but nor do they coddle foolish and self-indulgent people who endanger their own side (this is why, in the first chapter of Rules for Radicals, Jewish subversive Saul Alinsky castigated 1960s Leftist agitators for burning the American flag). No-one who is serious about metapolitical war against the Left could object to the criticism of Hailgate voiced by most of the Alt Right.
My own view on the use of Nazi rhetoric and imagery is strongly negative. Whichever way you look at it, Hitler and the National Socialists are tainted: by the atrocities and massacres that morally besmirched their cause, by their catastrophic defeat, by the fact that most of Europe remembers them as invaders or enemies, and only lastly by the propaganda of the Left that has turned them into an archetypal bogeyman. I suspect that the defenders of Hailgate would rather have a “safe space” for weird and perverted tastes than a metapolitical fighting force, and would rather have the easy catharsis of “Roman salutes” than the harder Roman discipline needed to reconquer the West.
However, I am not interested in rehashing the post-Hailgate disputes, which focused intensely on the motives and personal records of pro-Nazi individuals in the Alt Right. To make a clean break with this, I will make no direct references to such individuals here—still less to allegations against individuals, or to details of individuals’ personal lives.
What I want to do is to take a critical look at the “strategic” arguments for the use of Nazi rhetoric and imagery, of which I first became aware in the aftermath of Hailgate I will say in advance that I consider these arguments to be mere verbal self-justifications. However, for the purposes of criticism, I will treat them as if they were serious and sincere. Having collated them from innumerable comments, articles and memes, I reproduce them as follows:
Nazism is the essence of the Right, as far to the Right as one can go: when you call yourself a Nazi, nothing remains for the Left to call you. While weak-sauce intellectuals think they can get away from this term, the real Alt Right is full-Nazi: the popularity of sites with overt Nazi leanings is much higher than the popularity of sites that oppose Nazism.
The media relies on the smear term “Nazi” to condition the public to reject Alt Right views. By deliberately using over-the-top Nazi imagery, and conflating it with the majority of the Alt Right’s reasonable positions, we can trigger the mainstream media into overusing their smear term and hurling it at people who are obviously nothing of the sort. This makes them look stupid and dishonest and renders their precious smear term meaningless.
The more we use Nazi imagery and rhetoric, and the more the media hysterically reports on it, the more ordinary people become desensitized to this imagery and no longer react violently against it. The deliberately shocking and extreme rhetoric of self-proclaimed Nazis makes everything else on the Right look reasonable by comparison, shifting the “Overton Window” towards the Right. Previously taboo and stigmatized ideas thus find a path to public acceptance.
We might christen this proposal the Kursk Strategy, after the 1943 battle in which Hitler’s armies made the same strategic error that is being advocated here: using inferior forces to attack the strongest-defended and best-prepared part of the enemy front. Let us break it down into its three underlying myths and explain why it can only lead us to defeat.
Myth #1: Nazism is the essence of the Right & the functional core of the Alt Right.
In the Cosmopolitan and Jewish historical narrative, “Nazism” is an essence and an archetype: it is the eternal dark side of Western civilization. The militant Left is seen as the protector against this disease, whose own violent crimes (whether that of the Soviet NKVD or the modern antifa) are invariably “contextualized” as necessary evils that serve to keep the “Nazi” beast down.
This is an almost perfect inversion of the truth, which is that the Left is the disease at the heart of the West—and that its Rightist opponents are invariably defensive reactions, created by modifying the original order so as to meet the new threat. Rightist reactions (Burkean conservatism, the Fascist Uprising, the Alt Right) always postdate the Leftist assaults that gave rise to them (the French Revolution, Communism, modern Cosmopolitanism); and Leftist violence always dwarfs Rightist violence in quantity and intensity, a rule to which Communism and Fascism are no exception.
The Right and the Left are both underpinned by timeless principles (e.g., order as opposed to chaos). But the forms taken by Rightist reactions are always more closely bound to time and place, because they seek to defend a particular order, while their Leftist opponents seek only to reduce it to rubble. This is why the Right suffers so much more than the Left from political necrophilia—the error of confusing empty, defeated, and anachronistic forms for timeless principles—which, in the modern day, generally leads to what we describe as “LARPing.”
So the first error that we see in the sentence “Nazism is the essence of the Right” is necrophilia, the confusion of a dead form with a living essence. The second, more pernicious error, which lies in the word “Nazism” itself, is the application of necrophilia to a distorted bogeyman created by Leftism, Jewish influence, and the Cosmopolitan establishment.
While hyper-sensitive to “lies” about their favorite ideology (many of which are quite true), pro-Nazis are happy to emphasize precisely those elements of Hitler’s movement that are emphasized by the enemy, and to believe that they form a Rightist archetype because the enemy says that they do. In the Kursk Strategy, this dependence on the enemy’s worldview is rationalized through the argument that “when you call yourself a Nazi, nothing remains for the Left to call you.”
The elements of National Socialism (NS) selected for emphasis by the enemy—military expansionism, Nordicist racial supremacism, sub-Nietzschean megalomania, genocide—were mostly conditional to 1930s Germany, the idiosyncrasies of Hitler, and the fighting of the Second World War. These negative phenomena may have been strongly represented in NS, but they are not the “essence” of the Right—nor even of the Fascist Uprising, which was an early attempt to create a Rightist alternative to the “social justice” version of the managerial revolution. Those foolish enough to rattle on about them in the present day are flailing in a trap set by the enemy.
This is not some personal theory of mine. Those who took part in the Fascist Uprising were perfectly capable of distinguishing the conditional from the essential, which is why the various national movements outside Germany formed their own symbols and manifestos without reference to Hitler’s movement (and why Mussolini, for example, castigated NS as “savage barbarism”). After the war, too, European Rightists were not so bowled over by Hitler’s legacy that they could not assess the crimes and failures of NS in a critical way.
So whence comes the “Nazism” we know today—in which the figure of Hitler is idol-worshipped, the symbols and forms of NS are uprooted from their German context and treated as universal, and every German war atrocity must be rationalized away before we can even get around to saving Europe?
For the genesis of this neo-Nazism—or, to sacrifice politeness for accuracy of expression, McNazism—we must look to postwar America rather than 1930s Germany, and to George Lincoln Rockwell rather than Adolf Hitler. The break in filiation is hinted at in the name of Rockwell’s party, the “American Nazi Party”: a comparable name for a Leftist organisation might be “The Commie Party” or “The Reds-under-the-bed.” It was under Rockwell that McNazism acquired its defining qualities: the embrace of the hated Nazi bogeyman as a test of balls, the use of shock imagery to get media attention, the crude and gratuitous use of racial slurs.
Rockwell’s trollish strategy—which he may have begun to abandon by the time he was murdered in 1967—did not work the way he intended, and only had the result of “selling” the Leftist caricature of the last Rightist uprising to credulous people on the Right. By the time I first encountered the nationalist element of the radical Right in the early 2000s, true-believing McNazis had mired it in an ineffectual purity spiral, and the smarter elements within it were doing their best to abandon half a century of swastika-addled failure. This project culminated in Richard Spencer’s founding of the original Alternative Right in 2010—which is why it is such a pernicious lie to say that “Nazism is the core of the Alt Right.”
Yet it is true to say that, around the same time, a more accessible movement in the younger generation turned the old stock of Nazi imagery to the new purpose of internet trolling. This Nazitrolling can be distinguished from McNazism by several factors: its cyberspace format, its insincerity and irony, its younger membership, and—of course—the fact that it succeeds in its aims, be these ever so modest as “triggering shitlibs and cuckservatives on social media.” I find the rhetoric of Nazitrolling distasteful in the extreme, but do not condemn it, because 1) it is not serious and 2) the Left deserves everything it gets.
We must always remember, however, that Nazitrolling is a fairly narrow Rightist reaction (more or less a direct response to SJW hypersensitivity) that depends heavily on several factors: anonymity, Millennial irony, and the structures of the modern internet. Once it crosses the line into serious belief or any amount of real-life LARPing, Nazitrolling reverts back into McNazism, as surely as Cinderella’s ballgown turned back into scullery rags after the stroke of midnight.
Keep this in mind when you see a McNazi pointing to the vast numbers of people attracted to this type of trolling and trying to convince you that he is in command of some massive future human wave. Just as hits on Pornhub do not translate into political support for “Pussyhat Protests,” clicks on Nazitroll websites say nothing about sincerity of pro-Nazi beliefs, or the willingness of large numbers of people to perform the NSLARP Ghost Dance in real life. All that we can say of real-life politics and culture is that, within them, Nazi rhetoric and imagery are still as toxic as ever.
Myth #2: The use of Nazi imagery & rhetoric triggers the media into overstating their position & rendering their own smear terms useless.
This appears superficially plausible, because the FakeNews™ media is indeed descending into visibly ludicrous hysteria, and much of it does concern “Nazis.” But the first thing to understand is that this self-discrediting of the media, and its resulting alienation from the public, is a natural process that can be left to run its course. The more the strictures of political correctness tighten their grip, the more “little Hitlers” are created and smeared by journalistic bigots, and this causes more and more people to tune the media out and resent their constant lies.
While triggering the media is certainly possible, in this favorable situation, we would be very foolish to abandon the principle of “never interrupting your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
One Alt Right figure who appears to enjoy triggering the media is Richard Spencer. His public speeches (e.g., the second minute of this one) have long included vague, ambiguous Nazi-themed references that are liable to be seized upon by a paranoid media but are sure to be greeted with indifference by the general public. If this is indeed a tactic used by Spencer, it is one to be used with caution—witness Hailgate—but we can at least credit it with being reasonably well thought-out.
What we want to do here is to highlight the dissonance between media portrayal and directly observed reality. In the case of Spencer, we want the media to publish ranting denunciations of the “Naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews”; for curious normies to do Google searches on the target’s name; and for said normies to find a soft-spoken and rather anodyne speaker saying perfectly reasonable things about white identity. Opening up little windows of doubt in the dominant narrative and bringing people to small realizations that they have been deceived, is the first step towards getting them to swallow the whacking great red pills in the Alt Right’s arsenal of ideas.
But the Kursk Strategy does not just negate the tactic of triggering the media. In its folly, it also reverses the collapse of public trust in the media, helping out the enemy and making it less likely that normie awakenings will take place as a result of media lies.
Let’s run our little hypothetical scenario again, removing Mr. Spencer, and substituting any old Rockwellian McNazi ranter. The media breathlessly denounces the “Naziwhowantstokillsix-millionjews”; normies do a Google search on the name; and what do they find but someone claiming to be a Nazi and talking about killing Jews. No dissonance between portrayal and reality; ergo, no awakening. Some might want to make an exception for the more blatant sort of Nazitroll irony here; but even in this case, normies attuned to irony will still tend to conclude that the media has good cause to portray things in this way.
This last point, the use of “irony” as a catch-all excuse for Nazi rhetoric and imagery, highlights a fundamental weakness of the Kursk Strategy: its assumption that Rightists can win the metapolitical power of the Left through a blind, indiscriminate, cargo-cult imitation of Leftist ways. This clearly fails to distinguish the vices of power from the means of attaining power. It is like the behavior of a village idiot who spends all his savings on banquets, neglects his work to go hunting in the royal forest, and struts around ordering people about in the belief that he can thereby become a King.
Since the rise of the Millennial generation, and the total self-castration of the cuckservative non-opposition, the Left has comfortably indulged a fashion for “embracing negative stereotypes ironically.” Notable results so far include “I Bathe In Male Tears,” “Die Cis Scum,” and sketches gloating over the prospect of oppressing future white minorities in the West. Although these are, most likely, real expressions of hatred dressed up in a limp justification, the FakeNews™ media churns out excuses for them with the regularity of bowel movements.
So why can’t the Right do the same thing? Because we are not in power, of course! We cannot afford to reopen doors, which we have strived for years to close, to warped and depraved elements on our own side; and we can still less afford to give a pass to sane and reasonable people who feign genocidal hatred as part of a ludicrous “strategy.” It seems that even the Left, with the brainwashing apparatus of the media on its side, can ill afford the “irony” of its spoiled SJW members, as it is rapidly losing its moral hegemony and facing a popular backlash in the West.
Myth #3: The use of Nazi imagery & rhetoric desensitizes the public & pushes the Overton Window to the Right.
According to the theory of the “Overton Window,” the extremist fringe of a political movement is a good thing to have around, because it makes the more reasonable body of opinions in that movement look anodyne by comparison. The pro-Nazis on the Alt Right, then, are supposed to act as a “bad cop” to the rest of the Alt Right’s “good cop.”
The serious mistake made here is, once again, cargo-cult imitation of the Left. The fact is that the Overton window does not move equally for all men, for its movement largely depends on whether or not the media deigns to make a distinction between extremists and moderates.
One group who can usually shift the window are the Leftist “Black Bloc” anarchists. These violent thugs turn up at Leftist protests, smash everything, and next day the media is full of carefully-worded apologias differentiating them from the saintly peaceful liberals at the protests. The Left has long accepted these tactics in the knowledge that they stretch the boundaries of accepted opinion in their favor (while intimidating political opponents, of course).
One group who may or may not be able to shift the window are the Libertarians (who apparently came up with the concept in the first place). Having anarcho-capitalists around may make it easier for cuckservative big-business advocates to push selective “anti-statist” measures, because they can be sure that at least part of the media will support them in this. But the pro-statist wing of the media can, and does, try to scupper this by blurring the extremist-moderate distinction.
One group who cannot move the window are people who sexually molest the underaged. In popular parlance, the term “pedophile” encompasses pedophilia (attraction to children) and ephebophilia (attraction to adolescents below the legal age of consent), a distinction that can be identified with “extremism” versus “moderation.” If the movement of the Overton window was some sort of natural law, we might expect constant media exposure of the horrors of pedophilia to make ephebophiles look respectable in comparison. But because the media, bowing to public disgust, does not deign to make a distinction between the two, what actually happens is that people use pedophilia as a reference point to condemn similar sexual misdeeds in the same way.
Now, muse long and hard on the fact that the FakeNews™ media in the West seems to be considerably friendlier to pedophiles than to us. In light of this, what result does the Alt Right get when it tries to play games with the Overton window? Yes, you’ve guessed it: no distinction is made between the core of our movement and its lunatic fringe, just as no distinction is made between irony and sincerity with us, and every last one of us is parleyed into a de facto “Nazi.”
This is not to say that the Overton window cannot shift in our favor outside the remit of the media, i.e., when normies come to our spaces and find reasonable people living cheek-by-jowl with ranting McNazis. But the media will never let “Nazis” live on their online reservations: once they are confident of being able to link them convincingly to the wider movement, they will always trot them out and use their rhetoric as a reference point to condemn the rest of us. Even if advocates of the Kursk Strategy are convinced by none of the arguments in this piece, they should at least think very carefully about why the enemy really, really, REALLY wants us to be identified as “Nazis.”
Could it have something to do with the “desensitisation of the public” referred to in the Kursk Strategy? Extreme NSLARP rhetoric might desensitize the public to the supposedly “extreme” positions of the Alt Right, but it is also likely to desensitize them to state crackdowns on free speech and resistance, which can now be justified by harking back to the heroic myth of the last war.
We are, after all, not the only ones trying to shift the Overton window. In the face of the populist reaction that is breathing a last flush of defiant life into hollowed-out democratic institutions, certain moves are being made from above to shift the Overton window towards a Committee of Public Safety, which would protect the Cosmopolitan project against the dangers posed by free speech and white majority resistance. Public resistance to this would, of course, be ferocious; but one of the few things capable of splitting and overriding it would be a highly visible uprising of people claiming to be Nazis and appearing to advocate genocide.
If Alt Righters who LARP as Nazis want the rest of us to silence our criticism on the grounds of “not punching to the Right,” then I suggest that they first stop punching for the Left.
And no, this is not an accusation of bad faith directed at individuals (for what it is worth, I find most of such allegations made in the aftermath of Hailgate to be insufficiently convincing). It is true that agents provocateurs would, presumably, adopt the “Nazi” label that our enemies so fervently desire to pin on us. But I do not think that there is much more to the psychology underlying the Kursk Strategy than a form of harsh and angry verbal catharsis, made irresistible by the strong repression of white European speech in almost all aspects of public life.
The problem is that this sort of catharsis, like the shocking statements of well-paid degeneracy-advocates on the Left, comes under the category of the “Liberty of the Slaves.” It is speech that discredits the speaker, marking him as a person without civilized standards, and justifying his unfreedom of action under the managerial regime. Understandably, many of us are fed up with being civilized nowadays; but we must also understand that “racialist Tourette’s Syndrome” is all part of our enemy’s plan. Just as race-replacement policies give rise to the racial hatreds that are then used to justify suppression of white opinion, to give repressed and silenced whites a free hand for violent verbal catharsis on the internet is to give them just enough rope to hang themselves.
Our best defense against this is a good offense: we must forcefully push the Alt Right off the internet reservation and into public life, creating spaces where frank discussion of suppressed truths and opinions are possible, even if these must at first be small, low-key and even secret.
The pro-Nazi brigade will, of course, try to follow us; and the enemy will, of course, give maximum publicity to their antics. And this is why—for all that I have said here—I want to make it clear to those of like mind that we should never, ever, apologize to Leftist scum on account of pro-Nazi rhetoric within the Alt Right, however unhinged it may be. Simply attack, attack, and attack—pointing out the hate and violence of the Left and the Cosmopolitan establishment, as well as the fact that they have created the racial divisions that they are now using to increase their power—and keep your honest opinions on NSLARP stupidity for those who do not question you with hostile intent.
Hopefully, over time, the psychological need for verbal catharsis will itself become obsolete—which means that self-justifications like the Kursk Strategy will also vanish like the mirages they are.
Even the Military Sees Middle Americans as Nazis
Hollywood & the Nazis, Part One: We’re All Jews & Germans
Wilhelm Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism
Valhalla, not Elysion: My Friendship with Savitri Devi
Thomas Rohkrämer’s Martin Heidegger: A Political Biography
Agrarian Populism & Cargo Cult Fascism
With Brasillach in Spain & Germany: Remembering Robert Brasillach (March 31, 1909 – February 6, 1945)
Michael Kellogg’s The Russian Roots of Nazism