By now, the Groyper War is old news, and I’m just now getting around to writing about it. But there are several reasons for that.
First of all, if you want to make some groyper-related content, you have to be pretty quick on the draw as events have unfolded with such speed that anything you say today might be outdated by tomorrow. One minute, everyone is celebrating Donald Turmp Jr. getting booed off stage at UCLA, and the groypers look unstoppable. But then a couple days later, the narrative shifts as Charlie Kirk scores an upset win in North Carolina. Has the tide been stemmed? Have the groypers run their course? But before you can even think about saying “See? I told you so!” the groypers come back, and next thing you know Charlie Kirk is running from an angry America First mob in Texas.
It happened again a couple weeks ago when Nick Fuentes staged his Groyper Leadership Summit, a milestone for his movement. But by the next day, even that leadership summit was old news and all anyone was talking about was Nick Fuentes’ chance encounter with Ben Shapiro and the pearl-clutching from Conservative Inc it inspired.
The last couple months have been a hell of a ride.
But beyond that, what exactly do you say about Nick Fuentes and the Groyper War? For a Dissident Right commentator, it’s kind of a no-win situation. If you criticize Fuentes and the groypers too harshly, you look like a player hater who is just jealous of Fuentes’ meteoric rise to prominence and the wall-to-wall attention he’s getting. However, you praise Fuentes and the groypers too uncritically, then you look like a bandwagon hopper jumping on the hot new trend in a desperate attempt to stay relevant. But then if you take a nuanced approach, “I think what the groypers are doing is great buuuuuuut . . . ,” well now you’re just nitpicking. You can’t just enjoy the moment? You have to play armchair quarterback with your big-brain takes? So no matter what you say, you’re gonna piss off someone.
But most importantly, I’m a stickler for originality and most of what I would want to say about the Groyper War has already been said by other people. As much has already been written and said about the groypers, you would think that there would be nothing left to say. And yet there is.
Now, I am not saying that there are no valid criticism of Nick Fuentes. There are people whose intelligence and judgment I respect who have serious reservations about Nick Fuentes on a personal level. Basically, they think he’s an asshole, and most of their grievances involve some less-than-diplomatic behavior from Fuentes during the THOT Wars, the Optics Wars, and his split with James Allsup.
Who knows? Maybe he is an asshole. I’m not saying you should let Nick Fuentes bang your little sister. Like I said, I don’t know the guy. Personally, I would not want to have to answer for all the things I said and did at 19. Hell, I wouldn’t want to have to answer for half the things I was still doing at 29. I’m not saying that means Fuentes should get a free pass because he’s young. But I’m just like “Bro, why are you getting that worked up over what a 19-year-old just said? The internet is full of 19-year-olds saying all sorts of annoying shit. Why are you getting so worked up over this one?”
And sometimes assholes have their moments. In an MTV documentary on “white supremacy,” it shows Fuentes going to an anti-gun rally in Chicago wearing a Make America Great Again hat. Fuentes approaches one guy who says he doesn’t want to talk to him because he’s offended by Fuentes’ hat. Fuentes just laughs and says “You’re a fag!” It was a perfectly asshole move, but you know what? It was also the correct move. I would have tried to think of something clever and pithy but that would have been overthinking it. The right move really is to just call the guy a fag and being done with it. Sometimes it takes an asshole to show you that.
And some may have other objections about the groypers on ideological grounds: his focus on Catholicism, his strategic cucking, and some of his strange associations, but I don’t think it is time or place for analyzing what Fuentes is doing wrong. Rather, I’d like to take some time to look at what exactly Fuentes is doing right.
Whatever your opinion of Fuentes, he has undeniably broken new ground. The Alt Right was very good at getting attention and raising brand recognition but not so effective and getting the ideas to a mass audience. The Internet Bloodsports era of early 2018 was when the virus really escaped the lab, and you had hundreds of thousands of blue-pilled normies being exposed Dissident Right ideas for the first time. Nick Fuentes and the groypers have gone even one step further than that by forcing the Conservative Inc establishment to actually respond to those ideas and try to justify some of their most indefensible policies. And if nothing else, we now have some hilarious audio of Ben Shapiro reciting the Cookie Monster joke in that comical voice of his.
And there does seem to be a subset of people who were not receptive to what the “Alt Right” (broadly speaking) was doing but are attracted to Fuentes’ brand of Dissident Rightism. For them, the Alt Right was too hot, and Conservative Inc was too cold, but Fuentes seems to be the Goldilocks: just right. People like Milo, Alex Jones, and Michelle Malkin, people who would never want to be associated with the Spencerian Alt Right, are willing to go to bat for Nick Fuentes.
One might say, in the case of Milo and Jones, that, because of all the deplatforming and censorship they’ve been through, associating with Fuentes is really just a sign of their desperation for relevance and dismal career prospects rather than Fuentes’ skill as a bridge-builder. Maybe there is some truth to that. Maybe three years ago Fuentes would have been too hot for them. But the fact is that there are people in the Dissident Right with audiences as large or larger than Fuentes, and Milo and Jones are not making friends with any of them
Speaking of “those guys,” a lot of them are probably wondering “Why didn’t I think of it first?” Sargon and Faith Goldy showed you can’t turn e-celebrity into electoral success because usually your fanbase is scattered all over the world whereas running for office requires getting a ton of votes in one place. But to do something like the Groyper War, all you need is about a dozen hardcore fans in or around every major city. In the grand scheme of things, that’s really not that high of a bar. Anyone with +20K followers/subscribers/listeners/whatever probably has a dozen fans in every major city, and there was nothing stopping any number of people from doing something like the Groyper War. Fuentes was just the first person to think to mobilize his audience in this way.
Well, there’s slightly more to it than that. One of the reasons Fuentes was able to pull off the Groyper War is because he’s created a brand that normal people are comfortable publicly identifying with. Andrew Anglin has an audience large enough to have organized a Groyper War by himself, but I’m pretty sure Anglin would rather not have his fans going around publicly identifying with the Daily Stormer. You also need hardcore fans. Styxhexenhammer666 has a ton of subscribers, but how many of them are hardcore? Is anyone willing to drive 100 miles and put his reputation on the line for Styx?
Nick Fuentes is a relative newcomer to the Dissident Right, not coming on most people’s radar until mid-2017. But one of the advantages of being a newcomer is that Fuentes was able to learn from the mistakes of those who came before him.
For a while, I was only vaguely aware of Fuentes. I knew he was some 19-year-old kid who was a YouTuber or something who was trying to do something that was sort of Fox News in style but Dissident Right in substance. Still, I was intrigued
I think I watched one show. I was impressed with how polished he was as a performer for his age. He had his shit together a hell of a lot more than I did at 19. He took optics cucking to levels that even I, a man who proudly served under General Vaughn in the Optics War, considered a tad excessive. He dressed like a boomer, and not only did he not use racial slurs, he didn’t even use swear words. He wasn’t the greatest thing I’d ever seen, but for a 19-year-old, I was really impressed.
Beyond that, what Fuentes was trying to do with his approach really hadn’t been tried yet. It was worth a shot, and I was curious to see what would happen. I mean, the opposite had been tried. Milo, Gavin, and various Alt-Lite types had tried to do “Alt-Right in style but Fox News in substance” but not what Fuentes was doing, which was Dissident Right in normie packaging. He was doing normie friendly entry-level content, and I appreciated that he communicated the ideas in a way that was understandable to people of average intelligence and not trying to show off how much Evola he’s read.
Doing entry-level content is unglamorous work, but someone has to do it. Everyone wants to have the hottest, most original, and intellectually impressive takes. Nothing wrong with that, and there is a place for that, but the fact is that we can’t all be talking about Evola. You have to some people out there hammering away at the basics (race and IQ, Jewish power, interracial crime). Yes, we’ve all heard that stuff a million times but there are still people who haven’t so we need people like Fuentes.
While Fuentes’ style and approach may seem obvious in hindsight, in 2017, there were reasons to doubt it would catch on. If someone wanted Fox News, why not just watch Fox News? And if someone wanted edgy politics, there were edgelord podcasts out there doing edgier and more hardcore content.
The Dissident Right was a very different place in 2017, still full to the gills as it was with larpers, edgelords, and wignats. The “Alt-Right” aesthetic and attitude still prevailed, and many of the main figures tried to take on an over-the-top ultra-macho tough-guy persona. Remember Chad Nationalism? You had all these hard-partying faux tough guys walking around, and then this clean-cut Fuentes kid shows up looking like Alex P. Keaton wearing a suit and tie and with this extremely suburban Midwestern accent.
Fuentes’ style was very much against the grain for 2017. By playing it safe, Fuentes was actually taking a gamble because there was no guarantee that there was even an audience for what he was trying to do.
But certain things happened in the Dissident Right that caused the styles and fashions change. The wignats have been purged, larping is now considered cringe, and whole tough-guy shtick has really gone out of fashion. Probably because most people figured out how fake and gay the whole tough-guy shtick is most of the time.
Think of some of the Alt-Right figures who adopted the tough-guy persona.
Where’s tough guy Eli Mosely? The guy who made being a disillusioned war hero central to his public persona was exposed as being a pathological liar who spent the Iraq War shoveling shit in Louisiana (metaphorically speaking).
Where’s tough guy Sacco Vandal, the inventor of the “white sharia” meme? The guy was all like “If you can’t handle the white-hot heat of the white sharia meme, you need to get the fuck out of the way and let the REAL men do the job!” Then what does he do at the first sign of trouble? What does he do at sign of trouble NUMBER FUCKING ONE? He quits the movement. Gee, it’s almost as if once he was in the spotlight, he didn’t want to be associated with his own meme anymore.
And let’s not forget the ultimate Alt-Right tough guy Chris Cantwell. One minute, he’s strutting around showing off his gun collection to Elle Reeve, and the next minute, he’s uploading videos of himself crying and ratting people out to the feds.
My shtick is “racist Oscar Wilde” which is totally not fake and gay. Okay, so it’s a little gay, but it’s not fake. I really am this clever.
Secondly, the Internet Bloodsports craze shifted a lot of the focus of the Dissident Right away from blogs and podcasts and onto YouTube. Before then, there had been little Dissident Right presence on YouTube beyond Millennial Woes, Murdoch Murdoch, and racist parody songs, but suddenly it became important for every content creator to have a YouTube presence.
However, YouTube’s terms of service required everyone to be an optics cuck, which wasn’t as much of a problem for people who were always optics cucks, but it meant that larpers, wignats, and edgelords began losing relevance as YouTube increasingly became the center of the Dissident Right world. And it was in this environment that Fuentes thrived.
Fuentes was at first only pulling in a few hundred live viewers, a tiny blip on the radar compared to Warski Live, Baked Alaska, and Ethan Ralph, who were regularly getting thousands. However, those characters all flamed out and imploded in each their own unique and special way.
Fuentes also did not have guests or a co-host. Like Rush Limbaugh 30 years ago, he was determined to grind out a rep and an audience using nothing but his mind and talent. It takes a certain kind of talent to just riff for 2 to 3 hours straight with no one to bounce your ideas off of. I couldn’t do it, and I’m always impressed by people who can.
Fuentes’ rise was deceptively slow. So slow that at times, you forgot he was even there. But next thing you know, his show surpassed J. F. Garipey in live viewers, then Richard Spencer, before finally pulling ahead of Owen Benjamin to have the biggest Dissident Right livestream on YouTube.
Tactical Cucking and Our Xenus
This came clear to me recently when listening to an “Ask Me Anything” session by the animated comedy team Murdoch Murdoch. I am a fan of Murdoch Murdoch and consider them one of the great treasures of our movement. MM normally have their finger on the pulse on movement, and I usually agree with their takes, but with the release of their episode Fake and Gay (which cast Fuentes as the primary villain), they seemed weirdly out of touch.
In the Ask Me Anything video, the Murdoch Murdoch gang confessed that they had not consumed whole lot of Fuentes’ content (and were also drunk), but still some of their critiques of Fuentes were . . . well, they were dumb. Like they were complaining that Fuentes was not going to the mat for Holocaust denial and was not explicitly calling for the expulsion of all Jews from the United States. Don’t get me wrong. I love these beautiful bastards, but this silly.
Why wasn’t Fuentes explicitly calling for the expulsion of all Jews? Because that’s some Xenu shit.
There are certain beliefs of ours that I like to call “Xenu shit.” Who or what is Xenu? Xenu is a mythic figure at the center of the Church of Scientology’s belief system.
How Scientology works like this. They start out giving you some classes where you learn different memory and mental techniques, and you do some therapy sessions. Seemingly innocent stuff. But then they have you take more advanced and expensive classes. After you do enough of them, you graduate up to a higher Operating Thetan level. Then you take more classes which cost even more money. But then after many years, once you have a certain number of Operating Thetan levels under your belt, they hit you with Xenu.
According to official Scientology doctrine, 75 million years ago there was a Galactic Confederacy led by a tyrannical space alien named Xenu. After learning of a plot to overthrow him, Xenu rounded up billions of people and sent them to Earth on space ships, dropped them into volcanos, and blew them up with atomic weapons. The disembodied souls of these blown up “thetans” were then scooped up and put into a movie theater-type of place where they were brainwashed and implanted with “various misleading data” about God, the devil, and religion. These disembodied souls then became reincarnated as modern humans who still experience trauma as a result of their prehistoric brainwashing.
Crazy stuff. And yet Scientology has an annual revenue of $200 million and over a billion dollars in assets.
But ask yourself: how many people do you think would become Scientologists if they told you about Xenu on the first day? How far would Scientology have gotten if you walked in and they hit you with a bunch of stuff about aliens on Day 1? Sure, some people might still join. After all, David Icke hits you with aliens on Day 1, and he has a following. But then again, David Icke is not worth a billion dollars, nor does he have a slew of beloved celebrity supporters. But most people would run out screaming if they were hit with Xenu on the first day.
“Xenu shit” are ideas that the average uninitiated blue-pilled types just couldn’t handle right away. “Hitler was really the good guy” is some Xenu shit. People need a few red pills in them before they’re ready for that argument. Unless someone already has a penchant for conspiratorial thinking, Holocaust denial is Xenu shit. And, of course, “We’ve got to send all the Jews to Israel” is some Xenu shit.
What made Hailgate such a disaster. Richard Spencer thought it would be a good idea to do the whole “Hitler was really the good guy” bit in front of the entire world. Like “Bro, are you high? What are you doing talking about Xenu in front of the normies! The world isn’t ready for Xenu yet!”
That’s not the point. I know you sincerely believe what you believe. Xenu is indeed a bunch of made-up bullshit, but there’s no reason to believe that the Scientologists themselves don’t sincerely believe it to be true. But even the most deranged and brainwashed Scientologists have enough self-awareness to realize that Xenu sounds crazy to the uninitiated. That’s why Scientology leadership don’t talk about it and will even deny Xenu if pressed.
Someone once told me “Red-pilling people is like defusing a bomb. You have to cut the wires in the right order or the whole thing blows up.” There’s not much sense doing the whole “Hitler was really the good guy” unless people understand the JQ. And there’s no point getting into the JQ with someone if they don’t understand race realism, because without race realism, the JQ is just an issue of assimilation.
Personally, I think the whole “Nazis were really the good guys” is a losing gambit. Goebbels murdered his own children for Pete’s sake. You’re gonna have a tough time convincing normal people that a guy who murdered his children was really the good guy.
“Trav, you’re comparing the Dissident Right to a cult!” Yes, a highly successful cult. Just because Scientology is evil doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from it.
We, the Dissident Right, are ultimately asking people to make sacrifices, sacrifices that most people would rather not make. We’re asking people to sacrifice either their money, social status, or maybe just their free time. Most people would rather not become society’s idea of the ultimate embodiment of evil if they can at all avoid it. Getting someone to see the sense in doing so regardless requires some salesmanship and finesse. And to that end, I think it’s a pretty good idea not to talk about Xenu to the blue-pilled.
When Fuentes says 6 million Jews died in the Holocaust or emphatically denies that he’s White Nationalist, he is essentially avoiding being drawn into a conversation about Xenu. People ain’t ready for Xenu, and that is precisely why the media are trying to get him to talk about it. One of the most effective white advocates is Jared Talyor who doesn’t talk about Jews at all. Taylor is trying to reach blue-pilled types and sticks to the basic talking points about white identity. To that end, the JQ is a little too Xenu for the points he’s trying to get across.
As I said above, Nick Fuentes does entry-level content. The more intellectually curious of his fans who like what they hear will eventually discover more advanced and hardcore stuff and wind up hearing about Xenu. There have been occasions where I’ve recommended a podcast to someone, and then I’ll talk to them a couple months later and they’re halfway through The Culture of Critique. The hard part is getting people to enter the rabbit hole. One inside, they will find their way to the bottom.
And Fuentes is reaching audiences that the Dissident Right was not previously reaching. So even if some of those people never move on to anything more advanced than Fuentes, that’s still a hell of a lot better than being a total normie.
There is a place for the purist and the no-holds-barred approach, but that place is not at the front lines. By “the front lines” I mean engaging with the media and/or the public in IRL settings as Fuentes and Jared Taylor do.
People mock Conservative Inc for treating politics like a gentlemanly game while the Left treats politics as a war of extermination. You often hear people on the Right say “We need to start playing as dirty as the Left! We need to start using their tactics!”
But here’s the thing: being less than fully honest about their true intentions is a tactic that the Left uses, and quite effectively at that. And yet it the one tactic that a lot of our people flat out refuse. Remember in the gay marriage debate when everyone was like “If we legalize gay marriage, it will lead to X!” and then liberals would be like “No one is asking for X! We’re not asking for any special rights! All we want is marriage equality! Swear to God. Cross my heart and hope to die, that’s all we want.”
Then gay marriage is legalized, and not only does it lead to X but also Y and Z. How many people do you think would have supported gay marriage if they knew it would lead to child trannies and Drag Queen Story Hour? Child trannies was one of the Left’s Xenus all along, but they were smart enough not to talk about it until the time was right.
Now you might be saying “But Trav, we shouldn’t have to lie!”
Dude, we shouldn’t have to be doing any of this. We shouldn’t have to be fighting for the survival of our people. We shouldn’t have to be justifying our existence. We are far beyond the realm of what we shouldn’t have to do.
There were other things I wanted to do with my life, but then the Jews forced a meme war on me. Once I got my Meme War draft letter in the mail, I had to put those dreams aside, kiss my sweetheart goodbye, and go fight for the white race.
A lot of people give Fuentes flack for some of the people he associates with. They’re mad that he won’t talk to this or that White Nationalist, but he will hang out with Laura Loomer. They’re mad that he talks with degenerates like Milo, Zionists like Alex Jones, and, strangest of all, is friends with Baked Alaska.
Let me just say that I would not associate with a lot of the people Fuentes associates with, but then again, I’m also not trying to do what Fuentes is trying to do. I’m just a guy with an opinion, and so Greg Johnson is the only person whose good side I need to stay on. (Which is easy. I can’t write articles fast enough for him.) Fuentes, on the other hand, is trying to build a coalition and reach new audiences. That requires some networking and diplomacy. Even Hitler made alliances with moderates on his way to power.
Milo and Alex Jones have massive audiences of unconverted blue-pilled types with a taste for edge, so engaging with them is obviously worth it if it helps them gain access to those audiences.
Baked Alaska is a bit hard to explain as I don’t think he has much of an audience left. Baked is also a degenerate, lowlife, liar, doxer, and buffoon. He is, however, a fairly well-connected buffoon. After all, Baked Alaska was the guy who got Jared Taylor and Tariq Nasheed on the same stream. He also got Andrew Anglin and Sargon together. Ditto Mike Enoch and Laura Loomer. Say what you like about the guy, he has an impressive Rolodex. From a purely Realpolitik perspective, I could see how Fuentes might find an ally like that useful for networking purposes.
As for why Nick Fuentes associates with Jacob Wohl: okay, I’ll admit that I’m stumped on that one.
Being only 21, Nick Fuentes is just now getting started, and so Fuentes haters are going to have to make peace with the fact that he is probably going to be around for a while. As someone who doesn’t drink, use drugs, or chase girls (the downfall of many an e-celeb), he’s unlikely to just self-destruct. I don’t expect him to go on any embarrassing drunken rants about retaking Constantinople, nor do I expect a bitter and psychotic ex-girlfriend to emerge and unload a trove of embarrassing secrets about him. Fuentes seems very aware of where all the landmines and tripwires are and is smart enough to stay clear of them.
However, it will be interesting to see how Fuentes weathers the online censorship he has so far eluded but is almost certainly coming. Fuentes gets an impressive 5-8K live viewers for his YouTube streams. Not bad but consider that at its peak, Ethan Ralph’s Killstream was getting 15-20K live viewers a night, and he’s never fully recovered from his YouTube banning. However, Fuentes seems prepared for the eventuality. In fact, Fuentes regularly gets more live viewers for his DLive streams than he does for his YouTube shows.
He may, however, simply go out of style. That’s how things go in the Dissident Right: people get hot and then cool off; new people come and go. Someday, some new hotshot kid may come along with a better approach who makes Fuentes look stale and old fashioned.
But one thing is for sure: the Groyper War settled the “optics debate” once for all. Even if Fuentes and the groypers end up collapsing into a smoldering pile of rubble like the Alt Right before it, it will not be followed by a wignat revival.
But looking forward to the coming decade I am, as always, curious to see where this is all going.