One of the words that has recently seen a lot of use, but I fear is insufficiently analyzed, is “deradicalization.” On its face, it’s self-evident: It refers to the process of abandoning radical beliefs for more moderate ones and adjusting one’s political direction and activism accordingly.
When we say something is a deradicalization op, we mean that this is an operation by any group of enemies aimed at effecting deradicalization of radical white identitarians and Right-wingers, particularly on the Internet. This only scratches the surface of deradicalization as a social and political phenomenon, however. I will therefore endeavor in the following article to broaden the scope of activities we can accurately describe as deradicalization.
Note that in what follows, I will be using the term radical in the sense of someone who seeks to address the root issues in politics. In this sense, the radical is not an extremist and indeed, a dose of radicalism can be an antidote to extremism, as discussed by Josh Neal in American Extremist. A brief summary of the concept can also be found in this episode of The Writers’ Bloc.
The classic deradicalization scenario involves a young man who is already radical in his views encountering a new influence, whether online or in real life, which poses as friendly, but is in fact primarily concerned with making the young man turn away from radical politics and its associated beliefs and activism. Further, this influence will try to steer him towards politics which are more palatable to the political mainstream and easier to instrumentalize for its power brokers. It necessarily entails leading the young man away from radical politics, which is to say away from a politics which seeks to address the root causes of societal problems, and to turn him towards surface-level politics and which are therefore less effective at addressing root causes.
I want to make clear that this is not another tired rehash of the so-called optics question. In fact, a popular deradicalization tactic is to appeal to optics and presentability when one is in fact attempting to debate issues of ideology rather than of presentation. Optics is about grooming, eloquence, and dressmaking, whereas ideology is ideology, and compromise on ideology for the purpose of gathering a greater mass of people is itself “bad optics,” as the masses can easily smell weakness and lack of confidence. The man who moderates his radicalism in the name of gaining a bigger audience will do nothing but alienate those who already follow him.
Since the deradicalizer seeks to drive the young man away from the radical and into the superficial, he cannot appeal to reason or facts in order to do so. Rather, he must use emotional, often hurtful language in his manipulation. He will (correctly) point out that engaging in radical politics leads to lessened social status for the dissident, and then encourage status anxiety in people so that they may feel emotionally prepared to abandon radical politics altogether. He will alternately use insults — often those popular with the Left, such as “incel,” the indispensable “wignat,” or even some old-school ones like “scum” and “white trash” — and signal his own (often feigned) higher social status.
Deradicalizers will also attempt to gaslight people, making them believe they are political radicals because they are mentally unwell, which often dovetails nicely with the “incel” slur. Lonely young men who are unlucky in love (primarily because they are young and inexperienced with women) are especially vulnerable to this combination of gaslighting and slurs. The deradicalizer here benefits from Leftist hegemony over the culture, which dictates that the worth of a man is measured chiefly by the number of women he’s bedded, and will use the anxiety this false cultural trope engenders, especially in younger men. The deradicalizer is not above outright lies and promoting wishful thinking: in fact, it is one of the most famous deradicalization ops is the QAnon cult, which is built almost entirely on wishful thinking.
When everything else fails, the deradicalizer will fall back to questioning the viability of radical politics, pointing out (correctly) that the vast majority of people are not radicals, and therefore only moderation can reach them. This assumption, of course, puts the cart before the horse and posits a scenario where the radicals — a form of cultural and political vanguard elite — should follow the masses rather than the other way around. Indeed, the success of radical politics comes from being ahead of the curve, of the masses, mainstream thinkers, and activists slowly adopting the positions of the vanguard of some years ago. Many have pointed out that there are a significant number of GOP senatorial and congressional candidates in America whose platform is essentially the Alt Right platform from 2015-2017. Precisely because he has launched a status-anxiety type of attack on the young dissident, however, the deradicalizer blinds him to this state of affairs, because in engendering or encouraging status anxiety in the dissident the deradicalizer has made it impossible for him see himself as part of a dissident elite.
This deception ultimately rests upon an obscuring of the difference between power and status. The deradicalization operatives, especially those which intend to demoralize radicals by slandering them as low in status, will correctly point out that the dissident is the lowest status member of any given system, but will then deceive by obscuring the difference between within-system power, which is derived from within-system status, and power qua power, which derives from material, if not as easily quantified facts such as strength, charisma, wealth, intellect, numbers, influence, courage, conviction, correctness, integrity, and honor.
This is just one part of deradicalization, however. If a dissident is effectively gaslit into believing he is low-status, powerless, stupid, and that radical politics is a dead end, he will not immediately deradicalize but will rather, as the kids like to say, “black-pill” and “seethe and cope” in the dark corners of the Internet. Even in this reduced state, he is still a reservoir of radical thought and action, especially seeing as, contrary to the deradicalizers’ lies, dissidents and radicals in the West tend to be the best of people, those who, like the proverbial Roman guard at Pompeii, will die at their posts because nobody thought to relieve them. Even when black-pilled and depressed beyond belief, radical politics sustains a man because it provides meaning to his existence, and having meaning in the modern world may as well be a super power. To that end, organizations and ideologies must be set up for the demoralized radical to escape into.
I want to clarify that I’m not talking about so-called gatekeepers, i.e. people and organizations which exist to prevent moderates, mainstream thinkers, and activists from coming into radical thought-space. Gatekeepers tend to be quite obvious once you’ve gone through the gate: They’re the ones who told you not to go through. Rather, the deradicalizers are those who are on the other side and are beckoning you to go back, either with the hope of infiltrating and subverting the mainstream or by spreading false ideologies that are meant to defeat, or at least disarm, radical ideologies. The gatekeepers and deradicalizers may nevertheless share rhetoric — both will rail against wignats and question the dissident’s social status — ideological bent, and ultimately, a center which directs activities (from which flow their similarities), or as we say in Macedonia, they both fart into the same pumpkin.
An organization may serve both purposes and wear a different face for different people coming from different directions. For the earnest mainstream activist moving rightward on his quest for the root causes of societal ills, the organization will pose as the be-all, end-all of radicalism. For the disillusioned and gaslit radical, trying to return to the center, it will wear a mask of sanity and that of the cool kids’ club. These organizations will often be infested with so-called edgelords at the top — people who think they’re radical because they can get a shock out of normies when they talk about muscular civic nationalism. As always, bear in mind that such controlled opposition is likelier to be mind-controlled, while not forgetting that bought-and-paid-for opposition also exists.
To conclude our exploration of the deradicalization phenomenon, I’d like to turn your attention to the very successful deradicalization campaign which was effectuated in the Russian Federation against the skinhead, National Socialist, and ethnonationalist groups which sprung up there in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Emboldened by its victories in the Second Chechen War, its cash influx due to record oil prices, and its long sought-after international recognition during the War on Terror, the Putin regime sought to bring the unruly yet healthful instincts of the Russian youth to heel.
In part driven by Maxim Martsinkevich Tesak’s cultural activism, young Russians began organizing themselves into political organizations which were identitarian, ideologically radical Right, and with a strong emphasis on fraternity among their members. In response, the Kremlin regime, which is an authoritarian civic nationalist government, organized a youth organization called Nashi — Nashi means “ours” — which acted to crowd out the Russian ethnic nationalist movement and redirect the Russian youth’s nationalist impulses, their anti-degeneracy impulses, into support for authoritarian civic nationalism — essentially, to co-opt nationalist energies for the center-Right.
All the while, the Kremlin regime acted to hunt down, arrest, and ultimately murder Russian skinheads, National Socialists, and ethnic nationalists, just as Nashi hoovered up all the far Right’s energy. This “antifascist democratic youth movement” posed as edgy Putinists who opposed skinheads, ethnonationalists, liberals, and European-style government in equal measure. They were the Komsomol of the Good Times Russian Federation (2000-2014), linked to the ruling United Russia party, freely dispensing parties and drugs to the youth, and even more importantly, forming a patronage network for the young to enter Russian government positions. Nashi’s carrot was a counterpart of the stick embodied in Article 282 of the Russian criminal code: incitement to racial or ethnic hatred. It was very effective. Many Russian nationalists fled from this combined attack to Ukraine, where they are now fighting against the Kremlin regime as part of the Azov battalion, all while being slandered as Jewish puppets by Russia’s authoritarian multiethnic occupation government and its Western agents and useful idiots.
The ultimate deradicalization danger comes out of an organization or ideology that is similar to what the Alt Lite was, but bereft of that group’s self-destructive impulses. What could have been achieved if Gavin McInnes had had the wherewithal not to sodomize himself with a dildo live on the Internet, if Lauren Southern’s dalliances with Hope Not Hate had not come to the fore, or if Mike Cernovich weren’t a repulsive slime mold with an annoying speech impediment? What if, like Nashi in Putin’s Russia, the controlled opposition was charismatic and competent? I shudder to think. Even as we speak, the enemy organizes pied pipers and attempts to gaslight young men into abandoning dissident politics, encouraging them to lose sight of the core issues of our day: demographic replacement, rule by hostile racial aliens, and collapse of traditional culture and fertility. They’d much rather we fret over the problems’ superficial symptoms and forge a multiethnic coalition against The Latest Excess of Librulism.™ They’ll spread all kinds of lies, including the false notion that Chinese, Mexicans, Indians, and Arabs are somehow “based” because they hate blacks and gays, neglecting to mention that they also deeply resent white men and lust after white women.
Such an organization will manage to peel some people off, but if we are vigilant for such ops and inoculate radicals against their poisonous influence, we can not only mitigate the damage but also emerge stronger from the conflict with such an organization. The first step is steeling yourself against their lies and manipulations. Whenever you find yourself under such a gaslighting attack, remember the mantra: You’re not crazy, you’re not stupid, and you’re not alone.
* * *
Counter-Currents has extended special privileges to those who donate $120 or more per year.
- First, donor comments will appear immediately instead of waiting in a moderation queue. (People who abuse this privilege will lose it.)
- Second, donors will have immediate access to all Counter-Currents posts. Non-donors will find that one post a day, five posts a week will be behind a “paywall” and will be available to the general public after 30 days.
To get full access to all content behind the paywall, sign up here:
Paywall Gift Subscriptions
- your payment
- the recipient’s name
- the recipient’s email address
- your name
- your email address
To register, just fill out this form and we will walk you through the payment and registration process. There are a number of different payment options.
Dark Days for the Kremlin
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 507 The Best Month Ever on The Writers’ Bloc with Anthony Bavaria
Who Is Not Going to Save the Nation?
Gaming for Nationalism
Counter-Currents Radio Podcast No. 506 The Writers’ Bloc with Jim Goad on J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy
Toward a New Political Cosmogony for The Republic
The GOP Deserved to Lose, but Now What?
Why White Nationalists Don’t Want a Red Wave