On SchadenfreudeSpencer J. Quinn
As counterintuitive as it may sound, doxing and schadenfreude spring from the same root — and that is the countenance of enemy action. While the former is active and entails stripping away an ally’s protection against enemy attack, the latter is passive and entails celebrating an enemy attack without having caused it.
Doxing and schadenfreude have other obvious differences, of course. The victims of doxing are typically allies; this is not necessarily so with schadenfreude. Also, while doxing usually results in a net loss for whichever side of a struggle does it, schadenfreude merely results in lost opportunities. (For argument’s sake, we are limiting schadenfreude to the public expression of pleasure or satisfaction when the enemy attacks its own, and are excluding acts of God — so stomach cancer, car crashes, and stepped-on rakes don’t qualify.)
Both doxing and schadenfreude are bad, and those of us on the dissident Right should avoid it except in exceedingly rare cases. For example, an ally who is about to go on a murderous rampage or who engages in serious criminal activity should be doxed. Moral and legal reasons aside, the movement would be stronger without such people. As for schadenfreude, some are so far beyond redemption that the appropriate thing to do is to revel in their misfortune. For example, if morbidly corpulent propagandist Michael Moore were to lose his career after getting #metoo’d, or if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were to get smacked in the face by a Black Lives Matter rioter, they should be celebrated.
These exceptions aside, most on the dissident Right don’t need to be told why doxing is a morally corrupt and counterproductive practice. But schadenfreude? It’s a hard sell to tell people why they shouldn’t feel good about an enemy’s misfortune — but I’m going to try.
I will start by dividing non-allies into three camps:
- Enemies beyond redemption
- Enemies who can be redeemed
While feeling gratification upon the misfortune of those in the first category is appropriate and natural, rejoicing in the misfortune of people in the third would be perverse and repulsive regardless of their political outlooks. Would the mass-murder of those six people in Waukesha last year be any less tragic and outrageous if the victims watched CNN nightly or voted for Barack Obama in 2012?
It’s with the second category where things get tricky. How much public empathy should we express when the Left turns on its own rank-and-file? Why should we express any empathy at all? And how do we define who is beyond redemption and who isn’t?
I addressed this issue tangentially in my recent essay “TERF Wars” and a year ago in “On the Murder of Sam Collington.” In both cases the Left ate its own, which raises the issue of how we on the Dissident Right should publicly react. The latter case entails a popular undergraduate who was murdered by a black thug in Philadelphia. Collington not only was a committed Left-wing activist who supported Black Lives Matter, but he also supported Jewish District Attorney Larry Krasner’s lenient attitude on black crime. The irony here is impossible to miss.
In the former case, several black-clad transsexual antifa (whom I call “trantifa”) attacked a group of feminist activists who were holding a silent protest in Oakland, California against the possible transfer of convicted murderer Dana Rivers, a man who identifies as a woman, into a women’s prison. The trantifa stole their banner, pelted them with eggs and pies, and slammed into them with a bicycle before running off.
While researching these essays and afterwards, I noticed quite a bit of schadenfreude coming from the dissident Right, the prevailing attitude being that since the victims were on the Left, they deserved what they got. And while most expressing this schadenfreude saw these instances as an opportunity to have some fun and express their Rightist rectitude, I saw them as missed opportunities to grow the dissident Right brand.
In both cases the victims may not have been beyond redemption. Of course, we have no way of knowing, but resorting to this kind of schadenfreude right out of the gate assumes that category two above doesn’t even exist.
Is that accurate? Do we know for certain that ordinary, activist-minded people on the Left will never learn from their mistakes? I concede that such people make up the minority of everyone on the Left, but is biting our tongues a little bit at their misfortune too steep a price to pay for potentially shifting these people rightward? Refraining from public displays of schadenfreude costs us nothing but a little discipline. So why are we not doing it? Is a fleeting sense of satisfaction really worth ignoring the bigger picture?
And speaking of bigger pictures, there two things we should all consider. First, victory in these cases comes in two flavors — one a lot richer than the other, but both inherently good. By our classy behavior, either we peel some of these people away from the Left and into the vast hinterland of political neutrality, or we do that and attract people into one of the various camps on the Right. Of course, expanding the brand should never entail lowering standards, so only a minority of this minority will ever find its way to the dissident Right. But we should always remember that any rightward shift, no matter how small or glacial, is a win.
Secondly, we should zoom out and realize that these instances involve a lot more people than the unfortunate principals populating news stories and social media posts. Both Collington and the feminist protestors have family, friends, colleagues, and more distant well-wishers who are also reading these news stories and social media posts. What do they think about all this schadenfreude? Nobody likes smelling anyone else’s farts, but that’s essentially what they are being forced to do when they see sneering Rightists high-fiving each other over their moral and ideological vindication.
Yes, the Right is morally and ideologically superior to the Left. Yes, Rightist thought is more congruent with human nature and the biological realities of race and sex than Leftist thought is. But none of this is obvious to the uninitiated. And when we act like smug assholes about it, we tend to repel more people than we attract. That, my friends, is a recipe for losing.
Here is a graphic, adjusted from my Collington essay, to illustrate my point. When any ideology eats its own for the sake of ideology, we should call it “Dogmaboros.”
Remember the movie Glengarry Glen Ross? Remember what the Alec Baldwin character says to his cadre of salesmen? ABC: Always Be Closing. How many timeshares in that delightful property in Arizona do you think he could sell if he laughed at the misfortune of the people he was trying to sell them to? We have to always be mindful of expanding the brand, and in that we are salesmen. Until that terrible moment when we are forced to pick up arms to defend our convictions, we remain salesmen. Therefore, why not be good salesmen?
Who knows? Maybe someone who attends Black Lives Matters rallies will read a classy Rightist take on the Collington murder and decide never to attend another? Or suppose a relative of one of the Oakland protestors finds comfort in the empathy coming from the Right and then starts reading Heather Mac Donald or Amy Wax. If we express our schadenfreude at Leftist misfortune, we are all but guaranteeing that such things will never happen. Is this what we want? Is this how we win?
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Talking about “redemption” is not political calculus but moral litmus-testing.
If the Right’s idea of building political coalitions is telling people, “Yes, the Right [we are] morally and ideologically superior to the Left [you],” only masochists and pathological narcissists looking to support their superiority complex are going to be interested.
If you really believe “expanding the brand should never entail lowering standards” then white nationalist beliefs will forever remain the preserve of those who meet such arbitrary “standards.”
Politics is transactional, not evangelical.
@Buttercup – Those very thoughts were milling around in my befuddled head, yet I couldn’t quite put the idea into words. You have summed it up precisely –as always!
One of the most nauseating examples of this is the tendency of some on the Right to dismiss an entire city as “getting what they voted for” whenever some terrible leftist policy starts going horribly and predictably wrong. John Nolte at Breitbart is notorious for this. Even if a million people vote for a Gascón type we shouldn’t just write off all of the millions more who will be negatively impacted by his destructive policies. Nobody likes to admit they made a mistake or their fundamental beliefs are misguided, but we will never get through to those people by sneering and telling them they deserve it.
Don’t forget also the suffering of the good people stuck in progressive hellholes for professional or family reasons. Not everyone is a highly mobile young person able easily to relocate to civically healthier climes. Trump 2020 got almost 700,000 votes in NYC, which was nearly a quarter of the total vote. I think he even received around 10% in San Francisco.
Well said Spencer.
on an unrelated topic I haven’t watched a Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movie in ages. Turner Classic Movies is currently airing a Tarzan marathon. They’re the most unintentionally ( maybe intentionally) hilarious movies I’ve seen in years. One has to assume that the portrayal of the natives is perfectly accurate. I can’t wait to see Tarzan in New York. I’m sure it’s comedy gold.
That reminds me. One of my friends was telling me about a dindu rally on campus he’d witnessed. They raised a chant, “Umgawa, Black Power!” He was laughing with me about it, saying it sounded like something out of Tarzan. I looked up the word for shits & giggles one day, and “umgawa” does come from Tarzan!
The final scene in Tarzan Finds a Son had the kid on the roof of a grass hut throwing coconuts at the natives. Little Rascals episodes with Farina couldn’t touch that level of humor.
Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I followed a link that showed feral diversitoids looting a Nike store in Long Beach, and I came while I was watching it. What should I do for penance?
Here is the link: https://twitter.com/CitizenFreePres/status/1609093612599676928
@speedoSanta – Awwww, just enjoy it, scantily-clad Father Christmas! Low-hanging “racisms” are one of the few things in life that are still free.
When I was very young my older brothers and sisters told me that the cheer from the mostly black school during the games went like this; “umgowa, soul-power, you be dead in just an howa!” (That last word is supposed to be hour, of course.) I never questioned it. I was six and completely understood they acted like savages.
Schadenfreude is pointless, wasted effort. Good only for yucks. I don’t direct it at any one group or stripe.
This civilization, if you call it that, is headed for destruction. The truly stupid, vastly outnumber the competent. I work in tech, the things I could tell you.
Things are starting to shake loose, schadenfreude is inevitable. When the SHTF there will be ample time for schadenfreude.
I just laugh. They say the people are divided, yeah 8 billion ways.
Despite the success of even meager cooperation, it is not the “go to” and it never will be. It aint our programming
We are all apes, it is our DNA. We operate alone or, at best, in small tribal groups. Best we can do this side of Glory.
“Classy behavior” is on the same axis as “losing gracefully”. The Left are our enemies. They want us dead. Our job is to fight them, not try to recruit them. That said, our chortling when, for example, the T faction of the Left attacks the F faction ought to be done privately. But we have few enough occasions to revel in the discomfiture of our enemies, that we should take advantage of them when they do occur.
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