Commentary is terrified by the online brigades of the Alt Right:
The unapologetically racist element of neo-reactionary thinking connects intellectuals like Yarvin and Land with the masses they otherwise disdain, evincing the rumblings of a nascent neo-reactionary political coalition. But what really ties together all these seemingly disparate strands—the neo-reactionary intellectuals, the crude Twitter trolls, the highfalutin white supremacists, and the billionaire presidential candidate—is misanthropy. Pollsters may need to develop a new category in the wake of the Trump phenomenon: “resentment voters.” Within the demographic of lower-middle-class white men, Trump is popular in a variety of misanthropic subcultures, many of which did not really exist until the Internet provided them with a way to communicate and organize. Unsurprisingly, he is the subject of a great deal of discussion and admiration in the pickup-artist, or “seduction community,” of men who chat online and gather at conferences to complain about how feminism has destroyed dating culture while simultaneously discussing strategies for bedding as many women as possible. After Trump declared early in the campaign season, apropos of nothing, that supermodel Heidi Klum was “no longer a 10,” a popular blogger from the “men’s rights” movement approvingly wrote, “The alpha does not qualify himself to women, ever. He expects women to qualify themselves to him.”
What also unites the alt-right is a conspiratorial anti-elitism. Policies and principles don’t matter, nor do obsolete ideological divisions like left and right, because the American system itself is a sham. “Why are sh-t-tier whites voting for Trump, a barbarian who can’t even write a grammatical tweet in fourth-grade English?” Yarvin asks. “Because they’re done with being sh-t on by their ‘betters,’ who think invading Iraq and starting civil wars in Syria and Libya is a brilliant use for a third of their income.” In distinction to Bernie Sanders supporters, who at least know what they want to do with the reigns of power, these people loathe our social and political institutions and offer no alternative. Trump and the alt-right want to break everything and watch the world burn, like Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight, and they believe (hope?) that somehow everything will sort itself out. America, using a term that will be familiar to the real-estate tycoon, is a “tear down.”
What we are seeing here is a convergence of three phenomena: neo-reactionary philosophy, popular discontent, and a charismatic leader. Successful political movements need all three. As far-right traditionalists, Yarvin and Land claim to despise populism, and people more generally. “Predisposed, in any case, to perceive the politically awakened masses as a howling irrational mob, [neo-reaction] conceives the dynamics of democratization as fundamentally degenerative: systematically consolidating and exacerbating private vices, resentments, and deficiencies until they reach the level of collective criminality and comprehensive social corruption,” Land writes. And like many of the Republican office-holders and conservative media personalities who’ve glommed on to Trump while railing against “elites,” the neo-reactionary thinkers are themselves elitists.
But they, too, are just as unscrupulous in hitching their wagon to a popular movement in hopes that it will advance their agenda. In a 2008 installment of his Open Letter, Yarvin mused about himself as the Vaclav Havel of neo-reaction—the philosopher king who may one day find himself carried on the shoulders of a society demanding revolutionary change—or, failing that, its Machiavelli. For, “in order to make an impact on the political process, you need quantity. You need moronic, chanting hordes.” Well, he has them now.
One doesn’t have to share the normative interpretations of alt-right counter-history to believe that these thinkers have a point in arguing that human societal development is not a process of inexorable progress. Though conservatives have criticized President Barack Obama’s frequent invocation of “the right side of history” to justify his positions on issues ranging from gay marriage to counterterrorism, Americans have become largely inured to the idea, expressed by Ronald Reagan, that their country’s “best days are yet to come.” What if they’re not? What if things are about to get a whole lot worse?
I take no little pleasure in the fact that while the mainstream media doesn’t have any trouble in naming Allum, Milo, Moldbug, or Nick Land, they need to resort to weird, inaccurate descriptions – a popular blogger from the “men’s rights” movement – rather than mention me directly.
It’s rather amusing. For over a decade, I was inaccurately described as a “conservative”. For perhaps the last three years, I’ve been described as an MRA, again inaccurately.
Is it really that hard to say “Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil” or “bestselling political philosopher” or even “right wing radical”?
Anyhow, they shouldn’t be terrified of us. They should be terrified by the fact that we are right and their system, the one that they believed had ended history, has failed. Everything is on the table now and anything can happen.