Of Byzantium and the #AltRight

Caleb Q. Washington observes a certain synchronicity:

The history of the Byzantines hit a number of issues that are held closely by the Alt-Right. First of all, the fall of the Roman Empire is an area of historical significance that draws anyone who seeks to understand patterns of massive political change and upheaval of civilizations. The Byzantines are naturally a part of that story. They continued on from their weakened position for almost a millennium, accounting for about half of the days between the Rome’s foundation by Romulus and the fall of Constantinople. Understanding this civilization is one source from which the Alt-Right seeks knowledge about what might happen to our own Western Civilization and what it might take to preserve it.

One thing that is very important to the Alt-Right is tradition. The Byzantines were a civilization that maintained ancient traditions in a world that changed drastically around them. Their work, both culturally and militarily, has ensured that the great love of the Alt-Right, Western Civilization, survived long enough to thrive. The good done for the world by the Byzantines does not go unrecognized by those who have learned the story.

If any experience defines young people who have joined the Alt-Right, it is the notion of: “The Red Pill”. At some point, we all came to realize that some piece of the dominant cultural narrative is an inaccurate portrayal of the world, paralleling the experience of the protagonist in The Matrix. This is the intellectual equivalent of crossing the Rubicon, to use a relevant metaphor. Once one lie is unmasked, the entire tapestry of the cultural narrative is under suspicion. Part of the journey we find ourselves on is learning about the parts of history which go untaught.

The story of Byzantium is a story that will go untold to anyone who doesn’t actively seek it. It is the greatest civilization that is not mentioned in school. Learning the history of Byzantium means learning about a subject which is entirely absent from common historical narratives, which generally skip the years between 476 and 1066.

I don’t actually have an opinion on this, but I did find it amusing in light of how one of my favorite histories is John Julius Norwich’s three-volume History of the Byzantine Empire. Indeed, if you look closely on the videos of my appearances with Stefan Molyneux, you can see the spines in their pride of place next to the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

It is fascinating, however, to see how the atheist wing of the #AltRight is moving towards Christianity even as the evangelical wing is moving towards orthodoxy and race realism.