Alt-Right Viewed From the Right, Pt. II: Retrospective

Several months ago, I had voiced my concerns about the Alt-Right and its methods. While there are certainly many things to be said about them, I focused on a few key elements that had been relevant at the time which — after the rather disastrous and foolish mistakes committed at the N.P.I. Conference in America’s capital — proved to be rather prescient. In retrospect, this event, which saw everyone’s favourite dapper Pale Nationalist Richard Spencer deliver a speech which ended with him proclaiming, “Hail Trump! Hail our People! Hail Victory!” to great applause and two or more Roman salutes, represented exactly one of the many consequences that could have been derived from the understanding of the Alt-Right as a monstrous and immature entity.

In my previous article, I had pointed out that there was an inherently nihilistic and sadistic bend to some of the Alt-Right’s practices which was borne not out of some assertive masculinity as some might have hoped but from a puerile understanding of what true power means. I pointed out how some writers, for example, hailed and saluted the meme culture prevalent in the Alt-Right’s subversionary tactics as “chaos magic”i even to the point of saying how “a Reactionary can still look at the exploits of the day players and say ‘you did good, kid.’”ii Unfortunately, “good” — at least in so far as furthering some rightist cause — was certainly not achieved by the inside-joke irony present at the final speech of the N.P.I. conference. Instead, displaying the self-control of a drunk, Spencer and his followers erupted in the same kind of mass euphoria that could have been mistaken for some Social Justice rally. The “kid” certainly did not do “good,” but he was, certainly, a kid.

The whole situation was solidified by Spencer delivering apologetics for the antics under the defense of what is tantamount to “it’s just a bit of irony.”iii How can we blame him? After all, isn’t that the whole point of the meme culture? Is that not the point of the caustic and destructive revelry that is undertaken by the disgruntled young people day by day online? How can we blame Spencer for simply riding out the ecstatic electricity of victory? Spencer himself is merely a reflection of that internal chaos of the Alt-Right. “Chaos magic,” therefore, is apt because it is chaos that was the immature form of the Universe — the destructive basis which undulates as the depths. The Alt-Right is a fountainhead of this destructive streak and it could not help drawing this disorganization onto itself. He is also a reflection of the tech-savvy laziness of the Alt-Right. Instead of achieving real greatness through their own self-improvement and self-control, they savour signaling each other.

But this begs the question: what was so wrong about what they did? Can we see for a moment if Spencer’s actions were in error beyond the scope of whether or not this affected the public relations of movements to the Right of the political spectrum. After all, one should learn to not care about the biases of the “Lügenpresse,” right? What this moment of intoxication really represents is a loss of dignity. It demonstrates that the Alt-Right’s main energy is not from the dignity of its principles, but from the mass-movement of its members. It functions by the same underclass mentality as its Leftist counterparts. It excites the lower strata of society in dissatisfaction and it leads through euphoria rather than awe.

Ultimately, this draws into question what kind of person is a person of the Right? Does he maintain any level of virtue or self control superior to that of his Leftist counterparts or is he just as nihilistic about reality and treats everything as a joke? Does he have any gravitas that raises him higher than the parody-mills of late night television hosts? Is policy and ideology the only measure of difference between a person of the Right and the Left? Is a person on the Right just as willing to throw the Molotov cocktail of internet memery? I posit that any true distinguishing marker between ideologies can be found in the character and actions of its members. If an ideology does not inform the character of an individual so that he behaves differently from his counterpart, can we really say that it is qualitatively different? I suspect that any movement that revels in the immaturity of its own members represents a movement for children rather than adults.

I had also mentioned in my previous article that the Alt-Right was more like a hydra — a monster with no discernible head. It is clear in the aftermath of the N.P.I. conference and the subsequent fracturing of the Alt-Right that these divisions were only tenuously held together for the sake of the Trump campaign. It is interesting that the claims made by groups like the Alt-Right to be the intellectual vanguard of conservatism or traditionalism has no “head” to it — the traditional seat of intellect. I find Julius Evola‘s words to still reverberate when he commented about the Rightist movements in Italy:

We must say that there does not exist in Italy today a Right worthy of this name, a Right is a unified political force that is organised and furnished with a precise doctrine. What is currently called the Right in political struggles is defined less by a positive content than by a generic opposition to the most extreme forms of subversion and social revolution…iv

Indeed, what could be more applicable to the definition of the Alt-Right today which is simply a reactive rather than creative principle opposed, pell-mell, to any Leftist ideology? It works on a contingent principle and it borrows its tactics from the Left just as much as it bastardizes traditional thought. As I mentioned in my previous article, “bastard” is the correct term for just as a man may sire, in his promiscuity, a child from someone not his spouse, so does the Alt-Right promiscuously mix noble notions from Tradition and Masculinity with the tactics, puerility, and immaturity of the Left. The irony of the Alt-Right is that it is a mongrel and all of its shouts for racial purity or racial safety ignore the impregnation of its members with tactics, underclass attitudes, and revolutionary tendencies of its enemies. Its elites and leaders pander to the jokes of its underclass and it professes no leadership of awe at the helm, but one of merely intellectual gymnastics.

Again, Evola’s criticism of the Rightist movements during his time echo true in today’s situation. He points out how:

A significant sign of confused ideas and today’s narrow horizons is established by the fact that … today liberals and many other proponents of democracy can be considered as men of the Right, a situation that would have appalled representatives of a real traditional Right, because when such a Right existed, liberalism and democracy were notoriously and justly considered as currents of revolutionary subversion, or more less as radicalism, Marxism, and Communism appear today in the eyes of the so-called parties of order.v

And how far has the so called Right fallen in contemporary politics where jokers and young men who consort with Tina Tequila join in conferences costumed as well dressed gentlemen but act as if they were the ripped-jeans wearing ravers of the Left? Yet these people are considered the “edgy” ones and the ones who are the intellectual vanguard of a new conservative renaissance?

Furthermore, while there is certainly no real attachment that the Alt-Right possesses (or will admit to possessing) for the Fascism of old, the fact that it is joked about and flaunted as ironic is indicative of something diseased. Again, Evola speaks to this in his prescience when describing Neo-Fascists in Italy:

Fascism has undergone a process of what can be called mythologising. In regard to it, the attitude taken by most people has an emotional and irrational character, instead of a critical and intellectual one… They have made Mussolini and Fascism into objects of a “myth” and they keep their eye on a reality that is historically conditioned and on the man who was its centre, instead of on political ideas that should be taken seriously in themselves and for themselves, independently of these historical accidents…vi

Clearly, one can see how this is quite analogous to the fetishizing of Nazism which has been stupidly advanced even as a joke. For while even if one ignores the loss of social capital (even though I abhor the idea of calculating public relations as having much bearing on the legitimacy of a political idea) that was incurred through defending the actions at the conference, the anti-intellectual tomfoolery surrounding Nazism in the Alt-Right consciously or subconsciously leads people on the Right looking for legitimate and long-lasting political realities down a failed and short-sighted path.vii

At the end of the day, the Alt-Right merely represents another failure to capture the true essence of what it means to stand for good society and Tradition. It is yet another catagogic attempt to masquerade as a living entity but it has no soul except what it borrows from the wild animations of its Leftist counterparts. Or, more precisely, it derives its energy from the same source as those who share the horizontal political spectrum and, thus, is vulnerable to the same erosion as all modern political movements. To that end, this fiasco should be yet another invitation for young people of a particular type to divest themselves of the easy shortcut that many Rightist movements offer. One cannot defeat a horizontal enemy by horizontal tactics. One does not defeat infantilism by acting like a child.


iv. Julius Evola, Fascism Viewed From the Right

v. Ibid.

vi. Ibid.

vii. There is not enough room here to go over why the fall of Fascism and its defects are due to its populist roots and not because it simply lost a war. Needless to say that Evola’s commentary on it provides sufficient considerations for anyone interested in this subject on why Fascism is a false idol.

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James

Pretentious foreigner seeking Dante enthusiasts . Do not apply if you're stuck justifying your limp wristedness with some High-Anglican pseudo-aesthetic . I may seem like another one of those Pale persons out there , but English is my second language .

7 thoughts on “Alt-Right Viewed From the Right, Pt. II: Retrospective

    1. It’s an excellent question . I personally like the idea of acting in such a way locally so as to be naturally gravitational as a leader in an authentic way . If one achieves feats of glory in his own body such as with a man who has transcended his desires or otherwise changed himself for a better , he will naturally be intriguing , interesting , and educational to those around him . He will naturally lift those up around him . Achieve a critical mass of this and it will naturally form a real , virtuous elite that will move to cooperative action . This , unfortunately , is unlikely because of the difficulty of it and the distance between these rather specific human types , but the rulers and the ruled have always had a very large disproportion between each other . Nonetheless , achieving even a small percentage of this may help to forestall the momentum of degradation that is rolling through the modern world . There are far more clever individuals than I who can successfully also use the situation of the modern world for their own benefit and it’s to them that you might see around you that the solution will be found . The point you bring up with Signal-to-noise is excellent , but it is also slightly missing the genre . It’s more action-to-noise that is necesary . While I write here as a matter of intellectual practice , I try in my locality and according to my talents to bring about virtue personally and in my body . It is there that the action-to-noise ratio becomes actualized towards action .

      Think of the way in which they instruct you to place your air breathing mask before you assist your children in case of loss of cabin pressure . It is because if you pass out first , no one will help the children . Whereas if the children pass out first , you can still revive them without permanent injury after you’ve secured yourself . Thus , work on yourself to be a man of imperial virtue in your own body . Just as I pray to God that a man of virtue rules the nation with authority rather than compulsion , so do I practice in my daily life ways to facilitate the way in which my head will rule over my members . He who is trustworthy in small things is trustworthy in big things and what is true for the proper management and government of the human person is also true for the management of the human society .

  1. I respectfully disagree. The way I see it:

    Rightist ideology works; Rightist tactics fail.
    Leftist tactics work; Leftist ideology fails.

    It therefore seems obvious, to me at least, that we need to abandon the Right’s failed tactics while keeping the ideology. Since Leftists have the best tactics, as proven by their 50 year record of unbroken success, it follows we should copy and benchmark off of them.

    We’re not recapturing the culture unless we import the Gramsci-Alinsky canon wholesale. We’re not recapturing the overton window unless we dismiss accusations of nazism with the same nonchalance with which Leftists dismiss talk of Stalinism.

  2. Well said James, although the fact that this was also a problem in Evola’s time bodes ill for the success of any Traditionalist movement. Perhaps most people are just not capable of acting with class and dignity? Will this change as the alt-right members become older, moving into their late 20s and beyond? There’s so much immaturity amongst people of all ages now, that I can’t look forward to that, either.

    1. Unfortunately , biological age is only correlative to maturity as it’s more about the experiences granted in those interim years that really imparts any level of crisis-synthesis maturity in individuals . The problem is whether or not we are dealing with individuals who are already of a particular human type that can evolve past these initial stages of immaturity or if they are really just bourgeois hangers-on that have stuck to this ideology as their preferred “shortcut” to a better society . In other words , most of the individuals and perhaps even some of the elites including Spencer are merely individuals who have already reached the maximum zenith of their maturity . I cannot rightly judge without knowing them in person more , nor would I really want to . Rather , we can only really measure that for ourselves and our primary task is to test and push that evolution in ourselves . If we wish and hope with optimism for the transmutation of something in society towards a transcendent point , we have to practice doing that in ourselves and see if the elites of our own person (our mind , our soul , our spirit etc) can guide the lower parts of ourselves . If we can prove that optimistically , then we are in a position to demand or affect that in movements or labels around us .

  3. Excellent essay James.

    Another aspect of the debacle is this. There is symbolic thinking and there is concrete thinking. In symbolic thinking language is pregnant with layers of unsaid meaning, a host of signals which members of a group of like minded people understand implicitly. But concrete thinkers equate the symbol with reality – the layers of the unsaid pass them by and they take language used this way at its word, literally.

    That’s why word play is so dangerous in a mass movement. Language loses its innocence and playfulness and becomes deadly serious in the hands of the less subtle. This is especially true when the language pokes fun at the shibboleths of the age. What was intended as a rebellious insistence to say the unsayable & demonstrate personal liberation, will for many be read as permission for their lowest instincts . The highly intelligent find that their language games aren’t games at all when their irony is lost on their literally-minded, more concrete thinking followers. The revolution is suddenly taken out of their hands & it’s too late to cry ‘I didn’t mean that!’.

    Another point you make that I’ve also felt, is being merely reactive to the liberal consensus keeps the alt-right on the same level, on the same spectrum as that consensus, albeit at the opposite pole. I wish I had clever answers to all this. I don’t, apart from the hope that the new reactionaries can really get inside the ancien regime paradigm, and see that courtesy and dignity was at its core. You can’t both shit-post or name-call & be a true reactionary. The first is modern mass culture & it’s infantile. The second is a qualitatively different world.

  4. More people should read things like “A Handbook of Traditional Living” – this was probably first real tract I read in entering the ‘Real Right’ but they won’t they’ll listen to TRS and think Holocaust jokes makes them “woke”. The Roman Salute and making it is the ‘Alt-Right’ version of extreme sexual degeneracy jokes of modern comics and leftists. Designed to evoke repulsion and shock – why? Because we are all children of modernity, whether we like that or not. At most we can act as shadows to what we read of and learn of and experience.

    As I noted once:
    “Do we really think disillusioned millennials who live blog and try to start a right wing movement have a real notion of what actual civilization, duty, and honour is?…Many of us dived deeper than we care to admit into the beast of modernity and bear its scars. The notion you are somehow above the muck of modernity is laughable. As much as you can attempt to become worthy without a frame of reference for worthiness you’ll never get there, no matter how many shitty half depth squats you crank out.”

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