Regardless of how long the Alt-Right wants to putter along to its ultimate defeat at a symbolic Appomattox Court House, there shouldn’t be any question that Charlottesville represents its Pickett’s Charge. Sorry, was that analogy too apt? I think it fits.
At Gettysburg, the Confederacy was at its high-water mark. Experienced, well-led, and on the offensive. Pickett’s Charge was a suicidal attack against the Union Army’s strongest position on the battlefield. After it was shattered, the Confederates’ main army remained on the defensive for the rest of the war until it eventually dwindled away.
The Alt-Right, like General Lee, decided to put it all on the line with an offensive (in more ways than one) campaign with these nationwide demonstrations in Democratic strongholds. They saw that they had political power and were building online followings on their various outlets. It was illusory. Hubris.
I don’t know what they expected would be the result of this except embarrassment and repudiation by the broad American public. They got cocky. They really seem to have thought because they “got Trump elected” and that folks on the Internet were laughing at their Pepe the Frog memes that perhaps they finally had something they never otherwise had in any aspect of their real lives: the respect and admiration of normal people.
Edgelord sensibilites make for fantastic memes. In the real world though, the most edgelord thing you can do is wave a swastika flag around. They built their entire movement around that and never stopped to consider that even if centrist Republicans were uncomfortable with diversity and political correctness and liked seeing it mocked on Twitter, it didn’t mean that they wanted to see jackbooted fools calling for minorities to be exterminated or enslaved.
It was never a question to me that the white supremacist movement would be repudiated by the public as it has time and time again. In a free society, they’re doomed to the fringe since they can put themselves and their wacky costumes and beliefs up for all to see and subject themselves to our mockery. Maybe, just maybe, the Alt-Right would have eventually cast off the more cartoonish Nazis and Klan members and tried to be something approaching a somewhat respectable place on the spectrum, but we’ll never know. They cancelled out their own chance.
Sunshine is the best disinfectant, as the saying goes. You know my opinion is that we should protect their free speech for this very reason.
I’m not surprised at all that someone died at Charlottesville. It was only a matter of time before someone got killed at one of these protests, though I really thought it would be the Left who drew first blood. It doesn’t matter. But it has happened and the Alt-Right now has blood on its hands. They’ve stopped being comical and now the public thinks they’re a menace who must be destroyed. The American public swings at threats with a deranged fury when it gets anxious about something.
To put a punctuation point on the mortal wounding of the Alt-Right, Steve Bannon was “released” from the White House yesterday. As I write this, it’s unclear whether he was fired, quit, or a little of both but he was the last powerful voice the Alt-Right had in an Administration increasingly under the influence of the same old establishment neocons we know so well.
Hell, from what I hear, the Klan didn’t even show up for its own rally in Durham yesterday. You could say that the Alt-Right ended with a bang and a whimper. The bang was the Dodge Challenger ramming attack and the whimper was the white supremacists slinking back into the shadows.
I’m not going to mourn the final defeat of the current Alt-Right. It wasn’t ever constructive. Nor was it simply a good collection of causes that eventually turned bad because the wrong people jumped on the bandwagon. It wasn’t even built on good ideas that were co-opted by big money or anything like the Tea Party. It was a movement whose sole objective was to shock and offend and the wrong people were there all the time.
Charlottesville is when it stopped being funny. It laid bare all of the worst ideas that the Alt-Right carried with it and showed that real life activism has real life consequences. The Alt-Right can’t point to any of its good ideas because, well, it doesn’t have any. I’m not being sarcastic. What did it really stand for except for making fun of feminists and gassing Jews? I mean, Libertarians are a wacky fringe too, but at least they do have some great ideas and don’t want to kill anyone (nor would they tolerate any among their movement who do).
Nothing is really over, however. I’m not celebrating the downfall of the most recent iteration of the Alt-Right, just writing an obituary. I’m sure many of you are joyous over this and if you’ve been terrified of what the Alt-Right represents to you, you are entitled to rejoice. Believe me, it’s safe for you to do so. They know they’ve screwed up and they’re frightened.
Why am I not celebrating the Alt-Right’s demise, you may wonder? Because I think this moment heralds the resurgence of the Totalitarian Left and there’s now nothing remaining that can slow it down. One destructive movement falls and another takes advantage, of course.
The one thing that the Alt-Right was good for was that it was so effective at exposing the Social Justice Warriors on the Left for being unserious and immature toxic people. It used humor–dark humor, I admit–but it recognized that the Left’s only real power came from its ability to influence opinion in the media through shaming its critics as bigots. The Alt-Right made SJW’s look harmless and stupid and, devastatingly, uncool because they were immune to shame. It used alternative media to put out stories that the Democratic/Media Complex wouldn’t touch and keep those stories in the public consciousness by spreading them through social networks. Much of it was fake news, but much of it wasn’t and would otherwise have been buried by the mainstream media.
Unfortunately for the Alt-Right, it forgot that it is very ugly and it grew so bold that it made the mistake of showing its face to the public. Now it is what’s being mocked and like many of its proponents in their personal lives, it is now considered “uncool”.
The Left correctly identified what was happening as a deadly threat a long time ago and they know how to stop it. Where we stand now is that the Left has the unquestionable means to effectively silence the Right, a power it really hasn’t had since the era just before the Fairness Doctrine was ended and talk radio started to give the Right a voice in mass media beyond a few magazines and newsletters. The Left first had to deal with Rush Limbaugh and hundreds of imitators. Then came Fox News. The Left has tried to destroy them, or to at least completely discredit them, but never quite managed it. Finally, the Internet opened up various forums such as 4Chan, InfoWars, and others to share their thoughts and influence the nation.
But now? Rush is an old man who is nearing retirement. Talk radio has no future. It’s just not as profitable as it used to be. Fox News is waning. It has lost some of its best talent and the current management isn’t interested in simply being a conservative news outlet anymore. On the Internet, advertisers can be cowed into dropping their support for Rightwing website, as they can’t afford to lose the business of socially conscious Millennials.
Worse, and ultimately most decisively, the Left’s powerful allies in Silicon Valley have found that they can simply shut the Right down or shut them up as they please and justify it in the name of political correctness. Twitter bans conservatives and Alt-Right personalities for minor or even nonexistent infractions of its ToS even as it allows itself to be used as a recruiting tool for ISIS. Facebook removes user groups that it disagrees with politically and suppresses the spread of what its moderators deem “fake news”.
GoDaddy stopped hosting the Daily Stormer website and Google refused to provide services to them either. Targeting of Breitbart’s advertiser’s is intensifying and it won’t be long before Google refuses to provide advertising on its website, I imagine. Additionally, both Google and Apple have refused to support the new Gab app in their web stores, which is a social media platform catering to “free speech” being embraced by the Alt-Right. YouTube has been deleting and demonetizing content and suspending accounts even from harmless conservatives.
The gatekeepers of the Internet can, and are, pushing the Right out and locking the door.
It’s not even limited to the Internet. Uber announced that they will no longer provide transportation to white supremacists. I’m sure more and more is on the way as the Left smells the blood in the water. You can’t refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, but businesses can and will refuse you goods and services if what you say or believe is perceived as bigoted. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Ironically, we on the Right who talk about how businesses should be able to associate or not with whoever they choose have no real grounds for complaining when it’s done to us.
“But Thrill, you asshole, why are you worrying about Nazis? The Web is a better place without racists spewing their filth everywhere,” you might say.
It bothers me because the people on the Left who are driving this consider all conservative opinions to be racist, sexist, homophobic, and so on. They don’t believe that any conservative viewpoint is valid because it is fundamentally bigoted and the person holding it doesn’t have a right to be heard. It’s all hate speech and enjoys no protection under the law in their eyes. They don’t care if it’s legal, they just know that it’s wrong and that’s all they need to shush it.
“Wait,” you reply. “I’m a liberal and I read this blog. We have discussions all the time.”
No, I’m not talking about you. If you have ever commented on this blog, you are not the sort of person I’m talking about. If you were like them, you wouldn’t be here in the first place because they can’t handle opposing views. But they exist and they’re extremely powerful relative to their numbers. They dox people who trigger them on social media and report them to their employers to ruin their lives. They launch boycotts against advertisers. They wage violent street protests to keep people from speaking who they don’t want to hear, even though nobody is forcing them to attend or listen. The mere existence of opposing views enrages them.
The Masters of Silicon Valley, like others on the Left, care nothing for free speech. Isn’t that obvious by how they expect their own employees to think a certain way even when those employees apply science and reason to their arguments that challenge political correctness?
These people actively ensure that there are very real and very negative consequences for having and espousing what they consider to be the “wrong” opinions. And they’re winning. Even if they can’t punish you for your thoughts, they can certainly restrict when and where you speak them. Ask any conservative if he has ever resisted discussing politics at work or at school because he is worried that he’ll suffer consequences that affect his employment, grades, or even his personal safety. I’ll bet close to 100% of them will say they have.
“God damn it, Thrill. You’re using a slippery slope argument. This is about Nazis, not Republicans.”
I’m sorry. I wish I believed that, I really do. If I could, I’d be applauding the demise of the Alt-Right and standing beside you in a rare moment of solidarity. Given a choice, I’d rather be happy than right about all of this. But you see, I’ve been a Republican since I was a teenager.
Critics on the Left have constantly called me a racist and a bigot, regardless of how moderate I think my views are (whatever you may think of them). I have heard for years that I am a racist no matter how principled my arguments were against Barack Obama and his policies. I’ve been called a misogynist simply because I opposed Hillary Clinton, don’t think women should be drafted into the infantry, and believe that there are biological differences between men and women that affect our life outcomes. During the Bush years, I was called an Islamophobe because I favored harsh measures against maniacal terrorists who were (and still are) vowing to kill us. Some say I’m a homophobe because, even though I have no personal opposition to same-sex marriage or adoption, I believe that the states should have the authority to determine for themselves what constitutes a marriage on Constitutional grounds. I’m told that I hate brown foreigners because I don’t think it’s right that we accept immigrants with no job skills who depress wages and burden our social services to the detriment of working American families.
To those on the Left who think this way, my preference for limited government based on the rule of Constitutional law and the rights of the individual is invalid because those beliefs hurt their feelings. It’s wrongthink. I don’t deserve to be heard, much less debated. Really, why should they? SJW’s don’t want or expect to be challenged. They demand agreement and don’t even consider the possibility that they should have to earn it by entertaining the stupid arguments of the other side. They know that they can shut down whoever they call “the Nazis” and there’s absolutely no reason for them to stop doing it.
There are many people on the Left who think I’m as much of a Nazi as Richard Spencer. The reasoning goes that if I’m a Republican, then I’m really just a secret Nazi. If I’m a Nazi, it’s okay to suppress my speech. If I insist on speaking out, it’s necessary that I be punched. You can’t call it a “slippery slope” when it’s already happening.
Over the next couple of years, I think we’ll witness many voices on the Right–even those who aren’t white nationalists or supremacists–falling silent. Sponsors will be driven away and websites will be shut down in response to coordinated complaints. The only ones that remain will be the most moderate and toothless. Harmless, even. The Left will enjoy minimal opposition in controlling the narrative and squashing any potential news story that counteracts it. The Right could be deprived of its next generation of influencers and thinkers who will see their social media accounts suspended the minute any of them hits 10,000 followers.
The goal of the Totalitarian Left with this is to ensure that nothing like the Alt-Right will ever be able to give a candidate with Trump’s views enough support to win or damage one of their candidates by spreading what they think is “fake news”. This is about removing an effective obstacle to absolute power, nothing else.
We can’t have a cheery outlook when the other side can suppress our speech, technologically and violently, with impunity. Don’t tell me they can’t. They’ve been nakedly demonstrating it all week and I’m not going to lie: I’m as afraid of the Totalitarian Left as you progressives are of Trump and the Alt-Right. The difference is that you think that Trump can deprive you of your rights even though he hasn’t tried and doesn’t have the ability anyway.
The Left has figured out how and is just getting started. Even the ACLU, which has long defended even the right of neo-Nazis to hold public rallies is succumbing to public pressure.
This won’t last forever, of course. It’s not the final “End of the Alt Right.” The people on the Alt-Right aren’t really going away. They’ll keep trolling and shitposting until @jack and other sites and social media outlets figure out how to enable Leftist users to positively identify them and frighten them into silence. But they’re still out there and they’re going to look for a comeback as the Totalitarian Left consolidates its power. They’re already talking about coming up with competitors for Google and new social media platforms because they know they’ll never have a level playing field without them. It will take them years to build it all, but they can eventually pull it off with sufficient backing.
Once they do, imagine what it will be like when a resurgent Alt-Right is completely unbound by the Terms of Service set by progressive tech giants. They’ll make the vanquished Alt-Right of 2017 look like the editorial staff of The Atlantic by comparison. Even worse, conservatives who have been muzzled during the intervening years will be even more polarized and justifiably angry at how they’ve been trampled on. I can’t say if the Alt-Right will be more numerous when that happens, but they will be angrier.
Am I being too pessimistic? It’s possible. I can tell you that I’m not the type who is prone to hysterics and I think most people who know me would say I have good composure. Thing is that I’ve seen how the Left has been behaving over the past year and I think they’re about as rational as werewolves in a butcher shop. Again, I know how brutal hysterical Americans can be and I don’t believe that our political opponents on the Left are inclined to be fair or merciful in victory. Particularly when they are under the impression that this victory will be final.
So I say to my friends on the Right: don’t be stupid. Don’t trigger people on social media if they can figure out where you work. Better yet, get off of Facebook. I did it and I’m happier. I’m in the process now of getting Google out of my life in all of its forms but YouTube (still isn’t any replacement for that) is kind of a sticking point for the time being. Those venues don’t want you. They don’t need you. As time goes on, they’re going to make sure that you’re only reading what they want you to read and pushed out if you don’t leave voluntarily. Break away before you get depressed. Any friend who won’t stay in touch with you through any means but Facebook isn’t really a friend.
We’re going to be on the defensive for some time, barring some game changing event that sways popular opinion. At the moment, our side is being torn apart between the Alt-Right (who everybody hates) and the Pussy Wing of the Republican Party, who has no stomach for a fight with the Left and may itself be wiped out over the next two election cycles.
I wish I had better advice than “shut up and play nice”, but we don’t have any champions that can challenge the Left’s. Not Trump. He’s isolated right now, maybe for the rest of his term. Not Paul Ryan. Not Fox News. Nobody. Who can speak for us? Nobody with the power to do anything is standing up and calling out the Left on their abuses, because “NAZI”.
To you on the Left, I’ll say that I don’t want to taint the relief you must be feeling at the widespread rejection of Nazism and the failure of the Alt-Right. I’m only going to ask you to watch and remember.
Watch and see if future events pan out as I’ve described them. Listen to your friends and how they describe Republicans. See how they react when fairly harmless forums are shut down and major businesses refuse to allow people to patronize their services based on their political views. See if they like the idea of “punching a Nazi” and, more importantly, who they think qualifies as one.
I might be wrong; but if I’m not, I want you to remember what I’ve written here. Remember that mainstream Democrats are now embracing the violence of Antifa and defending those who call for the assassination of the president. Remember that I warned you.
The harder the Left and its media and tech allies work to suppress the free speech of the Right through violence and intimidation and the more successful it is, the more violent the New Alt-Right will be when it returns years from now. You might be horrified by it and you will be even more so when mainstream Republicans don’t denounce their violence in the future, as you believe Trump hasn’t this week, but you won’t be able to claim you’re surprised.
As I’ve said repeatedly on this blog, we must reject political violence and intimidation. I encourage free speech and am proud of the work we have done to promote open discourse across the political spectrum. When we talk to each other, screw around, and share thoughts on music and entertainment with each other across ideological lines, we humanize each other. But when people can no longer speak their minds freely and fear punishment for open and honest disagreement with Power, they find other and less savory ways of getting their points across. There’s no reason for it to come to that.
In closing, many people think that America is heading for another civil war. I’ve heard it said many times this week. Many times and from people I never thought I’d hear it from. All I’ll say to that is that it isn’t inevitable. We can still make good choices by remembering the words of a wise man who once said, “There are alternatives to fighting.”
That said, no, we here at RVS aren’t going anywhere and I’m not going to change anything that I do here. I’m not Alt-Right, I reject hatred, and I don’t spread fake news. I’ll speak my mind here as I always have and I urge everybody–on all sides–to do the same.