Thursday, November 17, 2016

The Alt-Right Isn't Racist. It's Just Sick Of You

Progressives are somewhat predictable. The reason Godwins Law exists is because we live in a nation of mental midgets who cannot lose an argument. That's not a positive thing - because they can't win them, either. At least not based on facts, logic or argument. Instead, when cornered by their own lack of a point, there are certain people who will just resort to accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia and just about anything else. People need to learn and accept that sometimes, their viewpoints cannot be conferred to others. And, more importantly, that they're capable of being wrong.

The major force in this election turns out to be the Alt-Right. The Alt-Right is a collection of racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-semitic, anti-muslim, anti-immigrant white nationalist hatemongers. Of course, to believe that you have to ignore leading voices like Sheriff David Clark (black guy), Kassy Dillon (chick), Milo Yiannopoulos (fabulously gay man), Joshua Seidel (totally Jewish)... and you get the point. The alt-right none of the -ist and -phobe appellations thrown at it. What it is is a powerful force of dissent that the Progressive Left is simply not equipped to deal with.

The Progressive Left is successful because they have laid a foundation of intellectualism as the basis of their philosophy, then armed their membership with a key weapon: morality. Every argument of the Progressive Left ends with a thinly veiled (or sometimes simply not at all veiled) accusation of racism, sexism or other bigotry that is universally reviled. This was a problem for Conservatism, which likewise counts on a foundation of intellectualism, because much of their strength comes from a supposed moral high ground. So when every intellectual discussion ends with accusations of moral outrage, Conservatives are typically voiceless.

If you look at the tactics of the Progressive Left, you can slowly tick off all of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. American Conservatives use none of these tactics. In fact, activism and radicalism have no place within Conservative ideology. Enter the alt-right, who are essentially Conservatives, but with one essential twist: they're immune to the accusations of bigotry. Members of  the alt-right are typically independent, so they don't fear termination by their employer. They're also young, so they don't fear the loss reputation the way older established conservatives do. And lastly... they're clowns. Specifically, they're liminal clowns.

The liminal portion is that they don't take the Progressive Left seriously at all. They don't feel the need to have intellectual discourse with them. They simply don't feel that there is any authority what-so-ever in their words, ideas, accusations or ideology. That's the liminal part.

Their response to the Progressive Left is one of mockery and reflex. This is the most frustrating part not only for Progressives, but any casual observer of the alt-right. The alt-right, when faced with an accusation of bigotry, doesn't waste time with denial, defense or explanation. Instead, they return it with mockery. This has the immediate effect of confirming the Progressive viewpoint, but to all other observers not steeped in Progressive thought, the irony and sarcasm is immediately obvious. That is the mark of the clown.

Incidentally, the "liminal clown" isn't a new concept. They've existed in the tradition of literary analysis to explain the existence of certain characters in stories. The use of liminal clowns by Shakespeare is the most well known - nearly every play had one, and they didn't simply provide a little comedy for the audience; they were key in illustrating the dire conditions of all the other characters in the play. Shakespeare's clowns were often the only ones (other than the reader) who actually knew what was going on. More recently, the phenomena of "Punk" and "Punk Rock" is the most relevant connection. Punk Rock, though seen as a rebellion against authority, was really a rejection of the hedonism of the 1960's counter-culture, largely led by middle class suburbanite youth.

The reason I bring Punk into this is that the alt-right is overwhelmingly young, diverse and educated having come from largely middle class backgrounds. Those were the punks of music in the early 1970's. Now we have punks of politics in the 2010's. It's the same notion, simply for a different age.

And here is the final point. The alt-right isn't racist. Not by a long shot. However, they're not interested in the convoluted blame game of social justice politics. They're far more libertarian in their approach. But when you call them racists, misogynists, bigots, et al, they're not going to be cowed. They're going to push back and shut down their accusers with unrelenting mockery and a withering fusillade of equal and opposite scorn that nullifies their attack, then embroils them inextricably in a battle they see no way to win. The left, mired in dead tactics, is now losing a battle for the hearts and minds of America and not knowing it.





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