To a certain extent, we’re all reactionaries, because we react to news as it happens to provide–ideally–insights and perspectives that other people may not have considered. I think that definition, though, is a bit too limited, because many of us are using reactionism as a way of being proactive, contradictory though that seems, because there are underlying ideas that are being spread by the reactive writings. At the same time, many of these “reactionaries” I’m talking about are doing work on the ground that is certainly proactive, aimed at creating the circumstances instead of reacting to changing circumstances. I’m pretty sure this paragraph could be deleted without changing what I’m about to say much, but I’m going to leave it in anyway, because it’s still true: we’re all reactionaries.
That said, there’s one area where are reactionism is hindering us, especially libertarians and anarchists.
If we are to be free, we must stop allowing the government and other institutional authorities to set the agenda, to set the tone of the conversation, and to set the topic of the conversation. Last week–if you can believe it was only a week ago–it was Trump’s tweet about banning transgender and transsexual people* from military service. This week, it’s North Korea and the prospect of nuclear war. It should be interesting to note that both issues received similar levels of reactions: many Facebook posts, articles, and tweets, very little real activism. In fact, it’s just a lot of reactionism. We’re letting the government and other institutions decide what we’re talking about. Instead of advocating libertarian principles, we set aside what we want to discuss so that we can jump on the bandwagon and join the conversation that the government wants us to have. Scratch all the tweets, articles, and Facebook posts about Trump’s proposed ban on transgender/transsexual soldiers, and pencil in statements about North Korea. It seems pretty likely that you’ll find the same people have produced both sets of reactive tweets, with very few exceptions, and that, perhaps, the transgender ban received more attention than the North Korea one. However, the North Korea thing is still young.
How can we ever talk about freedom and the value of liberty if we’re jumping at the state’s beck and call to discuss whatever random issue they have landed on when they spun the Wheel of Reactionary Division? If the government can control what we’re talking about so effectively, there is no reason that it should ever stop doing so, because doing so gives us the breadth that we need to discuss liberty, sound money, non-aggression, rights, peace, and love–and the government doesn’t want that, because liberty, sound money, non-aggression, rights, peace, and love are ideas that can destroy governments.
Imagine that you own a multi-billion dollar company, and you treat your employees like crap, because they can’t work anywhere else–you have a monopoly in the area. Some of these employees are trying very, very hard, however, to form a union that would give them the leverage needed to fight for better standards, if not eliminate the people at the top altogether. How would you handle this? Ignoring morality (since not many of us would be so callous in the first place), would you just sit there and watch them unionize and take some of the power away from you?
Of course not. And one of the most effective weapons at your disposal is Conversation Control. Create scapegoats. Blame a small segment of the workers for the plight that everyone faces. “I know it’s bad,” you might say, “and it’s those migrant workers who are responsible. Being from poor countries, they don’t care if they can’t each afford to pay a car and house note with their wages. So they’re working for less, which drives down everyone’s wages. They’re the ones responsible.” Suddenly the workers are no longer talking about unionizing, because they’ve been divided into two camps: those who defend the migrant workers, and those who fell for the scapegoating. The conversation is no longer about unionizing. It’s about a manufactured enemy.
When that enemy expires, randomly pick another one–bonus points if the new enemy has never been encountered by any worker, and demonstrably poses the workers no threat at all, such as Isis or North Korea. They’ll stop talking about the harm being done to them because you’ve presented them with some imagined harm that is multitudes worse than what they’re already facing. To prevent that from coming to fruition, they’ll stop their talk of unionizing in order to prevent those evil, distant devils from making their situation worse. Once that problem is dealt with, of course–presuming it’s not an indefinite and eternal problem, like “terrorism”–their situation will certainly have gotten worse, and, as an added bonus, they’ll accept the worsened conditions as normal, as “the price we pay for protection from those external enemies.”
We are being manipulated en masse, and it is apparently pretty easily done. The masses are marionettes being made to dance and neglecting the dance that we want and need to perform. This has to stop. We have to begin ignoring the government’s attempts to change the conversation. We have to talk about the things that we want to talk about, not simply react to whatever they want us to discuss. Otherwise, they will always set the agenda, and Liberty will never be on that agenda.
* As a transsexual person, I don’t particularly care for how “transsexual” is being pushed out of the conversation by the same people who enjoy pointing out that gender and sex aren’t the same thing; therefore, “transgender” and “transsexual” aren’t the same thing. For months now, I’ve watched my allies push me and my type out of the conversation because they mistakenly have decided, as I once did, that “transgender” is a more palatable version of “transsexual.” But that’s incorrect.
I read an article earlier about how the claim that the alt-right is a response to SJWism is one that has no evidence to support it, so I wanted to take the time to defend the assertion. However, it must be observed that sociology and the study of culture are not hard sciences, and a demand for confirming evidence of such claims isn’t quite fair. Why?
Because we can’t provide any evidence to back the assertion that the Civil Rights Movement was a response to decades of racial abuse of a white majority against a black minority. “It’s common sense, though!” right? Maybe, but there’s no evidence to support the claim, and there never can be.
We can point to specific events in the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and use it as evidence to say, “This example of racial discrimination spurred his action,” but that’s a far cry from being evidence for our generalized statement. Similarly, we can’t provide evidence for the statement that Rosa Parks was a part of the Civil Rights Movement because of systemic racial abuses; we can only provide evidence for the statement that Parks was a part of the Civil Rights Movement because she was not happy with how buses treated black Americans. The generalized statement that she participated because of various abuses cannot be substantiated.
This is, in fact, the essence of sociology, and the reason I titled the article as I did. When discussing the alt-right, we can only point to specific individuals and the reasons those individuals give to gather direct evidence. If we then want to extrapolate from their stated reasons and generalize an underlying current, then that current, by its very nature, cannot be demonstrated and can, by the people from which it was extrapolated, always be denied.
What if MLK Jr. pointed only to specific injustices he had suffered as the reasons for his involvement, and what if Parks, Malcolm X, and others did the same? Anyone who stated that the CRM was a response to widespread abuses would be unable to provide evidence for that claim; only specific events applying to specific people can have evidence. If they denied that they were motivated by general abuses, rather than specific ones, we would be unable to prove otherwise.
So the best we can do is provide indirect evidence for the claim, and even this will be tenuous, as all soft science evidence is. Once more, to summarize, this is because sociology consists entirely of taking individual and specific examples and extrapolating patterns. This involves evaluating numerous alt-rightists and their stated reasons, and combing through those reasons for unifying themes.
This doesn’t mean that we should be ready to accept any sociology claim without scrutiny and substantiating evidence, but it tells us quite a lot about what kind of evidence even can be presented, and what forms the evidence will take. As another example, Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom is filled with allegations and sociological explanations, yet it contains not one piece of hard evidence that a society of people “falling for the promises” of central planners will produce serfdom. By its very nature, all such evidence will be anecdotal.
Sorry for the small image.
Before we continue, it has been stated elsewhere that making this assertion is “waving off” the alt-right. I disagree entirely. Just as explaining a murderer’s motive is not excusing his crime, neither is explaining a political movement’s undercurrent waving it aside. The catalysts that created the alt-right are still there and, clearly, still problems. It serves us well to know how the whole thing came about, and this passes no judgment on the value of what, exactly, came about. I could tell someone that “Bob murdered his wife because she was having an affair” without expressing any disdain over Bob’s actions or motive, and without expressing any sympathy with Bob because of his motives. The statement imparts no approval or disapproval; it is simply a statement of motive.
It’s not hard to hop on over to YouTube and find alt-right people like Mark Dice, Milo Yuanwhateveris, The Non-Believer, Autopsy87, and Atheism is Unstoppable to find out exactly why these people went from “whatever they were” to alt-rightists. Only on very are occasions will they outright state their reasons for switching political ideologies, and this makes sense: I’m not sure that I could state the clear, objective reasons that I migrated from Republican conservatism at 15~ to Democrat to Communist to Libertarian to Anarchist, either. It’s a slow process of gradual change. Nor can I point to any specific moment when I went from “agnostic”–as people say, though it’s a misnomer–to atheist. Most atheists can’t, because we sort of just notice at some point down the line that we no longer believe in any deity. There’s usually no epiphany, and no story to tell. Just a gradual series of small evolutionary changes [pun intended].
My movement from Democrat to Communist, for example, was primarily because of the great Obama Betrayal, who won the Nobel Peace Prize and campaigned on the promise of bringing us peace, only to merrily continue the wars of his predecessor and starting several of his own. Around this same time, I watched Zeitgeist, which does contain some truth [more is the pity–sorry, my close parenthesis key is broken], and happily went on to Zeitgesit: Addendum and Zeitgeist: Moving Forward. The proposed Communist solutions sat well with me and made sense, but something about them didn’t sit right. I can tell you exactly what that “something” was: the assertion that “people don’t care about owning a good; they only care about being able to use a good… No one really cares whether or not they own a boat; they only want the ability to use a boat.” It made this claim as a way of justifying its communal property idea, but it never sat right with me.
It is, as one might say, “utter bullshit.”
It’s almost the exact opposite of what is true. In the majority of cases, people don’t care at all about using the good in question; they just want to own it. Can I provide evidence for this statement? No, because it’s a sociological one–it’s an extrapolation of some people’s identified behavior and an evaluation of the underlying current that unites the various exhibited behaviors. My brother-in-law, for example, owns a boat that he has never used. My landlord has a boat sitting in the yard that no one has used in at least a decade. Four wheelers, backhoes, boats–even my grandmother owns a tractor that she has never, ever used as long as I’ve been alive, and neither has anyone else. I have absolutely no doubt that we can all point to people who clearly just want to be able to say that they own something, and who don’t seem to care about actually using that thing.
Similarly, we could probably point to people, per Zeitgeist‘s claims, who don’t actually care about owning the thing, and who would just like to be able to use it. What are the numbers here? It’s unknown, really. All we can do is take partial surveys, and we can attempt to eliminate as much bias as possible, but in the end we can’t poll all 7 billion people on the planet. At absolute best, we could probably poll 150,000,000, at significant expense, but even then we wouldn’t be able to provide any hard evidence that it was actually scientifically sound to extrapolate from those one hundred fifty million and assume that the same pattern will hold true for seven billion.
I can go to the aforementioned Youtubers’ pages, after all, and carefully identify their stated and unstated reasons for being alt-right, and I could provide direct evidence to support the claims of why these particular people are alt-right. Mark Dice is alt-right because he is a fundamentalist Christian who believes the Satanic Illuminati is conquering the world, and using Satanic Hollywood to push its liberal agenda onto us. I could, in fact, then say that “The alt-right arose because fundamentalist Christians believe that globalism and modern liberalism are the work of Satan.” When pressed for direct evidence of this assertion, I could only point to Mark Dice and maybe a select few other people.
This would be woefully inadequate, though. The sample size is simply too small. Extrapolating from one single person onto an entire political movement is obviously folly, like polling one person prior to the election, having that person say that he thinks Trump will win, and then releasing the report that “Trump will win with 100% of the vote!” It would obviously be folly.
Before going further, I must again point out that we are always dealing with generalizations, and that anyone who would take a generalization and apply it as though the person using it meant it absolutely is using a deceitful and manipulative tactic. I might say “Dogs are good pets,” which is a generalized statement. Someone might say, “I guess you didn’t read about the pit bull that ate six kids. lol. Idiot.” This is a very common tactic, and it’s obviously deceitful, used to make the responder look like the one who is correct by, basically, shouting the loudest. My last article on the alt-right left plenty of room for exceptions, and stated so repeatedly regarding libertarians [though it still led to someone criticizing the statement “most of the libertarians that I know” as incorrect, even though the caveat is right there–“that I know”], but I’m on the record as pointing this out previously: we are never dealing in absolutes.
When we do go to various alt-right Youtubers, we do find a number underlying trends:
Hatred of political correctness and PC culture. I myself have criticized political correctness and the demonization of hate speech on several occasions, but I’m not alt-right. Clearly, this isn’t enough to warrant someone being alt-right.
Acceptance of LGB, but hatred of transgenderism. I’m not sure that there’s actually any acceptance of lesbians, gays, and bisexuals going on; I think instead that they’re simply accepting of LGB conservatives, in the same way that Democrats and outspoken LGBTQ groups are only accepting of LGBTQ liberals. However, even accepting LGB, the alt-right still has major hatred for transgenderism, to the extent that it’s almost a dead giveaway that someone is alt-right.
Criticism of BLM. Again, I have criticized Black Lives Matter as being racist, and it’s a statement that I have demonstrated. By definition, yes, BLM is racist.
Acceptance of police brutality. “The police are good guys. If they shoot you, you must have deserved it.” This ties into the above point, especially when a white person is shot, and they immediately start clamoring, “Where is BLM speaking up for this white kid who was killed?” Conversely, they may use this examples of police brutality against white people to write off the concerns of BLM. The Non-Believer has a video that does this, by showing a lot of police brutality against white people, he attempted to undermine the claims that police use brutality with racist motives by ignoring the brutality and addressing the racist part.
Male/Straight/White Pride. This is the indicator. This is, by a wide margin, the single best identifier of who is alt-right and who isn’t. It’s not universal–I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mark Dice talk of Male Pride, Straight Pride, or White Pride. So let me clarify this point–
They play identity politics, but as white people, straight people, or male people. Mark Dice has done this, repeatedly, by pointing out that Twitter turns a blind eye to racism committed by black people while banning any white person who says something racist. He does an excellent job of documenting such actions, and I’d almost say that Mark Dice isn’t really alt-right but just kinda exists in his own political group. Instead of arguing that the speaker’s skin color shouldn’t be a factor when determining whether they said something race, Dice argues that people with black skin color should be treated the same way. Again, it’s like my MLK point; it may have the same short-term result, but “how we get there” is critically important, as the method dictates the long-term result because it keeps skin color as a factor.
It is hard to provide any direct evidence that the alt-right is a reactionary movement to SJWism, because… it’s just kinda what happened. We all saw it. I’m more shocked that it has to be explained than anything, because… didn’t we all watch it happen, live, in real time? Didn’t we all hear the same complaints raised, the same objections, the same points? Didn’t we all notice the revulsion of Political Correctness with widespread usages of “nigga,” “fag,” and so on? Didn’t we all notice the “Proud White Male” bumper stickers? Not displayed publicly, of course, on vehicles or anything. No, certainly not–in the backgrounds of people’s videos.
Again, all I can do is point to specific occurrences, and I’ve done so in the past, so I won’t do so again. Infowars brought us the video of a [white, it may be worth mentioning here] Hillary supporter calling a black man a race traitor for supporting Trump. They threw away all pretense of trying to argue for their candidate; instead it was, “We’ll just call everyone else names.” This isn’t uncommon.
We all saw it, right? No, it wasn’t universal and unanimous, but, generally, it was definitely true. And this is just the worst; it has been going on for a very long time. It was predicted, in fact, that there would rise a white, male, straight, Christian identity group to combat the left’s identity groups. I made the prediction in 2012 as I Over E, though that site has long been gone. Anyone watching should have been able to figure it out; it was right there, as plain as day. Why would people expect anything else to happen?
It is the same underlying trend that caused me to predict Trump’s victory as early as December 2015, and the same underlying trend that caused me to predict an upcoming civil war. I’m sorry to say, but it’s all right there, plain as day for anyone to look. There’s no hard evidence, no, because it’s impossible to provide hard evidence for generalized statements that were extrapolated from specific instances. Such is the nature of sociology. The writing is on the wall; one either sees it, or one doesn’t.