Pharisees of the alt-right

The alt-right/alt-light rift that opened in December 2016 continues to widen.

As most already know, a rendition of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” held in New York City’s Central Park was disrupted by agitators Laura Loomer and Jack Posobiec. It’s possible they were paid to disrupt the event. Because paid protesting and disrupting events is normally associated with left-wing groups and behavior (SJWs, BLM, antifa, etc.), this elicited rebuke by many on the right.

When leftists step out of line, there is much less rebuke by other leftists. When Bernie Sanders in 2015 expressed reservations about immigration, he got some criticism by the left but they didn’t disavow him. It’s one thing to criticize a political or ideological position, but another to completely disavow the person or question his loyalty or character.

The far-right (which includes alt-right and alt-lite and the dozens of other variants in between) exhibits a tendency to fall into these holiness spirals, whereby virtue and purity is signaled by disavowing and renouncing. Whereas left-wing holiness spirals are characterized by increasingly small concentric rings of the oppressed (women, minority women, disabled minority women, etc.), with whoever is able to signal solidarity with the smallest conceivable ring as the ‘winner’ for being the most virtuous, right-wing spirals involve exclusion rather than inclusion. This makes the far-right fractious, whereas the far-left is more cohesive.

Here is James Alltop regarding Laura Loomer and Jack Posobiec as Alt-Lite SJWs:

To some extent, I agree…it’s naive to equate a rendition of “Julius Caesar” as advocating for the assassination of Trump, especially considering the play depicted President Barack Obama in a similar manner, suggesting no inherent political bias or malevolence.

Popehat wights in too Popehat: Free Speech, The Goose, And The Gander:

The “eye for an eye” theory of respecting free speech is particularly pernicious because it represents the worst sort of collectivism, something the principled Right ought reject. Note that people who say “apply the Liberals’ own rules to the Liberals” aren’t disrupting, say, an Antifa rally or the meeting of some Berkeley student group that advocated shutting down a conservative speaker. They’re disrupting other people entirely, on the theory that everyone they deem part of the nebulous collective “Liberal” deserves to be silenced because someone else in that nebulous collective engaged in silencing behavior. The actors and playgoers in New York, under this theory, deserve to be shut down because they stand responsible for the acts of all “liberals” everywhere. (The suggestion that anyone going to see Julius Ceasar must be a liberal does not reflect a very healthy self-image amongst the Right.) This closely resembles the logic of hecklers on college campuses, who argue that nearly any conservative speaker stands responsible for Klansmen and neo-Nazis and overt bigots everywhere. It’s contemptible and can be used to justify doing nearly anything to nearly anyone. It’s the sentiment behind saying American Muslims may fairly be oppressed because Christians are oppressed in Saudi Arabia — even while celebrating our nation having greater freedoms than Saudi Arabia.

Isn’t disrupting an antifa rally tautological. But I look at it like this: If leftists are allowed to disrupt right-wing events and even non-partisan speakers innumerable times and with impunity, I think the ‘right’ should have a chance to do it at least once to return the favor, to give the left a taste of their own medicine. This should not become a habit for the right, but it holds a mirror to the left’s own behavior. Look at all the attention the alt-right has gotten over the past few days.

There is a perception that the alt-lite is sacrificing principles for easy money. But the belief that what Cernovich does is easy and or easily reproducible, is false. If the goal is to make money, there are far easier ways (such as stocks and Bitcoin) than peddling books, advertising, and pills. Selling books at a profit is extremely hard. If you put a gun to my head and told me I had 6 weeks to sell $1,000 of books (approx 100 books) at a profit (which means I can’t just insert a $20 bill into a $5 book), I would fail. To sell a lot books, you need a huge audience, and building a large audience is not a trivial task…companies–but also public figures–spend millions of dollars trying to figure out how out get people to ‘like’ them. Jeb Bush spent $130 million in 2014-2016 trying to get voters to like him, obviously with nothing to show for his efforts, whereas Trump spent close to nothing. As I explain here, copying the ‘mainstream’ stuff, although it seems deceptively easy, is actually harder because there is so much competition, but also because the traffic is hard to convert into sales (a person who is reading the latest outrage story often isn’t in a book-buying mood). There are thousands of news and blog sites all covering the same stuff, many of these sites with million dollar marketing and publishing budgets behind them. To stand out you have to offer something truly exceptional.

Most people blog part time, but if someone does it full-time they probably need some way to make money from it.

The alt-lite can also serve a bridge or liaison to the alt-right, but the tendency of the alt-lite to parrot conventional right-wing talking points (such as the cringe-worthy ‘dems r real racists’) and a single-minded fealty to The Administration (not just Trump but also the cabinet, staff, etc.) even when it’s obvious parts of the administration are a hindrance, is annoying, but in fairness some are worse than others in this regard. But the shit tests, spiraling, and purity tests that you sometimes see on the alt-right are also tiresome.

But the weird thing is, Richard Spencer is attacked by both the alt-lite and the alt-right–for being too extreme or ‘unprincipled’ (not pure enough). Just goes to show how it’s hard to please people when you’re a public figure.

From the ‘pozzcast’

23:50 minutes into the podcast they criticize Spencer for not going on alt-right podcasts, but that is after they spend an hour trashing the guy…I wonder why he doesn’t want to go on podcasts.