This reaction to Milo and the Alt Right was written as quickly as it took to type it so it’s definitely not a firm take.
I participated in the birth of the Alt Right, back in 2008. (Nathan Wyatt is a nom de guerre, so you won’t find writing under this name prior to 2010.) For more on the origins and meaning of the Alternative Right, check out Richard Spencer’s reflections here.
The term “Alternative Right” appealed to me immediately when I first heard it. This is partly due to the intellectual reasons Spencer cites in his video–the need for an alternative helped describe a desire to reject multiculturalism and unreflective liberalism, without embracing the dinosaurs of the conservative movement, with their pleated pants and mindless Middle Eastern wars.
It probably also appealed to me because, in my mind, “alternative” was connected to the first music I heard that belonged to my generation–bands like Nirvana and Alice in Chains–and by extension a wider, more diffuse culture and experience. While there certainly isn’t a full analogy to be made between my early auditory experiences and my later political reflections, with a little explanation I could connect the “End of History” desires of Fukuyama and the neocons with the nihilism and revolt of the Seattle grunge scene. (By the way, drugs are bad, mmmkay, but I still enjoy Alice in Chains.)
As Richard indicates in his video, much of what occurred under the “Alternative Right” label was exploratory and experimental. Many of us were passing through, variously, anarcholibertarian and paleoconservative phases of thought, and gaining our first impressions of IQ studies, human biodiversity, and the European New Right, while we continued to study history and civilization in the background. All of us definitely had travelled far upstream in our search for meaning, and having met each other, we debated which direction to take next.
Afterwards I took a long break from blogging and conferencing. In the meantime Spencer continued to promote the Alternative Right, and now the movement has its own life and influence. Case in point: gay catholic journo/iconoclast Milo Yiannopoulos may or may not have traded up on his activity and his Alt Right identity in favor of something closer to mainstream respectability as a Buzzfeed editor.
Whether that’s actually occurred isn’t deeply interesting, but the arc of the Alt Right is. Broadly, there are two takes.
Take one–a likely Spencerite attitude: Our aim is influence. We want our ideas to become part of the background assumptions of the culture at large (see also: Greg Johnson on metapolitics), and we can’t do that if we’re dogmatic and inflexible about how that influence occurs. Milo may be a preening gay attention whore who postures his self-aware homosexuality into a kind of extended pratfall, and it can be argued that he “used” Alt Right to get ahead in some way. But that’s exactly what this project is supposed to look like–other people adopting our ideas and our jargon, even if they don’t fully share our identity. You can pick nits from dusk to dawn about a person’s perceived differences and failings in relation to your ideal, but if he’s to some extent become a foot soldier in your ideological army, you’ve succeeded. In order for someone to “trade up” on Alt Right, Alt Right has to have some value independent of your private ideological fetishizing, and that is a positive sign.
Take two–a likely Linderite attitude: Alt Right was garbage to begin with, and just like every other proxy label ever conceived, it distracts from core truths and necessities. Richard Spencer and his team are milquetoast cowards in the end, and “Alternative Right” is merely an expression of their inability to man up and say what they know: Jews are the enemy, as is anyone who isn’t explicitly and directly pro-white. The fact that their “movement” is now primarily represented by a Jewish faggot and a confused Catholic degenerate illustrates their ultimate value. They are an insidious false flag.
I lack the time to give my own full impression, which is largely provisional anyway. But my reaction to most controversies in my movement is: yes. We should be having them. They’re a sign that we’re maintaining our critical faculties and distance. Personally, I appreciate Milo while also recognizing him for what he is, and I think he does, too–right-wing shit lords might consider whether they’d prefer a self-outed sodomite like Milo to the sort of closeted gays who import their multicult preferences under the labels of apparent normalcy and respectability.