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Tom Woods: The Alt-Right

From the video description:

Paul Gottfried, longtime veteran of the American Right and foe of the yawn-inducing “conservative movement,” discusses the significance of what has become known as the “alt right.”

My take:

1.) I haven’t heard from Paul Gottfried in years. I used to read his articles all the time at VDARE. I’m assuming that is mainly because there is just so much more content out there now than was the case back in the 2000s. It is a much bigger scene now.

2.) In the early 2000s, there was an “Alternative Right” that hated George W. Bush and was alienated from mainstream conservatism. At the time, we inhabited vBulletin messageboards like The Phora which I ran from 2001 until 2006. We discussed a mix of rightwing discourses on any given day drawn mainly from paleoconservatism, paleolibertarianism and White Nationalism.

3.) Gottfried is correct. In the Bush years, there was an “Alternative Right” of older paleocons and libertarians who were on the outside looking in at the neocons in Washington. At the same time, there was a younger generation of Gen X’ers and Millennials who were in their twenties and who were congealing into the “Alt-Right.” Unlike the older paleocons, we were much more influenced by White Nationalism, Nietzsche, Foucault, the European New Right and so on.

4.) As the Alt-Right evolved online, it began to interact with new dissident elements like the Men’s Rights Activists and Neoreaction which emerged in recent years.

5.) From 2008, the Alt-Right as exists today began to congeal into a self-conscious online scene. I first met Richard Spencer and Greg Johnson in 2009. AlternativeRight.com was launched in 2010. By that point, the main players already knew each other in the real world.

6.) In the early 2000s, the nascent Alt-Right was alienated from George W. Bush and mainstream conservatism. In 2001, I started out with Pat Buchanan, quickly discovered White Nationalism, and soon afterwards discovered American Renaissance, VDARE and LewRockwell.com. While I was in college, I plunged into history and philosophy and moved from Nietzsche to Foucault and postmodernism to Alasdair MacIntyre and Aristotle in roughly that order. I also spent a lot of time studying Old South and became familiar with Robert Barnwell Rhett, John C. Calhoun, George Fitzhugh, etc.

7.) According to Michel Foucault, discourses are “systems of thought composed of ideas, attitudes, courses of action, beliefs and practices that systematically construct the subjects and the worlds of which they speak.” This is how I think of the Alt-Right. It is a discourse which we have constructed in online communities and at real world conferences from a variety of sources. It has grown organically in spaces we have created. It continues to evolve to this day as new people interact with it. Pepe, for example, wasn’t associated with the Alt-Right until the last few years.

8.) As for the welfare state, I really don’t believe in abstract universal principles, so I don’t believe it has the same consequences across all human populations. Since I also believe human populations differ in a variety of ways, it seems reasonable to me that the welfare state in Iceland and Nigeria would produce different outcomes. At least I wouldn’t be surprised to see that.

9.) Paul Gottfried is an expert of the American conservative movement. I was never involved with that movement. Quite honestly, I didn’t find it interesting enough to study. At this point, I think lots of young people involved with the Alt-Right never joined or identified with conservatism.

10.) I would agree that White Nationalism is at the core of the Alt-Right. We approach economics and foreign policy from the perspective of its impact on White people. Is this foreign policy in our interests? That’s the sort of question the Alt-Right would ask while neocons would appeal to “principles” and “values” like human rights which are allegedly universal.

11.) In response to Paul Gottfried on White Nationalism, a.) we don’t believe in holding together to the Right, b.) whiteness was the core of American identity until the late 20th century, c.) we have actually been very successful in delegitimizing the Lügenpresse, d.) we believe it is essential to recognize the ethnic nature of the “multicultural Left” because this really isn’t a new problem and e.) finally we have been more successful than paleoconservatism.

12.) As for White Nationalism not going anywhere, all I can say to that is stand back and watch. Now that White Millennials have children of their own and have been forced to confront the realities of the multiracial integrated public school system, that is rapidly changing.

13.) President Trump humiliated the mainstream Right. What’s more, we’re nowhere near as isolated as the paleocons. We have smartphones and social media and can easily fight back against mainstream narratives. If that wasn’t the case, President Trump would have been taken out a long time ago. We don’t need a television station to propagate our discourse at the expense of the “mainstream.”

14.) Speaking for myself alone here, I don’t read print newspapers or magazines. I get the vast majority of my information online. My 2-year-old son has a tablet.

15.) Even the SPLC agrees that the idea that White Nationalists are “totally marginalized” is laughable. There is no such thing as the “mainstream” anymore. The “mainstream” was a product of the consolidated media environment of the late 20th century. Ultimately, it was based on control of television and the ability to confer “respectability” on some discourses while ruling others out of bounds as “fringe.” The “mainstream” is dead as a doornail in the world of Twitter and YouTube.

16.) In response to Tom Woods, the Alt-Right is concerned with a number of issues like identity, cultural collapse, demographic change and so on that have been neglected by conservatives and libertarians. They really haven’t addressed these issues. By and large, they have chickened out.

17.) In response to Paul Gottfried, we can make due without the resources of the mainstream conservative movement because media platforms are so cheap now. It would be nice to have more paid writers. I would certainly love to get paid a salary to do this. Would you say though that Jonah Goldberg or David Frum in 2017 have the same influence and legitimacy within the Right that they enjoyed in 2003?

18.) We can easily compete against National Review and The Weekly Standard. As Tom Woods points out, the average National Review subscriber is 66-years-old. Young people aren’t even reading these cucks. In reality, they are at the nadir of their influence.

19.) Infowars is a prime example of how we don’t need a television network to influence the masses. We can exploit video as a medium without needing our own FOX News.

20.) We’re not “more and more isolated.” That’s not how the rightwing media ecosystem works. Just look at Breitbart or UK Daily Mail. Both of those websites push our narratives for us. I don’t even have to write about how refugees are destroying Europe because the popular website in the UK is doing it for us. They are pushing our narratives because the “mainstream” is dead and their audience has moved toward us.

21.) As this interview progresses, it becomes increasingly evident that Gottfried is 17 years behind the times. He can’t imagine paleocons having any cultural impact short of a sugar daddy creating a paleo version of FOX News. The average FOX News viewer is 68-years-old though. Tucker Carlson Tonight is so popular because it caters to a younger demographic that is already immersed in our narratives.

22.) Breitbart can disavow the term “Alt-Right,” but if it is pushing narratives that you would have found seven years ago on, say, Stormfront it is nothing but semantics. It is arguing over a label.

23.) Gottfried continues to be obsessed with “acquiring resources.” Anyone can exploit WordPress, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Periscope and other social media platforms for free. You can also sell your own books on Amazon. Some of the brands like Paul Joseph Watson have hundreds of thousands of followers. He doesn’t even live in the United States and influences our politics.

Comment

35 comments

  1. Geert Wilders 6 March, 2017 at 05:19 Reply

    Jesus Christ, starting at (point 11) I felt like I was reading an updated manifesto of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, from an Alt-right standpoint that is! “Who are we?” are you guys making this stuff up as you go along? After I profiled the main players who speak at these NPI events and observed your ‘modus operandi’, there doesn’t seem to be a categorical listing of public policy from you that I can participate in.

    Take for example a public policy on credit cards. Say I didn’t believe in using credit cards to obtain material things, but the rest of you did in the millions, would this hurt me? The cost of living isn’t rising because I’m not using credit to stimulate the economy like the rest of you are but I’m still effected by the price I now pay at the checkout line, I don’t believe that’s fair. What would members of the NPI or Alt-right do to address this issue? (Government discount card – I would start a class action lawsuit against the Federal Agency to create a subsidy that is retroactive to the 1950’s when credit cards were first issued. What would the discounted percentage be at the check out line? 10%, 30%, or 268% (4% growth over 67 yrs)

    I feel you guys are more like the “dead poet society” were you are sharpening your socio-political views awaiting opportunity to project before an audience at an NPI conference and that in itself would be your crowning moment or rapture. Perhaps I’m more of an activist wanting to solve real world problems by helping people, I just haven’t found gratification in dressing up in a “dick” suit having my crotch grabbed by TSA, flying several hundred miles to attend an awesome conference and hobnobbing with giants and elephants in the room.

    • Evolver1 6 March, 2017 at 09:01 Reply

      Do give us more details about your being an “activist,” and how you are solving “real world problems by helping people.” Should be interesting after your reference to the Protocols.

      • Geert Wilders 6 March, 2017 at 16:26 Reply

        Evolver1, sure thing right after you expound upon my questions first. Who is “us”? There are to many ‘think tanks’ thinking and that is a problem in itself. You do understand should the brand “Spencer exit stage left, the Alt-right will become as still as the sea of Galilee and Jesus doesn’t even have to be present!

  2. Jessica 6 March, 2017 at 02:08 Reply

    I would like to see an Alt-Right network television station, so I wouldn’t have to line the pockets of a cable or satellite company. Roku channels are nice, too. Probably cheaper to operate since they are internet based. 🙌

  3. Eugene Nix 5 March, 2017 at 16:27 Reply

    This write-up is excellent. I followed nearly the same evolution, but in different circles. Hell, I have been trolling this way for years far before 4chan even existed.

  4. Eugene Nix 5 March, 2017 at 16:21 Reply

    You ran The Phora? I don’t remember The Phora too much, but it was far far better than VNNF or Stormfront. I think I trolled it as Shaun Goldstein, after some mysterious korean found my Shaun Goldstein persona on xanga and pilfered it for his own purposes.

  5. josh 5 March, 2017 at 07:02 Reply

    Gottfried’s ignorance of the details of the alt-right surprised me. Wasn’t this guy friends with Spencer? You’d think that he’d be more clued in to the alt-right.

    • Eric080 5 March, 2017 at 15:43 Reply

      Yeah that made Gottfried sound totally out of touch.

      I wouldn’t write off TV per se, since it still has some cachet. Older people still vote, and shit like Rachel Maddow gets trending on Twitter or Youtube just by virtue of her having a production behind her. But it won’t be essential in the future.

      Our issue though will be if/when Twitter/Google lays the hammer down in terms of censorship. The alt-right needs access online, because that’s all it has.

      • Jessica 6 March, 2017 at 02:16 Reply

        I would like to see an Alt-Right show in the style of the TYT channel (but obviously infinitely better because: truth). Most of the channels I’ve seen that follow a similar format are Alt-Lite… Do you know of one that exists?

  6. Marcus 4 March, 2017 at 17:22 Reply

    Foucault has done untold damage to Western society! My ‘Cultural Studies’ professors loved him. He denied reality, after all.

  7. Simon_in_London 4 March, 2017 at 16:31 Reply

    Good dissection. I like Gottfried but he’s part of a Culture of Failure that the Alt-Right left behind.

  8. Hipster Racist 4 March, 2017 at 15:24 Reply

    “The “mainstream” was a product of the consolidated media environment of
    the late 20th century. Ultimately, it was based on control of television
    and the ability to confer “respectability” on some discourses while
    ruling others out of bounds as “fringe.””

    Excellent point.

  9. SLCain 4 March, 2017 at 15:14 Reply

    The internet has been a revolution in communications – the greatest since moveable-type printing. And it has enabled the growth of the alt-right. Tom Ford is right – the old media environment is collapsing. The old right is dying – literally dying off. A lot of FOX News viewers were old people, who’d turn it on to fill their retirement condos up with some noise – the kind of people who’s week revolves around doctor’s appointments. Old ladies who thought Megyn Kelly was smart, and old men who liked to watch her because it was easier than stopping at the liquor store to pick up an issue of Penthouse. You only have to look at the ads that are shown during Hannity or the O’Reilly Factor – catheters, Life-Alert, diabetes supplies, reverse mortgages – to get an idea of who was watching them.

    The left was, to a certain extent, handicapped by their success. They don’t need the internet, because they had academia, Hollywood, and the “respectable” press. Not needing it, they were not adept in developing a presence there. They have a presence, but it doesn’t seem as effective.

    The new right is a qualitatively different thing than what has gone before; younger, smarter, more sophisticated, more aggressive. When southern white nationalists like Hunter Wallace are influenced by writers like Michel Foucault…………..that is a new world we are living in.

  10. Evolver1 4 March, 2017 at 15:00 Reply

    Ah, the constant argument about labels. I went from conservative to libertarian to White Nationalist and I’ve probably now landed as a White Egoist or maybe a White DNAist–which mean if it is good for Whites it is good, and that Whites must ask of everything: Is this good for Whites?

  11. F88 4 March, 2017 at 09:43 Reply

    So, on one hand proposition nation is a silly idea that can’t work in real world, on the other hand proposition political movement is only reasonable way to go. Gotta include the niggers and every other goyim in fighting for white race! Maybe should even import some more from 3rd world to help us?

  12. Rascal 4 March, 2017 at 09:29 Reply

    In the United states it has gotten to the point where you can make a very good estimation of someones age, ethnicity, and economic status simply by listening to them talk about the political future. Gottfried is definitely a product of his time.

    • Y Finkelstein 4 March, 2017 at 14:55 Reply

      Yup.

      Gottfried: We need a Rupert Murdoch type benefactor to fund our magazines and a cable news channel.

      Gottfried does not understand that cable news and magazines are dying media. Indeed, its why you see electric scooter, reverse mortgage, and Diabetes ads on Cable news.

  13. Avi Marranazo 4 March, 2017 at 04:08 Reply

    Thanks for highlighting Tom Woods. He’s both a brilliant writer and speaker, who I think is more sympathetic to our ideas than he explicitly states in writing. I say this based on comments I’ve heard him make during the Q&A sessions after presentations.

  14. WR_the_realist 4 March, 2017 at 03:02 Reply

    I think only two newspapers endorsed Donald Trump and one of those was the National Enquirer. All of the TV media hates him, except for Fox which is at least somewhat neutral. Hollywood hates Trump. And Trump won despite this. So the best thing about the victory of Trump is that it has shown how hollow the power of the mass media has become. Now there are certainly some things I don’t like about Trump. He’s way too much of a Zionist, and this desire for both tax cuts and a big military spending increase will vastly increase the national debt (as Reagan’s similar policies did). But still,he has touched the third rail of immigration, enraging the mass media and the left, which no candidate since Buchanan has done, and he won anyway.

    • Robert Bruce 17 July, 2017 at 00:34 Reply

      Hollywood is going through an “Idiocracy” metamorphosis in that it is going for the $$$$$$$$ and just doing action flicks and cartoons. The old Hollywood liberal elite is aging, and if you noticed dramas are almost non existent as any drama movie released is usually indie and only in select theatres anymore. Viewership is tanking for the Oscars since nobody ever sees the movies up for the big awards. I get more laughs via You tube than I do from network sitcoms.

  15. Evola-Chan 4 March, 2017 at 00:26 Reply

    It’s pretty painful how blind Gottfried is on the matter of influence and growth. Nobody cares about Newt Gingrich or any other cuckservatives anymore. The most popular mainstream forces on the right are being fed our narratives (Tucker Carlson is basically Alt-Light, and Bill O’Reilly recently adopted the term “anti-white”). We don’t need a television network because the people we need to be reaching don’t watch television news, they watch PewDiePie.

    Also, I would like to point out that while the peak tradition of Western Civilization might not be ovenposting, nearly every well-born European before the 20th century would side with us over rootless Libertarian garbage in a heartbeat. We will win because we are necessary, not because we are respectable.

  16. VictoryOrValhalla 3 March, 2017 at 19:58 Reply

    Philsophically I’ve mostly formed on my own, with large influence from multiple Greek, Roman, Nordic, mythos and sources with a firm belief in the Hegelian dialectic. I could (and have) go(ne) on for hours but I won’t.
    Anyway, I agree with you across the board here, but I’m not the “sit back and watch” type; inaction bodes apathy. We cannot relent until hold decisive control politically and demographically. Assuming I’m reading correctly, you’re right on resources: Twitter, Facebook, etc. are nice and I do understand the need to engage the normies on Lefty platforms and all, but establishing our own platforms such as the one I’m reading right now is also of high importance.
    Philosophy is beautiful, and a very important part of this movement and White culture.

  17. Y Finkelstein 3 March, 2017 at 19:11 Reply

    Hunter, you are the first prominent Alt Righter who has expressed that Foucault influenced him. Personally, I found Foucault and his study of the Panopticon dense and dreary.

    But there are many disparate philosophical influences running through the Alt Right. I was in college when I began reading Frankfurt School theorists like Horkheimer, Adorno, and Habermas. This was after Richard Spencer explained the value in OUR SIDE using critical theory to deconstruct the left and multiculturalism. Without such nuanced arguments, I probably would have dismissed the Frankfurt School as more Jew bullshit.

    For myself, I found Carl Schmitt, Habermas, and Evola to be the most important thinkers for our current situation.

    I assume Gottfried is retired. Both Gottfried and Woods were strong writers and helped convert me away from the left. However, they remain committed to Paleoconservatism/Libertarianism which I feel is a dead movement.

    • Evola-Chan 4 March, 2017 at 00:30 Reply

      Gottfried is just projecting the hopelessness he feels for the failure of his own movement (a staple of Paleoconservatism) onto the Alt-Right, which is why he can’t accept that we are the future.

      • WR_the_realist 4 March, 2017 at 03:34 Reply

        Actually James Edwards of the Political Cesspool describes himself as a paleoconservative. There are few issues where he disagrees with Pat Buchanan.