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Donald Trump and Fascism

Donald Trump’s campaign continues to perplex talking heads in the media and Republican Party bigwigs. How can this media buffoon continue to say all the wrong things, act like a bully, and maintain a commanding polling position over sound conservative candidates? The answer is actually quite simple: Trump is connecting to voters in a way that is not commonly accepted in American politics.

Trump connects to the fascist in all of us.

The Left and Right throw around fascist as a pejorative far too often, rarely with a firm understanding of the ideologies’ philosophical and historical foundations. There are countless fine sources examining the history of fascism, but for our purposes here, I will construct its defining characteristics from Kevin Passmore’s Fascism: A Very Short Introduction and Chris Berlet’s preface to Russ Bellant’s book Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party.

 Fascism is not synonymous with militarism, dictatorship, and racism (although it often incorporates all those elements to some degree). A figure or regime may possess all of those characteristics and not be fascist in nature. While I don’t intend this to be a study of fascism as an idea, we do need a functioning definition when discussing Trump and his perceived fascist tendencies. Rather than painting fascism as “things we don’t like,” I will apply this simplified definition:

  1. Fascism is revolutionary. It attempts to change the system through revolutionary means and create a new man in the process.
  2. Fascism is often built around a cult of personality.
  3. Fascism is opposed to mass democracy, and believes the interests of the common people require a leader that is above the political fray.
  4. Fascism is socialist/collectivist but opposed to modernity.
  5. Fascism celebrates political violence against its perceived enemies at home and abroad.

Based on these criteria, can Trump be described as fascist?

  1. Trump is not revolutionary. He is not arguing that he will reshape man and the U.S., just that he can “Make America Great Again!” His entire campaign bio celebrates his mainstream success. Regardless of the tough-guy, macho persona, he isn’t advocating for a radical reconstruction of society.
  2. Trump does not have a cult built around his personality. This point is the most arduous to address, as Trump has been a media personality for some time and has crafted a very specific image for himself. He celebrates his financial success, and paints himself as a firm leader that speaks tough truths without mincing words. Many of his supporters are attracted to his brash, take-no-prisoners approach to politics that is rather uncommon for a figure running for president on a major party ticket. However, a cult of personality requires a deifying of a political figure to quasi-religious heights. The following excerpt from O. Avdienko to Joseph Stalin illustrates what a cult of personality looks like.

    “Thank you, Stalin. Thank you because I am joyful. Thank you because I am well. No matter how old I become, I shall never forget how we received Stalin two days ago. centuries will pass, and the generations still to come will regard us as the happiest of mortals, as the most fortunate of men, because we lived in the century of centuries, because we were privileged to see Stalin, our inspired leader. Yes, and we regard ourselves as the happiest of mortals because we are the contemporaries of a man who never had an equal in world history.”

    Trump-mentum hasn’t reached that height.

  3. Trump stands above political bickering, but is democratic. One of his major selling points is his wealth makes him less susceptible to political correctness and special interests. Richard Spencer noted the irony of a billionaire selling himself as a populist figure, but the fact that Trump doesn’t need to grovel at the feet of donors actually allows him to speak about taboo topics in a way other candidates cannot. As previously noted, Trump is not attempting to subjugate the political process to his will, and must still be considered democratic by nature.
  4. Trump is not collectivist. This is where we must unroot fascism from its incarnations in the 20s, 30s, and 40s. It is hard to imagine any Republican candidate arguing for a nationalizing of industry, and Trump seems far more comfortable fostering his individualist business persona. Perhaps this has more to do with American political rhetoric and discourse, but his political tendencies do not define a clear mission for its people the way fascism does. Collectivism is thus used to focus a people’s creative, artistic, and industrial output towards a common goal. Nothing in Trump’s campaign or persona points in this direction.
  5. Trump doesn’t (quite) celebrate political violence. Trump has made a name for himself in this campaign by addressing fears many whites have about immigration and displacement. Trump has painted Mexican immigrants (not just of the “illegal” variety) as inherently un-American; they are criminals and miscreants that undermine our laws and ways of life. Not only does Trump say he will build a wall along the southern border, but he will get Mexico to pay for it. This affirms his image as a figure capable of achieving what others could not, while also creating a clear “other” to direct animosity towards.

Political violence on the Right has been simmering for some time, and Trump’s rhetoric about Mexicans and immigrants is where the closest links to fascism lie. Clearly, he isn’t endorsing violence against them, but if Trump’s slogan is “Make America Great Again!” it’s clear what group caused the fall to begin with.

Based on the criteria above, I think it is wrong to call Trump a fascist. Applying the label gives the man too much credit; he is a media personality who found a niche in the current political climate of mediocrity and uniform sloganeering, exploiting it effectively. In my unsubstantiated opinion, I imagine Trump ran for president because he figured he would get some free publicity and accolades, and planned to drop out and endorse a candidate who groveled before him like a landed duke from times of yore. I doubt he expected to be the zeitgeist of many white voters whose fears of ethnic displacement are ignored or vilified by the media and political establishment. Without a clear vision for the future (and his ego larger than ever), Trump must continue onward, even if he has no plan for winning the primary, let alone running the country.

Yet, fascism is more than a single political figure. It is an ideology that lurks in the mind of any who feel the modern world is fraudulent and wicked. Fascism, at its core, is a desire for meaning and order and a rejection of the slow parliamentarism characterized by diverse pluralistic democracies. The enduring quality of fascism is that it is in all of us, but only rarely manifests itself politically.

Trump has catapulted to the top of the polls because a political and ideological movement has been stirring on the Right for decades. This Identitarian and Neo-Reactionary undertaking sees in Trump a desire by white voters to address orthodoxies on immigration and race often excluded by the Republican beltway. In the last few years, I have made it a habit of reading fringe Right-wing websites and their political trajectory (more on the movement and its ideology here). In regards to Trump, I began to see a trend develop across the Identitarian sphere, and the following arguments were culled from those sources.

None of the Identitarian sites I follow describe themselves as fascist, although they do connect to many fascist thinkers of last century. What they share is a distrust for modernity; a sense that the modern world has gone off the rails. They are not conservatives by any known American definition, but radicals looking to build a new world from the corrupted current one. So while Trump does not match a fascist under my criteria, and the Identitarian sites are not fascist in the traditional sense, you do see a renewed communitarian Right developing that shares more with Julius Evola and Otto Strasser than William F. Buckley and Ronald Reagan. Trump, a real-estate developer, is the very definition of modernity. Yet, he has found allies in the anti-modernist Identitarian movement, generally because Trump has identified a common foe with these radicals: the establishment, its culture, and immigrants.

Recognizing the buffoonish nature of Trump, while noting the usefulness of his campaign, Gregory Hood argued at Radix Journal:

Trump is worth supporting. He is worth supporting because we need a troll. We need someone who can expose the system that rules us as the malevolent and worthless entity it is. We need someone who can break open public debate. We need someone who can expose and heighten the contradictions within the system. And we need someone who can call out the press, the politicians, and the pseudo-intellectuals as the empty shells they are. The fact that Trump himself is part of this same farce is utterly irrelevant.”

Dragan at The Right Stuff noted Trump’s persona as his true virtue.

We need to understand that cuckservatism comes from following publicly acceptable white male behavior, not just from having publicly acceptable white male beliefs. It comes from fear of leftist reprisal, or being misrepresented by media outlets who already hate you for being white anyway. Most of us have nothing to lose for that reason. When a white man like Trump realized that leftists will hate him no matter how he talked, and when he rejected publicly acceptable white male behavior wholesale, changes in public dialogue started taking place. He should be seen as a model for how to be a white man in the public eye.”

Matt Parrott, while not endorsing Trump’s candidacy, sees in him political inroads for the Right.

Trump’s populist candidacy most certainly presents opportunities for nationalists. We can learn from both Donald Trump and Ann Coulter several lessons on how to effectively present our message to normies in an accessible and populist manner. We can ramp up our coverage of and activism relating to these issues with the hopes of attracting the attention and support of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who’ve become evangelized and energized by these mainstream figures.”

 Trump is not a fascist, but the Identitarian movement has found in the man an imperfect vessel to promote their ideas. In de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Alexis contended:

“I do not know if the people of the United States would vote for superior men if they ran for office, but there can be no doubt that such men do not run.”

Perhaps many Americans have come to accept this proposition, settling on a candidate that is willing to make a farce of the whole institution. Or perhaps, we are seeing the stirrings of a Right not seen in American politics for some time.

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203 thoughts on “Donald Trump and Fascism

      • I haven’t been able yet to find the author or the original source. The fellow who tweeted it out – from among a set of HotAir-vicinity rightwingers amused to find themselves in the second-from-the-left “enemies” sector – didn’t respond to my inquiry, and I’m not sure he knows exactly where it came from.

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    • Argh that chart is horrifying. I don’t know what makes ultra-rightwiners like Taki or Le Pen somewhat less acceptable than Steve Sailer, Kevin B. MacDonald, Derbyshire. They are all equally bigoted to me.

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      • The difference is clearly stated in the chart: The “alt-right” can work with the likes of UKIP, Taki, Limbaugh, Coulter, but is separated from them by “the race gap.”

        All of the people at the furthest right openly and flagrantly speak in racial terms about a positive “white” interest, breaking one of the most fundamental and defining, but possibly eroding taboos of our era. For now, if Ann Coulter “came out” explicitly for “whites,” I think it would become difficult even for Hannity and all of her other friends to keep putting her on, but the taboo may become increasingly difficult to enforce, and I would not be surprised if Coulter and others find new ways to undermine it and safely violate it, not least because the anti-racist left insists on re-constructing a white interest for them, by constantly indicting and thus necessarily conjuring “the white” as adversary and enemy.

        In short, I think in the alt-right view, and reasonably, all of the “edgy cons” point to without ever explicitly asserting what on the far right has traditionally been called a “racialist” perspective – “race” or any of its stand-ins as a meaningful reference point or category, without presumption in regard to particular implications, alliances, or programs. In other words, being a “race realist” (Derbyshire, possibly Charles Murray though Murray doesn’t use that term to my knowledge) wouldn’t necessarily imply a favorable reception to Neo-Nazism or to KKK ideology or the Confederate Flag. I’m not sure exactly what the unknown author sees in Ben Carson, but I suspect his placement on the list is in part meant to underline an actual lack of hostility or prejudice towards non-whites as individuals.

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      • The claim in the chart isn’t that they’re “less-acceptable” to these “Identitarians,” it’s that they’re the extreme right of the Overton Window, people that these “Identitarians” can (and in some cases cases already do) work with and should study to get their more openly racist and proudly retrograde views into the public debate.

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      • As CK points out, I think the big difference is that even folks like Taki, Sailer, and the like use the “hey, I’m not racist, I’m just pointing out the science and if you don’t agree with the science, it just proves liberals are the ones who truly ignore the evidence!”

        On the other hand, the alt-right just simply says, “white people are awesome! Black people aren’t!”

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    • If I’m reading that the Race Gap means the alt-right are those willing to be open about their racism and the rest are not. That being the case what is Le Pen doing left of that gap? Have I been misinformed as I always thought Front National was openly based on white (French) supremacism?

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      • Not sure whether the creator of the chart means father, daughter, or both. The daughter views herself as an ardent French Republican nationalist. Is French really the same as “white”? Is nationalism the same as racism?

        It seems that a significant number of American left-liberal and other intellectuals have internalized certain arguments about inherent connections between racism, nationalism, patriotism, nativism, xenophobia, supremacism, and other phenomena or ideologies – to the point that the words function interchangeably.

        So, for Marine Le Pen to favor France and the French apparently qualifies her as a white supremacist. See also the recent post by Jonathan McLeod for a typical example: The way he treats analysis of a perceived problem relating to Mexico raises the question of how any statement or position relating to immigration by Mexicans could be put in a way that would not qualify as “racist” for him – which in turn raises the question of what we are supposed to understand the charge to mean, or understand the words “race” and “racism” to mean.

        The problem it seems to me is that if racism applies so broadly and widely, including to ideas and positions that the majority or even a vast majority consider reasonable or at least reasonable to consider, and that analysis does not reveal any direct connection to “racial” questions, then the term must over time lose its force, or even its basic intelligibility.

        The aim is to combat and someday eliminate racism, one supposes, but the means chosen seem as likely to void the charge: If the dirtiest word in our political vocabulary becomes presentable again, our anti-racists would have no one to blame but themselves (though one expects they would blame racism, and the racism of others for the inability to understand it it is obviously racism… and so on… and so on…).

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        • To clarify a bit I did not mean just nationalism, rather I was under the impression that they (OK I was thinking of the father) have an ideology that.

          1. There is such a thing as a pure French race that is defined in ethic terms as distinct from French citizenship or nationality and is a subset of a racial group that can be called white or European.
          2. That French race is innately superior to others and deserves privileges to reflect this.
          3. Anyone not of the French race should either leave France or accept an inferior status.

          A non racial nationalism in this context would hold that French citizens regardless of ethnic origin should have privileges over non citizens. An intermediate position might be to make the favoured category citizens by birth over those naturalised.

          I may be utterly wrong about this though.

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          • Aint no expert on the Le Pens. I guess it would be helpful to know where you got those impressions, or where the ideology as you describe it has been articulated. (It may be worth noting that Marine has sought to distance herself from her father and even sought to have him expelled from the party.)

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  1. ” he is a media personality who found a niche in the current political climate of mediocrity and uniform sloganeering, exploiting it effectively. In my unsubstantiated opinion, I imagine Trump ran for president because he figured he would get some free publicity and accolades, and planned to drop out and endorse a candidate who groveled before him like a landed duke from times of yore. I doubt he expected to be the zeitgeist of many white voters whose fears of ethnic displacement are ignored or vilified by the media and political establishment. ”

    Nailed it!

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  2. Fascism is not opposed to modernity. The Fascists were deeply into all factors of modernity from electricity, radio, trains, and movies. Anybody with passing familiarity of futurism, perhaps the only avant garde art movement associated with the Far Right ever, knows that they were deeply in love with modernity in it’s material aspects at least.

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    • and Fair point. I think it would be more accurate to say it was an alternative-modernism, rejecting elements of materialist ideologies of the time, and that at different points in its development embraced or rejected modernity.

      The architecture point is correct as well.

      As for the current right-wingers I examined here, I would put them distinctly in an anti-modernist camp, which again shows how fascism can change when uprooted from its original period.

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    • @leeesq While researching “the Right” this month, I have been reading works by Savitri Devi, which has influenced the definition of fascism above. She was a bizarre figure who was an ardent nazi, and saw in fascism the possibility to build a spiritual anti-modern society.

      She also believes Hitler was the incarnation of a Hindu God. Weird gal to say the least.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savitri_Devi

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      • Someone like that is a bit too sui genersis to be representative of much of anything. I don’t doubt the anti-modern views of Nazism though. The Nazis hated modernity and the excesses of Weimar Berlin almost certainly helped give the Nazis a rise to power. The Great Depression caused the number of Germans supporting the Communists to swell but the Nazis saw a much greater addition to their party roles. The Communists doubled in size from 1928-1932 in Germany. The Nazis went from around 180,000 to over a million members in the same time.

        But someone like Devi was probably not representative of the whole. There were anti-modern mystics in the Nazi Party but I think that was a small subsection rather than the every day brutality of the ordinary Nazi. Rosenberg’s The Myth of the 20th Century was one of the best selling books in Nazi Germany, probably right after Mein Kampf but from what I read it is dense and incoherent and more purchased than read and learned from.

        Most people joined the Nazis out of social and economic shock from the defeat of WWI and two extreme economic disasters in a decade.

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        • Correct, just giving context for the anti-modernism. In fact, the mystical elements of the Nazi movement were suppressed from time to time by the party itself. Some of that was political (an unwillingness to disturb conservative church-going members and authorities) and some of that was ideological.

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        • Perhaps. To echo their statements, I do think many people are looking for something that our consumer, materialist society can not provide. There have always been those looking for meaning in the current world, but it seems more are willingly to actively embrace radical positions that would not have been acceptable in previous decades.

          I am trying to pull a lot of this into a piece about this segment of the Right. The fact that the movement covers pagans who listen to Black Metal and stuffy academic types (and everything in between) is fascinating in my opinion.

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          • I think this is pretty spot on. One of the reasons that I say that the far-left and far-right have more in common than they want to admit is that both share an anti-consumerist and anti-materialist worldview. The left might want a society that is more communal hippie and the right-wing might want something that is more like Tolkien’s idealized Shire but they are both anti-urban and anti-suburb.

            I’m an aesthete and a pragmatist so I don’t really care about consumerism or materialism. My view of liberalism is that the purpose is to make life on earth as painless and post-scarcity as possible. This means a social safety net and it also means things that people want even if it is consumerist.

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            • The convergence between far Left and Right also has to do with the “New Right” adopting the strategies and language that has allowed the Left to gain cultural traction. When I listen to Richard Spencer or Greg Johnson, there are large segments of time that would make you think they are on the far Left. That is, until they start talking about race.

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            • In fact, I would say my crisis of faith in liberalism has to do with wanting more from life and society than the purely materialist explanations provided by modern liberalism. It is what got me reading some of the hard left/right websites, something I had not done since my radical political days of yore.

              Unfortunately, as we have noted in this conversation, there is way too much crazy that goes with the Right’s critique of modernity. Stuff that I simply can’t stomach.

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              • I have no problem with people who want to live in communal type lifestyles or want something spiritual. I am probably just one of the least spiritual and mystical people out there. I don’t have much patience for new-agey spiritual/mystical talk. I am proudly Jewish* but when it comes to the ultimate question of whether God exists or not or if there is life after death, my answers are: probably not and it could be nice but probably not. Considering the wide-ranging number of religions in the world (existing and deceased), it makes no sense for their to be an onmnipotent God and one true religion.

                My issue with the far-left and far-right is that they tend to think there is one true way that we should all live and to that I just need to say “Wait a second, buddy…..” The conceit of liberalism is that there is no such thing as the good life. There is such a thing as a good life and every person should be allowed to find their good life as long as they don’t harm others or mandate their versions on others.

                Now what attracts me more to social liberalism and the welfare state is FDR’s observation that necessitous people are not free people. Freedom from Want is a valid concern for civil government. And like many liberals, I am willing to change my views on what is a necessity as society changes. I’ve gotten into debates about whether Internet access is a human right or necessity and I would say given today’s economy, it is a necessity. I’ve had people tell me that they get get on board with the idea of clothing, shelter, food, water, and medicine as human rights but stuff like transport and internet access is a bridge too far for them.

                Also I’m Jewish so attraction to the far right is just hard for me. There is debate about whether Jews of European origin became white or not for the American context. The Paleoconservatives like Taki and that alt-right remind me that I will always be Jewish and prove Cornell West might be right when he said Jews who think they are white and duping themselves.

                “Even if some Jews do believe that they’re white, I think that they’ve been duped. I think that antisemitism has proven itself to be a powerful force in nearly every post of Western civilization where Christianity has a presence. And so even as a Christian, I say continually to my Jewish brothers and sisters: don’t believe the hype about your full scale assimilation and integration into the mainstream. It only takes an event or two for a certain kind of anti-Jewish, antisemitic sensibility to surface in places that you would be surprised. But I’m just thoroughly convinced that America is not the promised land for Jewish brothers and sisters. A lot of Jewish brothers say, “No, that’s not true. We finally—yeah—they said that in Alexandria. You said that in Weimar Germany. ”

                *I guess you can call it proud cultural Judaism. I am proud to be part of a group that has been part of world culture for 5000 years and made great contributions to world culture. We have given the world Jonas Salk, Levi Strauss, Marc Chagall, Einstein, Feynman, Freud, Benny Goodman, Marc Bolan, Golda Meir, Judy Chicago, Lou Reed, Mel Brooks, George Burns, Artie Shaw, Bella Azburg, Franz Kafka, Amos Oz, Larry David, Amy Schumer, Philip Glass, Alan Ginsburg, Tony Kushner, Arthur Miller, Spinonza, Stefan Zweig, and many more.

                In fact I think you can see that Jews helped as prime movers in the creation of Modernity which is why many Nazis and Fascists embraced anti-Semitism. They rejected modernity. Wagner hated what Jews did to music and the Nazis hated what Jews did to art.

                On the other hand, we have also given the world Adam Sandler.

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          • “I do think many people are looking for something that our consumer, materialist society can not provide. ”

            Note that in Germany at that time, the Nazis were nothing until the Great Depression hit. It seems to me to be a rather materialistic thing.

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        • When things turn to crap, blaming the ‘other’ is a built in reaction. And people can ride that to the top.

          So if your economy is in the toilet, or there’s not enough jobs, or way too many people are struggling and not even achieving the success their parents attained but feel they’re working hard — which is gonna get more traction? “Those Other People/Other Country is to blame!” or “Yeah, we’re all screwed up as a county. We’re pretty crap at being a country here”.

          I suspect deep recessions and Depressions are pretty easily leveraged in some ways — scapegoating has always been a powerful tool, and the bigger the problem the more leverage you can get by finding an enemy and pinning the blame.

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          • This nicely resolves for me a contradiction in conservative thought that had always puzzled me, that America is super great and thou Shalt Not Apologize for it nor shalt thou talk any smack about it, and also America is going down the tubes and moral decay is constantly on the rise and so on. (Or as summarized by Stephen Colbert, it’s time for “re-becoming the greatness we never weren’t”).

            The contradiction resolved: America is going down the tubes because of some kind of not-America screwing things up, rather than (for example) because America itself possesses some tragic flaw that dooms it, or something.

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            • The divisions within the broad “right” in America are about as deep-going and complicated as the ones on the left, so in this discussion talking about contradictions within “conservative thought” as though it represents a single flawed doctrine doesn’t make much sense. The very label “alt-right” should already be a clue. Neoconical Reaganish Great American Patriots are only one flavor, and on the far right there will be many who do not put a very high value on national patriotism if the nation in question is “this” America. You’ll find this outlook or some version of it on the left as well, of course.

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              • …And, even the graphic of the so called “cuckconservative” is really only the most superficial collection of Movement-ish Republicans. It is not in any philosophical sense useful… at best, at literal hit-list.

                Even the term, “Alt-right” as it is starting to gather steam is not a useful distinction… the people in the graphic are a tiny segment of a very particular race-realism stripe; hardly representative of the vast critique of movement conservatism that is readily accessible.

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                • Any movement or would-be movement is going to seek some set of common reference points. The main purpose of the chart appears to be to communicate with and rally a relatively broad selection of internet-active people interested in the “common space” where what-exactly-it-is and who’s-really-in-it can be sorted out over time. So, especially on the left side of the “gap,” it focuses on names that any net-literate symp probably knows.

                  Focusing on the the 12 “Political Pariahs” – actually a heterogeneous assemblage of ideas, symbols, and locations or former locations on the internet as well as of individuals – I recognized only 6 initially, and I suspect that many people who thought they knew a lot about the American right got maybe one or two, plus NRx if active on Twitter… possibly while confusing Richard Spencer with Robert Spencer and wondering if Ramzpaul has anything to do with Rand Paul. You’ve got an atheist-rationalist like Derbyshire in the same box as a new old-fashioned Christian White Supremacist like Heimbach, a hacker/troll like “weev,” a scabrous blogger like Ramzpaul, a 4Chan address, and the abbreviation of a neologism – “HBD” for “human biodiversity” – meant to sanitize and update scientific racism.

                  Some of the figures/items strike me as rather marginal, unlikely ever to be ready for Prime Time or any important function in a “capable political force,” though I’m no expert: For all I know “weev” is a bigger fish than his Wikipedia entry suggests, and some group has taken “HBD” as its name, but hasn’t yet broken through. Yet I also suspect that if you tracked down each reference and familiarized yourself with what it stands for, you’d be in a much better position to hold a conversation with a self-identified Alt-Rightist (or would-be opponent) as they seek to tap into the reservoir of latent “Non-Cuck Con”-ism typical (according to them, and also according to some on the left) of “Most White Americans.”

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                    • You know of a better one that also includes the “Alt-Right”? From their perspective, of course, nothing much socio-politically does make sense except through the prism of race, and, again, there are many on the left who seem to agree with them, and from much more high profile positions.

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            • Umberto Ecco had a ’14 principles of Ur-Fascism’ (title from memory). One thing that that fascism always had one particular contradition: ‘we are the Greatest People Ever!’ *and* ‘we are oppressed’.

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    • I don’t take modernity here to mean technological advances. Militarists of all sorts welcome the advance of technology with genuine pleasure.

      Modernity suggests to me something more cultural. The degree to which moral and cultural relativism are embraced is disturbing to some, who are quite convinced that their own culture is morally superior to most, if not all, others. “Modernity” as I’ve understood the term at least flirts with rejecting the notion of moral superiority at all. (Which doesn’t explain the Nazi fascination with Nietzsche beyond his membership in the Teutonic Aryan tribe which the Nazis also wanted to promote, but then again Nietzsche fanboys are quite firm that the Nazis gravely, gravely misunderstood their intellectual hero.)

      The modernity of the 1930’s grappled with a seeming lack of objective meaning to the world; there is an element of nihilism to it. The Fascist reacted to this notion by insisting that meaning comes from fulfilling the leader’s visions and directives, in order that society and the world can be transformed and made better. The notion that “society and the world can [and should] be transformed and made better” was, is, and always will be, quite appealing — what’s distinctive about fascism is its insistence that the road to this transformation is traveled by obedience and conformity to social ideals (which did not necessarily preclude creativity and intellectual development, BTW).

      Modernity seems predicated on liberalism, which fascism rejects: the rights of the individual, the autonomy of the individual — these things are subordinate to the goals of society as a whole, and the exercise of political control by the leadership is from time to time necessary to enforce that. Modernity’s appeal that individuals, and groups, are more or less equal to one another is rejected by the fascist in explicit terms. Fascism is about making people better than they are right now — and that means some people are just plain better than others. Easy to see the appeal (after all, who doesn’t want to improve themselves; who doesn’t want their children to be better and better-off than they are; who doesn’t want their nation to become better, richer, and more powerful) and also easy to see how quickly this could seduce even the most well-meaning of people into racism.

      This is the sort of thing that I took the reference to “modernity” to be about, at least.

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      • The traditional authoritarians and reactionaries of the 19th century, the intellectual predecessors of the Fascists, hated the technological changes of the 19th century as much as the social changes. They loathed the idea of mass politics. What the traditional authoritarians wanted was to return an idealized, medieval, hierarchical, and rural society that never existed. The Fascists were different. They loved the technological changes brought by the Industrial Civilization and to a lesser extent even approved of the social changes. Fascists wanted the masses to be with them and to channel their power rather than fearing the masses like the traditional authoritarians did. Fascism was always a mass movement.

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  3. I think Lee is somewhat right on his point. I am currently reading Fractured: Life and Culture in the West 1918-1938. The leading avant-garde artists of the 1920s and 30s seemed very split between Communism and Fascism/Nazsim.

    I found out what cuckservative means this week. Cuck is apparently a genre of pornography where white men watch their wives have sex with other men. The other men are usually black. So it is short for cuckhold. This is a nasty, nasty term.

    The term “alt-right” is kind of interesting. It seems to be the farthest of the right. The unrepentant racists.

    I looked up Kevin MacDonald on wikipedia. He is featured in the alt-right column above from CK. This is what his wikipedia page says:

    “MacDonald’s most controversial claim is that a suite of traits that he attributes to Jews, including higher-than-average verbal intelligence and ethnocentricism, have culturally evolved to enhance the ability of Jews to out-compete non-Jews for resources. MacDonald believes this advantage has been used by a number of Jews to advance Jewish group interests and end potential antisemitism by either deliberately or inadvertently undermining the power of the European-derived Christian majorities in the Western world.”

    There is nothing alternative about this. This is pure anti-Semitism of a very old school variety. His colleagues have distanced himself from his work and he is shunned by his institution.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_B._MacDonald

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    • A bit randomly, but the cuckold thing honestly just sounds like swinging mixed with voyeurism, with maybe a female dominant edge.

      I wonder if any sociologists are studying it? Admittedly, cheating spouses have been around since marriage was invented, but as a society we pretty much nodded along (and often secretly approved) of men cheating, whereas women cheating was seen as far more shameful.

      *shrug*. probably wouldn’t be the first weird cultural hangup people worked out through kinky sex. Certainly beats throwing rocks.

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      • Depends on the society, honestly. Englishmen never trusted the next village over enough to go bang their wives, so they ended up tupping their neighbors’ wives.

        Nobody really minded because they were all arranged marriages, in the main. The kids got kept, and taken care of, and there were houses and lives enough for all.

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        • Well yeah, I was thinking American cultural attitudes.

          We’ve still got a wide swathe of Puritianism inside our culture, and the 60s and free love didn’t so much as “change it” as “cleave the country in two on the issue”.

          I admit, a rather petty part of me is finding the cuckold thing amusing, if only because I’m certain it drives a certain sort of guy absolutely nuts (*cough* MRA *cough*) but probably any relationship lacking traditional gender roles would. The racial aspect Saul alluded to is a bit disturbing, but I think we’ve had plenty of evidence of late that our country is a heck of a lot more racist than we like to admit.

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      • In my understanding, the fetish itself is technically as you describe and need have no racial component.

        In my limited observation of the porn form of it (and we should be careful I think to always caveat that most porn does not reflect common sexual reality), it very often seems to take the form of [black man as the cuckolder of a white man].

        Presumably this is tied back to the old “black men have large penises” canard, which enhances the humiliation for the white small-penised cuckoldee.

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        • Honestly? I always assumed the racism was more implicit than that. “Oh, picture of a white woman with a wedding ring and a black guy? She’s obviously cheating on her husband“.

          Or possibly playing it off as, even in this day an age, an ‘adventurous’ thing to sleep outside your race. (I suppose to add further titillation to sleeping with someone new?). There’s also the possibility that, if you’re going to stray, you might try for someone quite unlike your spouse in every way. (The old canard of dating bad boys but not marrying them? I suppose if you can have both…why wouldn’t you date the bad boy and marry the nice one?)

          You know, the casual presumption that interracial couples don’t exist. I’m sure there are examples that prey explicitly on stereotypes like you mention.

          *shrug*. Poly relationships are, in my limited experience, quite complex and situational anyways.

          I still think sociologists are missing out. Studying our porn is probably more telling, in many ways, then studying our politics. :)

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            • Damn, boy, do you know nothing about porn or something?
              Americans only think they consume porn in quantity.
              Japanese on the other hand — what else do they have to do?
              And cuckoldry is currently a very hot topic in Japan, and not mixed race in so far as I’ve seen.

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                • Parsing her point — they’re both right. For this…genre, I suppose –There’s a lot of very specific, interracial porn that plays to specific racial themes (including some very long standing racist ones). And a lot that doesn’t.

                  There’s so much porn out there that confirmation bias is probably unavoidable. Rule 34 and all. :)

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                  • There’s so much porn out there that confirmation bias is probably unavoidable. Rule 34 and all. :)

                    I only consume confirmation-bias porn, in which the participants express firmly-believed stereotypes about the sexual tastes and bodily proportions of various demographics, then participate in encounters which by all rights ought to change their minds, but — sexily — somehow fail to.

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      • From what I’ve read, cheating and adultery were fairly common among upper-class England for both sexes. What do you think all those large weekends at country-houses were good for besides eating, hunting, and drinking. Harold MacMillian’s wife was very much known to be an adultress.

        American attitudes might be different but I am a cynic and I always wonder about how many political marriages are marriages of more pragmatic benefit over romantic attraction.

        I knew one guy who said he had cuckholding fantasies. He was also poly and dated women besides his wife with his wife’s consent. I am not sure how the cuckholding fantasy meshes with being poly because poly is supposed to be anti-adultery because everything is known.

        What I gather from the term cuckservative is that they feel like these guys are being emasculated and they want the guys to stand up and say “We are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” and then they go to their night-shift at long-term parking at the airport. So the far-right dudes are not getting that the guys in the videos might like the kink nature of the act.

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          • That’s a good point. I mean, isn’t that one way to handle fears? Confront them, I suppose?

            Fear of infidelity is a big one. Fear of your spouse finding someone “better” and leaving you. People do fantasy rape (supposedly more popular than you’d think) — why not fantasy infidelity?

            I suppose the fact that she (or he, there’s got to be a counterpart) comes back to you is probably the payoff. That he or she can be with some fantasy “better” and in the end — you still “win”.

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            • Rape is about a submission fantasy. That, and a “relatively” consensual rape is normal, if barbaric part of human nature.

              Cuckoldry is about watching, and knowing you’re inferior. Of course, the male equipment is designed to push out other guys seed… So there’s a bit of that going on as well, the naturalness of the whole thing.

              Of course, we’re human, and our fucked up impossible half-wired crazy brains think vore is fucking natural too. (again, a good deal of it is that submission fetish, having bad things happen to you that you can’t resist — part of the key to understanding it is knowing that the experience of living through dying is the thing).

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              • So we’re back to “sex is weird, people are weird, and as long as everyone’s consenting and enjoying themselves — for their own definition of ‘enjoying’ — it’s cool?” :)

                I’m good with that, but I’m a filthy Gen X liberal. I think I’m gen X. Seriously, I can never keep that straight. 1975ish?

                Swinging would be weird though. I just don’t really have a desire to have sex with other people. My wife’s plenty, thank you. :)

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    • I’m working on a piece right now about the alt-Right not being that new or different in its foundational texts and attitudes. In many ways, it is just a repackaging of older texts and ideas. More on that later.

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    • It’s not new, but it is an alternative to the contemporary right. No doubt we’re going to hear about how this is really The Same Thing as the contemporary right, just more honest, but as I’ve been watching the Right Folks (including the Right-Right Folks) butt heads with the Dark Enlightenment Right folks, that’s clearly not the case in any meaningful context unless all righties just look the same from a particular vantage point (which is, to me, not a meaningful context).

      I’m also not sure how much the perveyors of this ideology consider themselves all that “new” and seem to relish in what they consider their Pre-Enlightenment classicism. They have accepted the term “Neoreactionary” but that’s a reference as much to their modern historical placement than any modernism within their ideological bearings.

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      • I don’t think the alt-right is the same as the Republican Party or the Contemporary Right but it is complicated in some ways because of how many mainstream Republicans are still reacting to the SSM issue and how some Republicans react to immigration as an issue. But there could be ways that the effect of many contemporary Republican policy preferences equals stuff that the alt-right would support.

        The alt-right are the farthest of the right-wing and I think that most Republicans would see them as being off the deep end just like most Democratic Party supporters see a lot of the far-left as being off the deep end. I know people who make me look rather centerist in my politics and they are not part of the Democratic Party.

        Yet in the world of politics as war and quid pro quo, I am sure many partisan Republicans would see them as being part and parcel of the Democratic Party.

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    • Right, the term indicates that the “cuckservative” has shamefully relinquished his own masculinity. One wonders what the counterpart behavior to this is for a woman who avows to be conservative but is insufficiently so to satisfy these folks, and just how awful the phrase for that will wind up being.

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  4. A little breathless no? Especially considering that the views that have gotten Trump the most attention (positive and negative) are on immigration. And Trump’s views on immigration are pretty much the same as Bernie Sanders, the big difference is that Trump blames the Mexican government while Sanders blames Wall St.

    And, as , points out above fascists are not and never were anti-modernity. If anything, they were obsessed with a sort of hyper-modernity. For instance, what do we call the Nazi’s favorite style of architecture? Modernism.

    Trump is not a fascist. He’s just an old-fashioned populist updated for the age of social media. The message isn’t particularly new or particularly interesting or even particularly radical. It is the medium that is all of those things.

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  5. Saying Bernie Sanders and Trump have the same views on immigration seems a little much. While both may be broadly anti-immigration, Bernie allows a path to citizenship for those already here when Trump would not. But, more importantly, their opinion of immigrants to this country are starkly different. Stated simply, there is a difference between concern for in-group welfare and demonization of an out-group.

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    • I don’t agree. Their underlying views on immigration are approximately the same in that they both view increased levels of immigration as some manner of plan by the elites to increase the supply of labor and push down the wages of the native born.

      There are, of course, differences in how Trump and Sanders choose to express this and a significant difference in how they might treat illegal immigrants already here and I did not claim otherwise. I am simply pointing out that they are both relying on the same economic populist argument.

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      • I think is basically right here. Trump and Sanders do not share the same position on this issue, but they both share a conspiratorial view of why it is happening. I am inclined to side with Bernie’s conspiracy (that the business community wants mass migration for cheap labor) but having this simplistic view of things doesn’t warm me to Sanders.

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        • But Trump’s position isn’t just economic. It’s ‘racialist’ or xenophobic, with, or in addition to, an economic component.

          The claim is that they have ‘pretty much the same views’ on immigration. The views above, and the fact the racialist neo-reactionaries are favorable to Trump’s statement, tell me that Trump and Sanders view immigration very differently.

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          • …tell me that Trump and Sanders view immigration very differently.

            No. It tells you that their views on race are very different. Their views on the desirability of immigration are the same and for very similar reasons.

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            • Not really, one is worried about the economic impact of immigration on Americans. The other is worried the economic impact and the browning of America (or at least not letting in all those Mexican rapists).

              The claim you made was about their views on immigration, not just its desirability. If a person says immigration hurts American wages, and another says it hurts American wages and destroys American culture and is suicide for White America (as the neo-reactionaries from the article would put it), how can we honestly say they have the same view of immigration.

              And, again, supporting a path to citizenship for those already here is a major difference.

              Edited to add, I could have said it simply. To Trump (or more accurately the ultra-right wingers from above) immigration is a racial issue. That makes their views different.

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  6. Honestly that DeToqueville quote sets my eyes rolling. So Abraham Lincoln was not a “better” man? Or Dwight Eisenhower? Jimmy Carter? Or John Quincy Adams, for that matter? Oh hell, what about Barack Obama? Really, what constitutes a “better man”? Or a “better woman”, for that matter?

    There have been many thieves and scoundrels in politics, and there will be many more. Furthermore, the nature of the game is such that it makes good people look bad. As smart as DeToqueville was, I don’t think he understood that.

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  7. Periodically, we have a short digression discussing how this or that group of single-issue voters within the Republican Party really ought to be upset. The Social Conservatives aren’t getting anything on abortion. The Fiscal Conservatives aren’t getting anything on spending. (Remember when we used to argue with Koz about that? Good times.)

    The best counter-argument was a variant of “well… at least they aren’t as bad as the Democrats!”

    While this *MIGHT* be good enough for some (“Hey, I don’t agree with candidate on X, Y, Z, W, V, U, T, S, or R… AT LEAST THEY AGREE WITH ME ON Q!!!! Also, I’d prefer their Supreme Court nominations.”), I’d hope that we’d agree that there are a lot of reasons that “at least they aren’t as bad as the other party” would turn into ash on the tongue for some folks after a long enough time saying it though, granted, maybe they are saying something like “I remember Perot/Nader! I’m never falling for that trick again! At least my guy/gal isn’t as bad as the other party!”.

    There are a lot of folks out there who are getting sick of being told to shut up and get in line and vote for the guy who isn’t as bad.

    Trump is doing a good job of calling out the guys who aren’t as bad.

    This doesn’t make him a good choice, of course… but there are, apparently, quite a few people out there who are very, very interested in seeing the guys who aren’t as bad being chewed out.

    Even if it takes a buffoon to do it.

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    • Agreed. I actually have a soft spot for Trump’s campaign for the reason you described. So much of American politics is shameless sloganeering, using the same regurgitated comments. Trump isn’t my guy politically, but it is nice to see someone call farce on the unspoken rules that keep shells like Jeb Bush in the “respectable” category.

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      • Shameless sloganeering seems to exactly define His Trumpness to me.

        What unspoken rules keep Bush in the respectable category. He has tons of money and famous name, and of course a successful hx as governor of the Florida Man. None of those are unspoken or odd in any way. People like Trumpy for being rich although he started off rich. Well so did Bush. Trump is famous and has a big name, well so does Bush and so did Romney, etc.

        I know people seem to like Trumpy since he isn’t a pol but that is just a wee bit clueless. In what world do successful business people and media stars not play politics, manage their brand and make a point of giving people exactly the entertainment they want. Trump is no less political then any other candidate. His schtick is to play he isn’t a politician.

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        • A different form of sloganeering perhaps. He surely isn’t adding depth to the political debate. But Trump’s willingness to say things other candidates will not appears to be why he stands above his competitors in the polls. Something different is going on there.

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            • Requires not caring about future political viability within the system and parties as currently configured.

              Trump is the choice, today, according to polls, of ca. 20% of Rs, putting him ahead according to one superficial, as misleading as it is common and consensual, measure of popularity. If we compare candidates according to supportability – in other words taking second, third, fourth etc. choices into account – then Trump doesn’t belong on the “top 10” stage. According to one breakdown I saw, in which candidates were ranked according to combined 1st and 2nd choice tallies, he came in 14th. Ditto if candidates are assessed according to approve-disapprove differentials. Both of the latter two standards have historically been much better predictors of eventual performance than early position in the horserace – as any intelligent observer would expect. Of course, as is very well known, our political discussion and to a lesser extent the actual process are not generally oriented toward intelligent observation and rational interpretation, but rather to sensationalism.

              In short, by virtue of temporarily uniting a reactionary splinter of popular opinion, representing around 10% or less of the population, and usually around 1% of a winner-take-all electorate, Trump dominates news coverage… and OT political coverage, too.

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  8. If there is a silver lining in this, it may be that we are forced to actually talk about whiteness as a separate identity, instead of it being the default background.

    White people in my view have grown comfortable playing the tolerant hosts to ethnic minorities. Its considered a badge of honor to “have a black friend”, to be tolerant and broad minded.

    What we haven’t gotten to, is being comfortable being the tolerated minority. Having one black family on the block is hip, living in a black neighborhood is not.

    That’s why I hear even liberal people fret about “press 1 for English”; Roland’s phrase of ethnic displacement is very real, and potent.

    Maybe liberals can do a better job of leading the way to an understanding of our white identity as something rich and wonderful in its own way, neither superior to nor inferior to any other. Its like how you never really grasp what it is to be an American until you go to a foreign country, and see yourself from outside.

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    • To some degree yes, but to really understand race/identity we need to also move past White as an actual ethnicity. It isn’t. It is certainly a useful and powerful identity but it doesn’t actually define a persons ethnicity. Until white people, as a whitey myself, can move on to discussing their individual ethnic history they haven’t much hope of understanding anybody elses. One thing the southern heritage crowd does is they can at least articulate an ethnic heritage that relates to a place and time and cultural grouping.

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      • But do we rely have much of an identity other than “white”? Although I have very direct connections with Belgium because my father is a first generation American, my mother’s side of the family has not been in Europe for a very long time. To say they are “Irish” or “English” would be incorrect, in that they no longer share the cultural heritage that goes with those identities.

        It is an interesting discussion, and one I will have to write more about later.

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        • Yes, most of us at least, have more identity than white. Certainly for us white folks being White has had a powerful affect. I’m not saying White doesn’t mean a lot.

          My grandparents were immigrants in teh 1920’s. Mother’s side were polish jews and dads side was greek. Neither were very traditional or religious. But there is no way i can understand myself today without looking at that family history. As a kid being sort of jewish, well culturally but not religious, was part of who i was mixed in with a greek influence. Our history always leads us places and if i only defined myself as white i’d be lost today.

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          • To call this a fraught topic would be a massive understatement. We can proceed either always with this fact in mind – keeping in mind, for instance, that on some level the adopted justification for our political order and the culture for which it stands is the defeat of what we are attempting to examine, and that we are therefore in a sense forbidden to view it non-prejudicially – or as though we are utterly unaware of or completely uninterested in the fact. So we can either struggle our way inch by inch from land mine to land mine, or trust in the steel soles of our boots, but sooner or later there will likely be explosions. You’ll think you’ve reached a reasonable understanding and mutually accepted set of definitions with a circle of interlocutors, and somebody will come in and call you all the worst names known to our political vocabulary… or you’ll find out that you’ve been having a friendly cordial chat with someone who apparently wants you dead or anyway seems utterly unperturbed by the notion of your enslavement or the near complete defoliation of your family tree.

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            • One of the hard parts of trying to grasp our own histories is when you come upon something or someone you can’t handle. For some people that is finding their ancestors were victims. For some that means finding they were the oppressors. Neither is a happy situation.

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        • I’ve got a half written post in my head about the different types of “whiteness” in America. White American culture is not monolithic. Nor is African-American/Black culture. Or Asian-American culture or Hispanic culture or…

          My experience as a white person is shaped largely by my Italian ancestry, in part because Italians were not always accepted as “white” and therefore were excluded from many white American cultural institutions and traditions; a unique Italian-American culture developed… distinct from Italian culture (which itself is very regional) and from the broader white American culture.

          A good portion of anti-racist work is focused on helping white folks established and understand their racial identity and to find a way to be proud of it without falling into the trappings of what white racial pride has typically looked like.

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          • A conversation I have frequently with R, who grew up and lived much of her life surrounded by Italian-Americans in New York, concerns how her experience of Italiana in New York is very different from my experience of my own relatives, mostly in or around Western PA and West Virginia, or in Rome (I don’t know my relatives in northern Italy very well). She will say, “Italians are… !” Usually something quite negative, at which point I remark that I never saw anything like that with my relatives. She then swears that it’s because I haven’t spent enough time around them, to which I reply that I was raised by one, so I have spent some time around them. And so on.

            Don’t get me started on the French, though, who are all alike.

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    • The thing is, there’s no such thing as a “white identity” and there never has been.

      There is a German-American identity, and an English-American identity and a Scots-American identity and a Methodist identity and a Quaker identity and … Identities form around how one is different from the default. Therefore the default can’t be an identity.

      (I’m all for us engaging with those identities and celebrating them.)

      Being “white” is a matter primarily of not being one of the out groups. That’s not an identity. In the math/cs world, we’d call it a co-identity (short for complement-identity).

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      • I agree with you on the merits of the statement, but from a historical perspective there absolutely has been such a thing as white identity. The definition has just been “not being the other.” Racism and white identity have been pretty close, if not the same thing.

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        • I don’t have the reference at hand, but it has been postulated, and convincingly evidenced historiographically, that the concept of the “white race” in America took hold during the colonial era, when people from these disparate European ethnicities developed a sense of a common interest and set of perceptions in contradistinction to those of the Natives. The separation from African Americans, the vast majority of them imported as slaves and not primarily at first to North America, mostly came later.

          In the meantime, it’s clear that in our popular political culture there is a category called “white.” It is permissible to invoke it one-sidedly for criticism, derision, and derogation, but not – or not yet – for approbation and as a positive interest. Or do you believe that a politician talking like LWA above – “our white identity… something rich and wonderful in its own way, neither superior to nor inferior to any other” – would get very far?

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          • Or do you believe that a politician talking like LWA above – “our white identity… something rich and wonderful in its own way, neither superior to nor inferior to any other” – would get very far?

            Indeed they wouldn’t. But go back a century or so and few would raise a fuss. Go back fifty years before that, and they’d get in trouble for the part that dismisses superiority. (cf Lincoln insisting to Stephen Douglas that he values white supremacy.)

            Explicit white-identification went away because it was way too thoroughly tainted with the worst of racism; as racism became anathema so did explicit white identity. (Whatever its possible problems, “black pride” hasn’t been responsible for anywhere near the same level of misery as “white pride”.)

            Given this context, the shunning of white identity makes complete sense as a component of anti-racism. But it might ironically have negative consequences in this area as well, because so much modern racism takes the form of confusing whiteness with “normalcy” or “the default”. Arguably, developing a conscious white identity would now be a positive step for the country, especially since some of the possible pitfalls of such (like white nationalism, racism) have in principle been walled off.

            (It would be very interesting if a lot of future conservatives concede most of what liberals have been saying about how race works in this country, in exchange for being allowed to self-identify as white without all the trouble of proxy issues and dog whistles.)

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      • I would disagree that there is no such thing as a white identity in the American context. Just because it is defined in the negative (we are not them) doesn’t disqualify it from being a form of personal identity. As many white Americans have no link to the lands and cultures that their ancestors came from, I am a bit hesitant to say they are just “Irish Americans” or “German Americans.”

        I agree with and in that specific national identities are much richer than simply being “white,” but having those identities has to be more than just recognizing that ones ancestors came from said location. Like you mentioned in your comment, your family’s background had a specific role in how you viewed and interacted with the world. My mother, who simply knows her family came from Europe a few hundred years ago, doesn’t quite have that.

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        • I know a few families that are unbelievably bland, and have no idiosyncrasies. Yours might be one of them, I guess.

          My family is German-American, and they have lived in the US since about 1850. But, for instance, we exchange gifts in Christmas Eve, not Christmas morning. We put up the tree a few weeks ahead of time, too. Neither of these is universal. We were just talking about how we make potato salad a certain way, which is unusual, though not unheard of. There are dozens of tiny little ways in which one might feel themselves to be among “their people”.

          With me, the strongest such feelings are usually associated with geek culture. If you signal to me that you’re a geek, you could be blue for all I care, and I would still name you “one of us”.

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          • My family came over long ago, and I’m a mongrel anyway. Scots, Irish, English, German, Spanish, with the last two making up the bulk.

            I have no interest in being German/Spanish-American (no offense to those who do), even if I had any idea how to reclaim such an identity or what proportions it would consist of.

            I don’t think that looking backward to ancient tribal identities will be anywhere near as helpful as trying to forge a new one together in the here and now. I’m one of those weirdos that still believes that a melting pot is something to shoot for, that metal alloys are stronger, that mutts are the best dogs. I like my music a little too loud, I like pizza and fried chicken and black beans & rice and po’ boys and bourbon and beer, though sometimes nothing tastes better than a Coca-Cola. I like that my country produced a MLK AND men on the moon. I think that for all its flaws, America – the idea of America – can still be a good thing. I’m “white” – obviously – but good golly, that seems a really stupid way to think of things. I’m just an American, and so’s the (black) lady who lives next door and the (latina) lady who lives across the street.

            Jeez, maybe Veidt was right, and a space squid is the only thing that can save us.

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            • I agree with most of this. I’m a mutt and fine with that. But my mix and what it meant to me growing up is part of who i am. I’d guess there is big difference in how long ago our various ancestors immigrated here and how they got here. I think the issue is some people want to say “we are all american and therefore none of the past matters.” It might not for some but for others it does. We can all be american but still understand where we each come from. It isn’t an either or situation. It should be a both.

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              • I don’t have anything against understanding where we came from. I do think it’s weird to prescribe returning to older tribalisms, which is how I take this idea that white Americans need to reach back to some other, more ethnically-specific prior tradition, and that will somehow make things better in this country; when it seems more likely to me to lead to further Balkanization and fracturing.

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                • The “white identity” could only be a resultant in multi-dimensional vector space, just like every other identity (or identity construct). One vector or set of vectors would be “ethnic history,” which will loom larger, and be handled with much greater particularity (Aryan, Slavic, Mixed, etc.) in some race taxonomies than others. Other commenters on this thread have implicitly acknowledged other vectors from other origins – in statements that in some other context might be taken as quite controversial, or simply shameful.

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                • I think returning to something else is made more difficult by the degree of interbreeding involved, which is likely to become more so rather than less as whites constitute less of a majority and possibly into the minority (depending on how Hispanics identify themselves).

                  Not that interbreeding doesn’t happen outside between whites and non-whites, of course, but my wife’s heritage is French and Irish and mine is English and German. My best friend from childhood has a British and French family lineage, and married someone with Irish. The only thing in common here is white. Which makes me suspect we’re going to become more entrenched in the “white identity” rather than less.

                  Not in terms of “white nationality”, but more in the sense of general racial/ethnic placement… “American white” basically being it’s own sort of thing. Greg mentions the southern identity, which has its own historical ethnic roots but is not tied to them. I am not sure the “southern identity” as such will be around 100 years from now, and identifying as “southern” will be something of a curiosity.

                  The great uncertainty to me is how Hispanics will be identified 100 years hence.

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                • Ahh I see. I dont’ think we need to return to some older tribalism. I think each person is better off by understanding how their family history affected them. For some that involved generations in the US others are the second gen born here. Neither is better or worse, but without understanding it we can’t really understand others history. It would be like a person understanding how their mom or dad being a hard drinker affected them. If you had an alcoholic parent that would affect a person in a variety of ways. If you can’t understand how an alcoholic parent or whatever affected your childhood that is problem for your life.

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        • Psychologically and developmentally, the way identity is formed is by noting differences from the “norm” that you share with other people. This is the opposite of whiteness.

          Whiteness is what Kurt Vonnegut called a granfalloon. It is a group of people who affect a common identity or purpose, but who’s association is meaningless.

          The White Citizen’s Council, which you reference, had a very definite purpose: Plunder of non-white peoples. Or as they might put it, “keeping those people in their place”. The white identity was created by them for this purpose. I reject that identity. It makes no sense. I find it ludicrously easy to point to black Americans, or Chinese Americans, with whom I share more identity than certain white Americans, with whom I feel I have nothing at all in common with, other than skin tone.

          Make no mistake, I am white, I can pass. I don’t want to run from it. I benefitted. I simply reject it as an identity.

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        • They might not be incorrect there. There is also a long tradition of Scots (specifically Scots-Irish) in the South and other places in the United States but event this got tribal. Lincoln allegedly needed to travel in disguise to get to Washington D.C. for his first term. I remember seeing a cartoon from the time talking about MacLincoln and dressing him in a tam o’shanter and kilt. So even back in the 1860s, Scots were seen as different from those of English ancestry.

          There was also that bit in A River Runs Through It where the father MacClean complained about how the younger son changed the name “So everyone thinks we are lowland Scots.”

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      • You might be right historically but I think that the changes to the society caused by the Civil Rights movement and other social changes of the 1960s have sort of created a unified white identity in the United States. Reagan’s election and the defection of many or even most Ethnic Whites into the Republican Party helped create a more unified white identity. So did intermarriage between various white ethnic groups and the decline of maintaining a strong ethnic cultural identity besides some food and festivals. This was aided by the Left seeing things in terms of a few racial groups rather than a few racial groups combined with many ethnic groups because it inadvertently encouraged people who might have previously saw themselves as Cajun, Italian-American, or German to identify as whites.

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    • It’s way OT but the only time I have ever heard “press 1 for English” the other option was Welsh, given this is in Wales I think even the most narrow minded would struggle to define that as pandering to immigrants.

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  9. Who asked if Trump was facist? This is a well reasoned and interesting analysis, but it brings to mind the idea of a long article from a conservative in 2009 or so about how Obama isn’t a communist, but he “taps in to our inner collectivist” or something.

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  10. The fact that white culture will eventually be a minority is exactly why its so important to discuss it, and come to grips with it.

    I live in that world- over the past decade or so I have seen my work and personal world become entirely dominated by nonwhite, non Christian, non American born people.

    At my last job 75% of the project team were Asian, and now I work for a family of Persian Jews, and I live at the juncture of two Orange County cities that are overwhelmingly Latino and Vietnamese.

    There is a part of me that feels a smug superiority about being so multicultural, so cosmopolitan as to be comfortable this way.

    But there is a part of me that very much understands the fear and rage of the Trump voter. You have all read the story of Ishi, the last of his kind? That is the secret hidden fear among white people I think, of being overwhelmed and outnumbered and swept aside.

    We need to grapple with that, to not sweep it away as an embarrassment, but to confront and be honest about our own anxieties.
    But to get there we have to stop seeing white/Christian/straight/male as the default for normal people, while everyone else is an exotic oddity.

    We’ve all heard the sneering references to “white bread” meaning bland and uninteresting. Its been pointed out how this is not enlightened at all, but merely another way of exoticizing others.

    What doesn’t get discussed much, is how the White Bread Default paradoxically blinds us to what is wonderful about us.

    Its true- there isn’t a White Nation, and white race is entirely fictional. But what happens when we stop sweeping up Italians, Germans and diaspora Jews all under the banner of “Regular white people” is that we can see our own histories and cultures.

    I am not white bread.
    I am a mixture of Bohemian Catholics and Scots Protestants, filtered through the upper Midwest into Southern California.
    All of the cultures within them are a part of me. I am no more of an outsider than the Persian Jews I work for, because we are all outsiders.

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    • I think White Americans and Europeans have a long way to go before they become Iishi, Last of the Yahi. The fear is positively hyperbolic and it is also very much of the “Oh God! What are they going to do to us based on what we did to them?” variety.

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      • Oh absolutely it is irrational and hyperbolic, and tinged with a lot of projection and guilt.

        Its also intensely primal, sort of like some subsonic tone that only our lizard brain can hear, of Those People coming to Take Our Women.

        We liberals tend to laugh at this stuff, but I think its something we need to accept as real.

        And in my comment I deliberately put a sunny optimistic spin on my conception of a white culture that grows comfortable with being no longer in the drivers seat, generous and welcoming to our new ant overlords.

        But I also know how bad it could go- there isn’t anything magic about ethnic minorities that causes them to be any less bigoted than we are. Like I mentioned once before, if some clever Rove or Atwater finds the secret to getting economically insecure Latinos and Asians to partner with white nationalists against some other group, America could be in for a dark time.

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        • Liberals might not like how a lot of White Americans or even White people in Europe think but that doesn’t change the fact people do think this way. The real issue is that liberals don’t really have away to address or assuage the fears. Acknowledging them and going gently seems like giving comfort to the enemy and a betrayal of liberalism. Ignoring them doesn’t do any good though because it makes people feel like their fears aren’t being taken seriously, never a good thing to do in politics, and because you can’t really sham the masses into thinking right.

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          • I would go further and say that we liberals share them even if suppressed.

            I’m likening it to the theory that the most lurid sex scandals afflict the most puritanical churches because they lack the ability to admit to their own desire.

            The statement that I feel awkward being the only white guy in a room full of black people would not typically, in a liberal setting, lead to a frank and honest discussion. Most often in my experience it leads to shaming and guilt.

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            • one of the big shibboleths, I hope I’m using the word right, of modern liberalism is that deep down we are all secret liberals who would be happy if we could live in a European style, secular state that isn’t too serious about patriotism. This is a bit of parody but there are strong elements of this in liberal thought if you ever checked out a liberal blog.

              This line of thought is utterly untrue. Lots of people do not agree with modern liberalism at all. To a certain extent White Americans are allowed to dissent more than people of color from liberalism because their is an assumption that White Americans are racist. When dealing with people of color, white liberal are often shocked to find that some of them could be homophobic or have conservative views on economics or crime or something. It comes across as a bigger betrayal.

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            • I think this depends on how you say it. If you clarify that you don’t think this feeling is just and good, then a real conversation could follow. In fact, there’s a strong contingent of liberal anti-racism that treats the phrase “I don’t see race” with suspicion. What you’re getting at is simply a logical corollary, talking about the ways you do see race.

              Of course, at the same time, expressing “I feel awkward being the only white guy in a room full of black people” can make others uncomfortable, especially if black. The key thing is whether a given environment is appropriate. If the space is only for white liberals — maybe. If people of color have said “Hey, white people, here’s a time and place to lay it all out there and be awkwardly honest”, that could work too.

              In any case, if you have had that shaming/guilt experience after saying something like that, I’m tempted to guess that it was silently assumed by the shamers that you wanted your feelings to be considered legitimate, since that’s usually an unspoken statement tied to expressing our feelings. Still, I could be wrong, and your liberal circles truly consider themselves as “beyond” racism entirely, and hence find something appalling about anyone not “there” yet.

              Meanwhile, looking at your sex scandal analogy, I wonder if there are religious conservatives who would cast suspicion on any fellow fundamentalist who insisted he/she had no sinful desires? It is a common theme in the Christian world, the whole “not perfect, just saved” thing. Of course, some things might cross the line, like admitting to homosexual desires (even successfully repressed ones), although that may be changing these days. A quasi-equivalent for liberal anti-racism would be confessing sympathy for Dylan Roof, or something (“I know it’s wrong, but I can totally see myself doing that… you know?”). Just because we live in a culture that can be deemed “racist” doesn’t mean all racism is equally “normal” or whatever. But I don’t think the attitude you expressed is anywhere close to such outrageous extremes — I’m a white liberal too and I get where you’re coming from..

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              • I do believe that its common for white liberals to feel unease at losing the power of control, at moving from tolerant host to tolerated guest.

                But it can be an opportunity to grasp that this is how minorities have felt since always.

                Rev. Lovejoy: “Lets us have tolerance for all beliefs, whether Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or other.”
                Apu: “Other?? There are 800 million of us!”

                I think even if we have done a wonderful job of making racism toxic and shameful, it might be good to frame it less as a binary (you are either racist or not) and more as a spectrum of feelings about other people, where we can legitimately talk about our differences and express openly our lack of understanding and frustration with each other’s idiosyncrasies.

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          • A lot of this is actually truer than you might think. The difference I have isn’t that liberals are in any way surprised or betrayed – we’re /frustrated/. Liberals really can’t address or assuage the fears because they are only real in the non-liberal mindset. Just like you can’t address or assuage the fears liberals feel because they aren’t really real in your mindset.

            C.P. Snow was not wrong, he was just too early – it’s now that we have two fully incompatible subcultures who can no longer even work together to move forward.

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