I am writing this to try to explain to “normal people” who have not been a part of the internet underbelly known as the “Alt Right” what this thing really is, so that you can understand. The reason I have waited until this moment to bring my thoughts out, and to expose myself as a thought criminal in no uncertain terms, is because we are now at the cusp of the breaking point at which we really must decide whether we are going to honestly assess the situation, or descend into violent outbursts. As far as I can tell, there is really no easy way out of this other than to dive in head-first. It gets messy. It gets uncomfortable. It gets – scary. It maybe even gets highly emotional or terrifying. It will be offensive. It will be funny. Depending on your ability to tolerate edgy data, it is quite possible you will find this enjoyable. For most of us in the “Alt Right” there is a strong stream of heavy irony and satire in what we discuss – nothing is certain. Everything is up in the air. In a way, the movement is motivated by a sort of nihilistic sense of humor. Anything can be funny when it is in writing or image. Nothing is sacred. To some extent, the Alt Right – at its heart – was a countercultural backlash against the most dogmatic and sacred aspects of the Progressive Age 2010-2016 which was more or less declared dead with the election of Trump, and which is now shattered into millions of shards scattered across the landscape, slowly trying to re-connect with one another like a monster that has been destroyed and is reconstituting itself bit by bit for another go, perhaps in 2020. For the time being, this monster is in tatters. If you are progressive: don’t despair. See it as evolution for your ideas. Or, instead, throw a tantrum. The decision is yours.
I wish to explore the truth of the Alt-Right to those who would have my job and my head because I want 2020 to be a time when reason and compassion win out over screeching mobs and insanity. The things that you will discover in the Alt-Right are offensive, no doubt. Offensive as the sight of a lion killing a gazelle and eating its stomach. Whether or not you feel a certain way about it, does not change its inherent nature. That is the general outlook of those in the Alt-Right. That is not to say that they argue in support of predatory behavior, but instead in support of a sort of nihilistic realism, which is discussed by others such as Brett Stevens. In fact, the philosophical underpinning of the “Alt-Right” began all the way back in the early ’10s with the movement known by the term “speculative realism” headed by Graham Harman and others, and which had a rather strong effect on the philosophical world in terms of emphasizing a return to realism and intellectual finitude over the deconstructive meaningless of the postmodern era as contained in the work of Derrida. During this time there was a parallel attention being payed to a line of thought known as “Accelerationism” which was founded by a British philosopher named Nick Land. Land began his career as a “far-left Marxist” in the 1990s, inspired by the French postmodernist (libertarian?) Gilles Deleuze (whose philosophy I myself was heavily inspired by and remain an admirer toward) – whose early writings are contained in the work Fanged Noumena. These works inspired the musical movement known as vaporwave, seen in such artists as James Ferraro, Hype Williams, and Macintosh Plus. Accelerationism is defined by the idea that capitalism must be accelerated to breaking pitch in order to bring it to an almost absurd degree of plasticity. I would also posit that the art work of Jeffrey Koons can be considered accelerationist, with its “celebration” of corporate emptiness.
Land apparently devolved into a sort of fit of drug induced insanity during the mid-1990s, and thinking back to that era we were in the thick of the drug frenzied peak of rave music, which was highly admired by early CCRU (Cybernetic Culture Research Unit) accelerationists and philosophers who enjoyed it for its “speed” and “intensity” (to use some of the concepts of Deleuze) and which fit well with the strange critical theory invented by those philosophers in the highly experimental and forward-thinking music of drum and bass. Sometime during this period, Land disappeared, and it must have been that sometime in those 10-15 years of being out of time, that his views morphed. Between his time writing what are considered some of the more interesting and genuinely radical and influential creative pieces of philosophy to inspire some of the most avant-garde and curious musical works of the 2010s, he shifted and began developing what would become the most influential and era-defining work of philosophy for the new age we are living in today: neoreaction – or the dark enlightenment.
Judging by the moronic reaction of the press to these things, they are nothing more than fascist, neo-Nazi, KKK, white-supremacists. Certainly this reminds us of like the reaction of the press to Donald Trump and the Alt-Right and 90% of the posts you tend to see on Facebook about them. These things are connected: people do not know what they are talking about.
It can be quite mind bending to consider the fact that one of the most inspired Marxist, critical theorist, radical leftist type philosophers and writers of the last 50 years would eventually go on to write one of the most influential and era-defining works of thought on almost an exactly opposite tangent – the far right. And that this work, which is almost completely opposed to the Marxist activities of his early days, has influenced what is perhaps the most widespread and absolute dejections of the far left which has ever taken place, on such magnitude as to basically render the average Democrat voter in America almost fundamentally mindfucked – it really does seem incredible. But that is what has happened.
Behind all the seig-Heiling, Nazi flag waving, KKK hood bullshit (and often, irony) of the “Alt Right” there was, all along, in fact, a movement of quiet, intellectual, hidden thinkers who have predicted the current and ongoing unfolding of modern Western civilization to a T, and whose predictions have all come true, who have seen it all from the start, and whose ideas are so radical to the average citizen of the American nation that they appear to be almost sacrilegiously evil. That is because Land is a heretic who has committed what amounts to little more than pure religious heresy in postmodernist 2017, an age where God is dead and progressivism has formed a secular religion through the TV set and university. The point is that these thinkers, and to call them otherwise would be a grave error, cannot be ignored by the public anymore. To do so, and to write them off, would be to continue making severe tactical errors; to continue only to dig yourself deeper into the hole of “not knowing what the hell you’re talking about” to those who have actually read and dealt with their work on its own terms. Whether or not you like it, the dark enlightenment is an important and relevant philosophical movement, and whether or not you agree with it is not the point. To treat it as though it is nothing more than some odd fringe movement is only to allow it to proliferate unchallenged. Land clearly has proven his credentials as a philosopher, and as a creative. His work has inspired some of the most important artists of the last 20 years. For that reason, you cannot ignore his writings if you wish to actually make headway on our current political world.