Apr 26, 2022·edited Apr 26, 2022Liked by John Ganz

The alt right was a genuine chaotic popular movement which the left/lib leviathan suppressed. But the vein of energy and insight that empowered it remained. What you see now are efforts to digest, extrude, institutionalize and mainstream the movement that upended the obsolete GOP.

The thought leadership (such as it was) of the alt right was at the grassroots; PT would invite you to dinner and nod along, intrigued. People like Spencer and Gottfried were in it for ideological reasons and not as Regnery agents. Your boss-class consciousness thesis requires this to invert and maybe, de facto, it will — they’re spending so much and giving away brass rings and fellowships, so maybe Rockbridge sets the agenda now. But one thing that the left-who-watch-the-right seem to miss is the clumsy derivative nature of the positions taken by Claremont et al. It is why the agonistic language of Sam Hyde (“they want you dead”) sounds forced and weird coming from Glenn Elmers. They are still trailing in the wake of the grassroots and imbibing its exhaust and regurgitating it, not leading. And I don’t think the magic sense of energy that the AR had is back yet. On an uncensored twitter maybe it will be.

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such an excellent piece, synoptic in the best way.

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A couple of thoughts/extra notes:

* Not to be pedantic, but not all of these figures are "tech" as such. The Mercers, of course, are financiers from Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund that sprouted from the collaborations of lots of math guys from a nearby SUNY school. Mercer pere was, as you might expect, notably antisocial and weird even for a group of math professors.

So he has a slightly different intellectual formation than the Silicon Valley tech guys -- who, academically, often come from a milieu of a) hating the humanities and b) practicing amateur humanities anyway. Nevertheless everyone gets to the same anti-political place.

* I think the spirit is best summed up in this recent Washington Post article (https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2022/04/22/chicago-reader-free-speech-goodman) about a controversy over the Chicago Reader, an alt-weekly over there, where the owner is facing a revolt by staff over an op-ed he wrote. The content (anti-vaxxer) is one thing, but the owner seems to see literally any kind of fact-checking or editing as an offense to him and the First Amendment.

Dubious constitutional law aside, it's pretty much the result of more-or-less decades of celebration of individualism -- or of the "founder" as a heroic figure -- where any attempts at institutional creation are suspect in of itself.

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As an avid reader of The Reader, I would say it was more like “fact-checking for me, but not for thee” that Goodman was complaining about. The piece, and the fact-checking, were pretty much what you’d expect, which is to say imperfect on both sides, with institutional cascading of errors on the fact-checking side, which was Goodman’s main point, obscured by the shoddiness of his own side.

Apparently Goodman stepped away, allowing the paper to get non-Profit protection and continue, which is all to the good, but I’m not going to tell anyone that The Reader is worthy as a single source.

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Ugh, skimmed through Yarvin's gibberish. Not even wrong.

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