How the Alt-Right sinks its hooks into vulnerable and insecure white dudes.
I know a guy who has always seemed reasonably intelligent but floats back and forth between identities. He’s able to read a few things and regurgitate them back and seem like he’s smarter than he is to the untrained. When I met him he was vaguely Buddhist. Then, surrounded by christians, he became one of those. Years later the internet helped mold him into an adamant atheist who read a Richard Dawkins book and a handful of Reddit posts. Then came socialism and Marxism-lite.
And finally came a fairly common tipping point. He found himself frustrated with a relationship where he didn’t feel dominant. He took arguments and squabbles to be “disrespecting” him even as he also condescended her in every one of them. And so he found refuge amongst a haven of misogynists in the form of Reddit’s “The Red Pill” subreddit.
He started writing blogs about how “women don’t belong in the workplace” and how they’re “sluts who ride cock carousels until it’s time to settle.” He wrote, simultaneously, blogs about how women have it the easiest in society and are entitled AND about how he deserved a subservient woman who would bend to his every whim. He regurgitated the talking points of Return of Kings and Roosh and a number of other vehemently awful figures in that scene.
I started to wonder where this sort of gasping play at feeling superior came from and I began to think of times I hung out with him when his mother was there. She would constantly heap endless praise upon him for nearly everything he did. At every turn it was “wow you’re so smart” or “you’re so talented” with no presence of any constructive criticism or character building. I realized his attitudes were birthed from two things:
His boundless ego.
Over the years the praise couldn’t withstand the winds of reality that came to knock down the notion that he was superior to everyone around him. So he had to erect defenses around that ego to rationalize the way he looked at himself.
Bigotry seems to sprout from seeds of self hatred. When people feel unhappy and insecure with who they are but are unwilling to be introspective about it they create reasons to blame societal groups around them for it. And find ways to elevate themselves and validate themselves for things they had absolutely nothing to do with.
Which brings me to the white nationalism. After the blogs (expectedly) enraged his SO he quickly scrambled up the excuse that they were just troll articles designed to get web hits and make some money. He said he was done with that sort of thing. And then made a secretive troll twitter account where he went off on all manners of alt-right fueled bigotry. Constantly throwing around the n-word, making up lies about sexual conquest on nights he was at home playing on his computer, and all manner of hate speech about every marginalized group. He got wholly sucked into white nationalism and the alt right.
You see, these dudes feel disenfranchised because they don’t understand that the balance of power shifting (slowly as ever) to the center doesn’t mean that they’re going to be less than. It’s like this: you have a scales of justice style scale and the one side is floating high above the other. If you start adding weight to the higher side they aren’t going to see it as fair. They’re going to pout and stomp their feet because they don’t see the other side rising. They only see themselves being lowered.
This is why, even as we are baffled by the notion, these insecure white men feel like 2017 is a year where “white men have it bad” and are “the real oppressed class.” They can’t see that raising the volume of other voices is not an attack on them. They think their food is being stolen when people are just trying to make room for more people at the table. They’re so fragile that they see “it would be cool to have more women and people of color in movies” as “WHITE MEN BAD NO MORE WHITE MEN IN MOVIES.”
But white nationalism can make them feel at home. Just like a gang recruiting young vulnerable men in impoverished communities. If you can find these insecure and self loathing dudes and make them feel “strong” and give them a sense of belonging and familial comfort they’ll latch on. They don’t want to believe a problem exists within themselves. So even without any real accolades or evidence if you make them feel like they’re superior because of the skin and genitals they were born into the world with you’ve already built a crutch for their ego to lean on. They take sad and scared boys and direct their self hate at others. If they can feel righteous indignation towards these groups they will feel better.
The alt right and the trump movement claim to hate identity politics. But the whole thing is about identity. They’re so scared that their identity as white men is in jeopardy because the elevation of other voices. They’re grown men who feel left behind by society because some people decided to let the Ghostbusters be women. It’s lame as fuck.
Thanks for reading.