To all Outsiders
Around the first part of 2017, my writing partner and I received acceptance of a paper to be published about 'Neoreaction’ or NRx as it has come to be abbreviated. The paper was fairly typical for Media Studies and it concerned itself more with the uses the Alt-Right makes of platforms like Discord, instead of anything too theoretical.
The acceptance of the paper was withdrawn after one of the editors saw one of my Facebook posts about what I now call Cosmopolitanism. My Facebook post was filled with denunciations about the Left and its many defects. At that time, the social situation was becoming increasingly polarized as a result of the events of 2016. And I did not mince words in my statements.
I was tired of following what Sarah Perry calls the ruling 'sacredness’, or what Gramsci would call common sense. Oftentimes people use lives. Our wounds become, if anything, not only a shield but a sword which we can swing. This is the basis of identity politics.
What I tried to do with my unabashedly libertarian statements against the Left was to merely speak. I was not trying to use a shield, but only a sword. I did not what my identity to be “Peruvian”, “subaltern”, “brown” or “disabled”. I wanted to be me.
In a lecture about videogames criticism, academic Ian Bogost talks about what it means to be a critic. As he puts it “the critical soul is anathema to belonging”. One never quite fits in when trying to categorize itself in groups, and the ones we tend to stick around for are sometimes difficult to find.
As a student in a developed country, I do not feel like I belong, but that is as much an indictment on the cosmopolitan politics of the country I am in as it is about me. To not belong is to be outside of the common sense, not in a philosophical or grandiose manner, but on a very personal level to disagree, sometimes even with yourself as you try to find what is right.
What I found out is that there is no one that can tell you what to believe. You have to find out yourself. Rather than enter into tribal dynamics and groupthink wholesale, what many people are doing in the current political climate is find out what they believe in, as they see common orthodoxies in the Left and the Right.
For many of both camps, the Internet is one of the detrimental tools in the development of their ideologies. But the freedom that the Internet awards is a mechanism for the proliferation of micro-cultures, swarms, even within ourselves. As Lucca Fraser puts it, micro-cultures are almost “sublimely vast and reticulated”
One of the many features of the Internet is that gives people a space to find themselves and perform their own preferred ideologies. The heterogeneity and diversity of positions online makes any political compass or quiz instantly dated or biased for or against some camp.
And it makes even more sense in the political evolution of humans. As Michel Foucault put it, when asked about how his latter beliefs contradicted his former statements, it would be boring if one were to stay the same, with any sort of evolution in one's thought. As part, or non-part, of communities I have personally held positions that are as contradictory as they come (some of them: left-communist, accelerationist, conservative, formalist, techno-commercialist, libertarian, the list goes on) but I see it not as a mistake, but part of the journey of knowing what you believe in that these positions were held.
Political polarization made the tensions between camps more visible and by doing so it attempted to eliminate ambiguity and the possibility of Outsiders to arise. But the freedom that the digital world gives us to grow, means that these increasingly abrasive demands to know where anyone stands in an arbitrary political compass will meet like-minded people, as any group does. But at the same time it will generate the space for Outsiders, those who seek their own position no matter how eccentric it is. The politically ambiguous, the deceptive actors, the 'gaslighters’, the difficult and the different, they are here to stay. Digital liberty gives us the tools to seek our own path. We are different, atomised, and most of the time unable to see eye to eye. Yet, we agree to disagree, and move peacefully seeking our own path.
To all Outsiders, one or many, we may never find one another. But we owe it to ourselves to keep on seeking, against any orthodoxy of thought, our patchy path. You are (not) alone.