“An ‘‘alternative’’ culture, of course, can’t just consist of a cluster of media outlets. It must evoke a comprehensive way of being, a system of shared habits and sensibilities. There are plenty of right-wing media personalities who see this possibility in their movement and are fond of referring to their various brands of conservatism — whether simply Trump-supporting or far more extreme — as ‘‘the new punk rock’’ or the defining ‘‘counterculture’’ of the moment. These claims are both galling and true enough for their speakers’ purposes. Expressing racist ideas in offensive language, for example, or provoking audiences with winking fascist imagery, is, on some level, transgressive. (Both behaviors do have some precedent in the history of actual punk music.) And portraying yourself as the rebellious ‘‘alternative’’ to the people and systems that have rejected you is at least a precursor to familiar American expressions of cool.
To that end, there are now explicitly ideological online platforms vying to create a whole alternative — and ‘‘alternative’’ — infrastructure for practicing politics and culture online. Fringe-right media is extremely active on Twitter, but when its most offensive pundits and participants are banned there, they can simply regroup on Gab, the platform Breitbart recently described as a ‘‘free speech Twitter alternative.’’ Reddit, a semireluctant but significant host to right-wing activists, has a harder-right alternative in Voat, where users are free to post things that might get them banned elsewhere. Or there’s the politics community on 4chan, which has long been the de facto ‘‘alternative’’ to other online communities, serving as a lawless exile, a base for war with the rest of the web and, in recent years, a shockingly influential source of political memes — the closest thing the new right has to a native culture. …”
I’ve written at length here in the past about how discourse shapes thought. We are the ideas and values we consume and the social environment with which we interact.
I’m not interested in being “mainstream” anymore. It seems like every year the “mainstream” becomes further removed from my values. I don’t believe the laundry list of -isms and -phobias that have been created since the 20th century and propagated by the media have anything to do with morality. I’m not interested in “mainstream” news and entertainment these days. The television in our home is broadcasting the Russia Narrative on CNN, but it is only turned on for terrorist attacks.
I’m tuned into social media where I interact with all my disillusioned peers on Facebook and Twitter. I have no idea who anchors NBC, CBS and ABC. I seem to know less and less about what is going on in sports and popular culture. I quit watching Hollywood movies. I lost interest in virtually all television shows, but I do watch videos that interest me on YouTube. I don’t need to conform to the “mainstream” because I already have lots of real world friends, a family and thousands of online followers.
The SPLC is desperately trying to shutdown our ability to raise money by “no-platforming” us on PayPal, GoFundMe, Patreon, Disqus, etc. In the long run, we will just adapt and become more virtuous in the process by creating our own crowdfunding platforms like WeSearchr and Counter.fund. If we are “no-platformed” from social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, where we increasingly dominate political discourse, we can always create our own platforms.
Eventually, I think our online counter-culture will grow to a critical mass and it will start spilling out into the real world. As we are already seeing, the ability of Antifas to engage in “no-platforming” through violent confrontations is rapidly being neutralized. Once the threat of physical force is eliminated, we will be able to “platform” and start organizing our disaffected supporters in any region we want, even in bastions of the Left like Berkeley, CA and Washington, DC. The inherent weaknesses of online culture will be washed away by more natural bonds as this scene shifts into the real world.
The “mainstream” political system is unresponsive to our needs. It doesn’t matter who we vote for these days. We seem to get the same policies. That doesn’t mean it is completely useless. Every troll has the power to vote and can wreck “mainstream” primaries and general elections. We can vote for outlandish candidates in order to disrupt “mainstream” culture and weaken the dominant taboos. This is what we did with Trump who in spite of all his failings still managed to inflict great damage on our enemies.
I think the most enjoyable activity is creating families through this alternative culture – matching men with women who share the same ideas, watching them get married and have children. I’ve seen it happen many times now. I’m already watching our children get older. I enjoy building our network across the South and connecting people who share our values and ideas in their local area. In doing so, I am consciously weakening their ties the “mainstream” and reorienting their lives toward our culture.
We will triumph over the “mainstream” by rejecting it and reorienting our lives toward each other. This means creating our own narratives, spreading our own discourse, cultivating and practicing our own values, building networks, becoming more organized, asserting our identity and values. We should build our own culture and make it attractive to people who are alienated from the dying “mainstream.” We grow stronger by finding those people, integrating them into our culture and articulating what we want to become, not by conforming to the latest fads of the “mainstream.”
The “mainstream” established its grip over our culture in the mid-20th century when mass media was in its infancy and there were no alternatives. Conservatives developed the habit of deferring to the dominant “mainstream.” There is no reason to submit to the “mainstream” anymore though or to remain oriented toward it. Few people who are rightwing these days trust the hostile “mainstream” media. It still cracks the whip but ordinary people are only still terrified by it out of habit.
Trump wouldn’t have been possible if the “mainstream” is still as strong as some people believe it to be. It isn’t nearly as strong as it was ten years ago.