If you aren’t up to speed with the latest Alt-Right drama and infighting, Paul Nehlen has apparently doxed the social media personality known as Ricky Vaughn on Gab.
This has provoked a discussion about the morality of doxing in the Alt-Right. The general consensus seems to be that doxing is immoral and that Paul Nehlen should be disavowed and shunned by the movement. This is an interesting debate which dovetails with my current interests.
Generally speaking, if there is one subject the Alt-Right isn’t known for dwelling on too much, it is morality. Over the past six months, there have been hundreds of threads and tens of thousands of comments about optics. The Alt-Right is far more interested in aesthetics than ethics. Just as an observation, it is interesting to see a moral consensus emerging around the issue of anonymity and doxing. Paul Nehlen has dishonored himself by revealing (or attempting to reveal) Ricky Vaughn’s real name.
Ricky Vaughn, of course, is known for his relentless attacks on LARPers on Gab. And yet, the controversy here is that Ricky Vaughn’s own LARP may have come to an end. The real person behind the Charlie Sheen avatar who is ten foot tall and bulletproof on the internet may have been associated with his own opinions. The outrage is that his role playing and acting out his political fantasies on the internet under the cover of a disposable pseudonym has been terminated.
In light of all my current research, this episode just strikes me as a curious thing. In previous generations, a man was expected to be proud of his own name. A man of honor was a gentleman who commanded your respect. The culture of honor was focused on virtues like courage, piety, integrity, masculinity, pride, loyalty and probably above all else contempt for cowardice. It was considered shameful to be thought of and perceived as a coward. Insults were a serious matter and when fighting words were exchanged violence was expected to result. It was even permissible to kill people to satisfy honor. Andrew Jackson and William Lowndes Yancey killed other men who had impugned their honor in duels.
I’m struck by how the Alt-Right has turned this culture of honor upside down. Now, you are expected to be a coward and it is considered dishonorable to associate a coward with his own name. This would have been incomprehensible to our ancestors who would have never understood how anyone could tolerate living in a state of public shame and disgrace. The idea that honor can be used as a shield for cowardice illustrates the degree to which morality has radically changed over time.
To be crystal clear, I am not endorsing doxing. The subject really isn’t even on my mind right now. There are other good reasons not to engage in doxing. It is wrathful. It is uncharitable. It isn’t benevolent. When Christ commanded us to love our enemies and bless those who curse you, he was talking about deescalating these petty personal feuds. This is why dueling fell out of fashion over the course of the 19th century. I’ve had to confront this very same issue in my own life.
Many years ago, I gave this subject a lot of thought and just ceased caring about my real world identity getting out there. I did a lot of soul searching and decided that I am not ashamed of my own views. I decided that I wasn’t going to spend the rest of my life conforming to a fake morality which I believe is immoral and illegitimate. I don’t believe that “racism” or this laundry list of -isms and -phobias has anything to do with morality. My ancestors didn’t believe it was immoral, but they did believe that cowardice is immoral. They believed in honor which we have lost in our culture.
Leaving behind this minor episode with Ricky Vaughn, the three biggest influences on my moral views have been the culture of the Old South, Lutheranism and Aristotle all of which prized courage and uprightness. This is what I am planning to explore over the next few months.