The alt-right explained
April 19, 2016 12:28 PM   Subscribe

 
ctrl-alt-del
posted by chavenet at 12:30 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I have no sympathy for Cathy "Based Mom" Young complaining about the alt-right, given that she's spent the better part of the last two years playing footsie with them.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:34 PM on April 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


Terrifying.
posted by kafziel at 12:34 PM on April 19, 2016


zombieflanders, I thought Christina Hoff Sommers was "Based Mom".
posted by brundlefly at 12:35 PM on April 19, 2016


Ah, right. She's one of the other good friends of Gamergate et al, so the criticism still stands.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:39 PM on April 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


Should have known D Matthews would cover it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:41 PM on April 19, 2016


It's actually about ethics in politics.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:41 PM on April 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


funny how democracy turns out to be a sham right at the same time that white folks are looking at becoming a demographic minority
posted by thelonius at 12:42 PM on April 19, 2016 [199 favorites]


The fact that there are actual Americans who would prefer not only for Trump to be in charge, but for Trump to be an *absolute monarch* is breaking my brain.
posted by tau_ceti at 12:42 PM on April 19, 2016 [13 favorites]


Man, I feel like I need a Silkwood shower after reading that. Just...all the ugh ugh ugh.
posted by Kitteh at 12:43 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


hey, look, Atlas Shrugged isn't gonna take itself to its logical conclusion
posted by the phlegmatic king at 12:44 PM on April 19, 2016 [47 favorites]


This is an amazingly comprehensive and clearly written account of something that we will all be dealing with years after Trump falls out of relevancy
posted by R.F.Simpson at 12:44 PM on April 19, 2016 [20 favorites]


I enjoyed this article as a test of my readerly disinterest: would I be galled by Vox's shallow hastily-Googled travesty of a subject even if I find the subject itself completely dumb and reprehensible? I passed!
posted by RogerB at 12:44 PM on April 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


America isn't a pure democracy and never has been. These blowhards railing against the capriciousness of the people just need to jump in a time machine to before direct Senate elections, before party primaries, and before universal suffrage.

Why they need to institute a monarchy I don't understand. America was ruled by fairly unaccountable white elites for almost all of its history; only very recently has our system of government included a significant amount of direct democracy accessible by most people.
posted by BungaDunga at 12:48 PM on April 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


BUT OBAMA IS THE FASCIST BECAUSE HEALTHCARE!
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 12:50 PM on April 19, 2016 [20 favorites]


"How anyone reasonable could disagree with these statements is quite beyond me. And yet clearly almost everyone does."

We can all just make the "MetaFilter:" joke in our heads, right?
posted by nickmark at 12:50 PM on April 19, 2016 [53 favorites]


America isn't a pure democracy and never has been.

Exactly. It's a constitutional republic where (the theory goes) we set up basic rules that stop the wolves from voting the sheep for dinner. However, as every D&D player knows, there's always that guy who min maxes and rules lawyers.

The problem with libertarian forms of government is that guy is still there. That guy, now, is no longer stopped from absolutely fucking everyone by constitutional limits.
posted by Talez at 12:50 PM on April 19, 2016 [49 favorites]


Moldbug in particular views American society as a kind of Indian-style caste system. He views the Democratic Party as a coalition of Brahmins (liberal intellectual types who went to fancy schools), Dalits (poor, mostly black or Latino people), and Helots (Mexican immigrant workers).

This guy sees classes of people he thinks are comparable to Dalits and the Helots (who were, you know, essentially slaves) and thinks "the problem with these guys is that might vote for Hillary."
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:51 PM on April 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


Good god am I ready for the primaries to be over and the final form of the horrifying conflict that will follow to be revealed. Of course then we'll have a couple of months of utter terror while we find out if America is feeling dumb enough to elect GamerGate and Nazi chums.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on April 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


As usual with Vox, this reads like a quick google job. Conflating clowns like 'Mencius Moldbug' with people like Pat Buchanan is a sad thing. Perhaps a symptom of the internet age. (Yes, I realize everyone here thinks Pat Buchanan is Hitler but he's not an ignorant puffed-up tech bro making bizarre arguments about monarchy).
posted by zipadee at 12:59 PM on April 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


Good god am I ready for the primaries to be over and the final form of the horrifying conflict that will follow to be revealed. Of course then we'll have a couple of months of utter terror while we find out if America is feeling dumb enough to elect GamerGate and Nazi chums.

But Artw, they say exactly what they mean and are straight with you even if it's hateful, bigoted, racist, and has no place in a modern diverse society.
posted by Talez at 1:01 PM on April 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


Metafilter: We can all just make the "MetaFilter:" joke in our heads, right?
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:01 PM on April 19, 2016 [97 favorites]


Talez, I want to take that comment out for drinks and dancing. I'm going to commit that to memory for when, invariably, the family gathering conversation drifts into politics, where I'm up against the wall with two libertarians (who are also, coincidentally gamers) that might actually penetrate the brainspace a bit.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:02 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I bet Vox Day is annoyed at being left of this run-down of fascist trolls.
posted by Artw at 1:04 PM on April 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


I posted a brilliant FPP about r/The_Donald weeks ago, but cucktex deleted it. :(
posted by ND¢ at 1:04 PM on April 19, 2016 [36 favorites]


Honestly, sometimes I wish I could take Milo Yiannopoulos back in time and show him what his alt-right buddies did to queers before 2000. He would hopefully realize that without progressives he'd be at risk of being institutionalized, castrated, lobotomized, etc.
posted by Talez at 1:04 PM on April 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


maybe it was too low energy, ND¢
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:06 PM on April 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


So I guess intersectionality isn't just for progressives anymore!

(Not that it ever was, in practice.)
posted by rtha at 1:06 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


See also: Trotskyite singularitarians for monarchy.
posted by cstross at 1:08 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Honestly I think he knows that, he just doesn't care, because he is some kind of weird asshole.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on April 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


I feel like these guys read The Diamond Age and really liked the neo-Victorian asshole faction.
posted by BungaDunga at 1:15 PM on April 19, 2016 [20 favorites]


Zompist called Libertarianism the philosophy of Losers and I think there's a lot of that in here along with the internet amplifying and speeding things up
posted by The Whelk at 1:21 PM on April 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


> The purpose of government, in the view of neoreactionaries, isn't to represent the will of the people. It's to govern well, full stop.

Your definition of "govern well" may vary, but these are just minor details that will be worked out in time, surely without conflict and for the greater good. What could be simpler?
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:21 PM on April 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


> Honestly, sometimes I wish I could take Milo Yiannopoulos back in time and show him what his alt-right buddies did to queers before 2000.

Have you heard of Roy Cohn?
posted by benito.strauss at 1:23 PM on April 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


I posted a brilliant FPP about r/The_Donald weeks ago, but cucktex deleted it. :(

ಠ_ಠ
posted by cortex at 1:24 PM on April 19, 2016 [117 favorites]


Your definition of "govern well" may vary, but these are just minor details that will be worked out in time, surely without conflict and for the greater good. What could be simpler?

Full text of The New Constitution: "Be excellent to each other".
posted by thelonius at 1:27 PM on April 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


I feel like these guys read The Diamond Age and really liked the neo-Victorian asshole faction.

The "Cathedral" reference reminded me of the famous Eric Raymond essay and I'm now even more convinced that self-satisfied internet-loving white dudes will cause the end of democracy and civilization.
posted by selfnoise at 1:28 PM on April 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


For what it's worth, I think this graphic (created in 2014) pretty much covers it.
posted by mhoye at 1:28 PM on April 19, 2016 [52 favorites]


> Just as the kids of the 60s shocked their parents with promiscuity, long hair and rock’n’roll, so too do the alt-right’s young meme brigades shock older generations with outrageous caricatures, from the Jewish "Shlomo Shekelburg" to "Remove Kebab," an internet in-joke about the Bosnian genocide.

Your false equivalencies are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:30 PM on April 19, 2016 [13 favorites]


Your false equivalencies are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

As someone who's written some of what Yiannopoulos has written, you really don't. Those assholes won't ever take your name off either.
posted by Talez at 1:32 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Eric Raymond is naming names for lists of SJWs these day, so I guess he's gone Nazi. now.
posted by Artw at 1:32 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


"now"?
posted by Krom Tatman at 1:37 PM on April 19, 2016 [11 favorites]


Metafilter: We can all just make the "MetaFilter:" joke in our heads, right?

You're very clever, young man, very clever. But it's the "Metafilter:" joke all the way down!
posted by Naberius at 1:39 PM on April 19, 2016 [11 favorites]


Oh, he's one of the people who went nuts post 9/11.
posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on April 19, 2016


If Libertarianism is the philosophy of losers, then Trumpism is the philosophy of people who get mad at the convenience store clerk because they never win the lottery.


That's not even a metaphor or anything- that's just something they do.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:41 PM on April 19, 2016 [63 favorites]


"Be excellent to each other".

The Midnight Amendments: 1) Be cool. 2) C'mon. 3) Niiiiice.
posted by kmz at 1:41 PM on April 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


is this the new election thread?
posted by mwhybark at 1:42 PM on April 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


The election thread where we hopped in a time machine and jumped up and down on a whole bunch of butterflies.
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on April 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


See also: Trotskyite singularitarians for monarchy.

I'm confused.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:48 PM on April 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


It's all fun and games until it turns out fun and games fascism is just fascism with plausible deniability.
posted by Artw at 1:49 PM on April 19, 2016 [18 favorites]


jumped up and down on a whole bunch of butterflies.

They had it coming.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 1:51 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I posted a brilliant FPP about r/The_Donald weeks ago, but cucktex deleted it. :(

Don't you get it? Donald supporters feel betrayed by the people they trusted, and they're angry and ashamed at how weak they've become. So they really want a strong, virile man to grab hold of the country they love and really give her what she deserves, and give it to her good and strong.

They just want to watch.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:58 PM on April 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


It's always odd when you read people who would be serfs (or maybe artisans) under monarchy in the old days imagining that they would be aristocracy in the New Order. Guys, you aren't the Aristocracy; you can't even see the Aristocracy from where you are standing. The Aristocracy doesn't care about stock options.

Ask not for whom the boot stamps; it stamps for thee.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:59 PM on April 19, 2016 [80 favorites]


METTAFILLTUR INC.
A KOMUNITEE WEBBLOG
YU PAIE FIV DOLLURS
YU MAEK THE POSST
WEE TAWK ABOWTT ITT.
His face was cold. His mouth trembled, asking: "Who - who won the site elections yesterday?"

The man behind the desk laughed. "You joking? You know very well. Quidnunc, of course! Who else? Not that fool Cortex. We got an iron man now, a man with guts!"
posted by Iridic at 2:01 PM on April 19, 2016 [123 favorites]


I don't think (most of, anyway) those people think they'll be at the top of the pyramid in the New Order, they just want their old place back above those they consider their inferiors.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:03 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I don't think (most of, anyway) those people think they'll be at the top of the pyramid in the New Order, they just want their old place back above those they consider their inferiors.

I dunno, that malarky about wanting to be share holders in a company that owns a country suggest otherwise to me....
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:06 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is piece is unless because it didn't spent 25000 words discussing the weird hyphergraphia that characterizes the alt-right's writings.
posted by GuyZero at 2:09 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


they think because they are white men they will be 'stockholders' but in feudal societies most men are serfs too, lacking possessions or power.
posted by supermedusa at 2:09 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


Please shut the site for the rest of the day - Iridic won.
posted by GuyZero at 2:10 PM on April 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


"Cthulhu may swim slowly. But he only swims left."

*Sigh* Based on the only documentary evidence, Cthulhu swims quite quickly when moved to do so. What you interpret as slow swimming is is actually not-deadness-but-dreamingness, a whole different kettle of fish. As it were. Simultaneously, the whole more-than-three-dimensions thing makes all attribution of direction more incoherent than Azathoth.

Dude, get your nerd touchstones in a row before you start speaking.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:11 PM on April 19, 2016 [17 favorites]


See also: Trotskyite singularitarians for monarchy.

How sad am I that I knew that this was going to be a Spiked or Brendan O'Neill reference before I even clicked on it.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:11 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


don't think (most of, anyway) those people think they'll be at the top of the pyramid in the New Order, they just want their old place back above those they consider their inferiors.

I know it's just anecdotal, but my experience with these types has been the opposite: they do think they're better (in this case read smarter/more talented) than the idiot masses, and it's the current order that's holding them back from rising to the top and getting the rewards that are their natural due.

It's no coincidence that "Moldbug" is a programmer and the alt-right seems to have a big following in the tech crowd. Not to say all tech people are like this, but the STEM fields do have a big helping of high self-regard expressed through things like Engineer's Disease. There seems to be something about computer science in particular that lends itself to fostering libertarian beliefs.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:15 PM on April 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


Meh, even though alt-right and dark enlightenment aren't completely synonymous, Park MacDougald's excellent essay in The Awl previously does a good job at examining the movement and its place in late capitalism, and even takes Nick Land's philosophical premises seriously during the examination. This Vox piece is just another bestiary of the wacko movements that make up the movement. We've seen plenty of those already. They obligingly (at least the dark enlightenment bloviators) do that for us, what with their charts and Magic: the Gathering cards and that recent Milo Y. Breitbart article that's linked in the Vox piece.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:17 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wait, what's this about the Alt-Reich?
posted by tonycpsu at 2:25 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I bet Vox Day is annoyed at being left of this run-down of fascist trolls.

This left of/left off thing is fascinating me.
posted by Existential Dread at 2:37 PM on April 19, 2016 [16 favorites]


The fact that there are actual Americans who would prefer not only for Trump to be in charge, but for Trump to be an *absolute monarch* is breaking my brain.

Isn't Hamilton really popular right now? Do they not cover this in the musical?
posted by indubitable at 2:37 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I wonder if this was inspired by the article Brietbart did on the same phenomenon a couple weeks ago. Which opens with a wonderful piece of illustration depicting 4Chan's frog mascot as The Ghost Of Elections Future haunting old Ebeneezer Scrooge Elephant. (Spoiler: these kids freak them out, too.)
posted by egypturnash at 2:39 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


As someone with a fairly unorthodox political philosophy myself, I'm reluctant to judge just because opinions are outside of the mainstream, and I'm especially reluctant to judge based on a Vox article. But... some of these quotes are making me less reluctant to judge. There are good and interesting arguments for monarchy, but these aren't them.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:40 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


The real problem with this article (just granting its general Voxy stupidity and Google-"researched" thinness) that's leading to problems with the "they" and "these guys" being discussed in this thread is that it takes a radical lumping approach about a bunch of different factions and ideologies, without actually presenting any argument at all that they have anything much to do with one another. If there's some deep substantive connection or taxonomic similarity between, like, racist 4chan trolls for Trump and neo-monarchist theoreticians blogging windy proclamations of their own Übermenschheit and the paleocon insiders in Pat Buchanan's greasy Rolodex, what it is would seem to need to be spelled out.
posted by RogerB at 2:41 PM on April 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


Pat Buchanan's greasy Rolodex

Sock puppet! Claimed it!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:46 PM on April 19, 2016 [33 favorites]


[...] democracy is a joke. That it's weak, it's corrupt, and it caters to the whims of a fickle electorate rather than the needs of the citizenry

No argument here. Good summary of democracy's weaknesses.

That Congress and the president must be replaced with a CEO-like figure to run the country as it truly should be, without the confused input of the masses.

I'll never understand the tendency of some to step from clear diagnosis to bizarre, wrong-headed cure. Some problems are intractable. Some bad situations (and institutions) are least bad. They can be tweaked and reformed within limits.

People who disapprove of progressivism and think regressiveism is the answer confuse and annoy me. Extreme solutions are rarely that.
posted by echocollate at 2:47 PM on April 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


Single link? If you're going to discuss the phenom, you should at least put in An Establishment Conservative’s Guide To The Alt-Right
posted by IndigoJones at 2:55 PM on April 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


If there's some deep substantive connection or taxonomic similarity between, like, racist 4chan trolls for Trump and neo-monarchist theoreticians blogging windy proclamations of their own Übermenschheit and the paleocon insiders in Pat Buchanan's greasy Rolodex, what it is would seem to need to be spelled out.

Voxplain this!
posted by Krom Tatman at 2:57 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


The damning thing about modern (neo)liberal democracy is that the neoreactionary/general folk right-wing idea of "we need a real businessman with real business experience in charge" isn't really too far from the idea of government by experts championed by less-than-right proponents. So you have instead of one guy in a hairpiece and billion-dollar suit in power, you have a board of colorless wonkish elite technocrats with cheaper clothes. How do we the people benefit from that, exactly?
posted by Apocryphon at 3:02 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Lesser chance of them being insane and incompetent narcissists and better opportunities to get rid of them if they are?
posted by Artw at 3:04 PM on April 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


From IndigoJones's link: Are they actually bigots? No more than death metal devotees in the 80s were actually Satanists. For them, it’s simply a means to fluster their grandparents.

So, about 20 years ago, I was visiting a friend in Norway, and we ended up having dinner with a Crowleyite. He was talking about a friend of his, who appeared on Norwegian TV when they needed someone to talk about the occult. Apparently, he was asked about scary Black Metal bands. He said "Eh, they are just trying to shock. It's not like they are out killing people and burning down churches." Within a few weeks, there was at least one murder and a burned church. He said "well, I called that one wrong."

Just sayin'.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:20 PM on April 19, 2016 [49 favorites]


I know it's just anecdotal, but my experience with these types has been the opposite: they do think they're better (in this case read smarter/more talented) than the idiot masses, and it's the current order that's holding them back from rising to the top and getting the rewards that are their natural due.

My experiences with them have suggested the same thing. Reading through some of those quotes, I got the impression that a lot of these "NRx" writers have picked up an amateurish understanding of history, political philosophy, etc. independently and through a self-selected echo chamber, with a healthy dose of blithe self-assurance imparted by arrogance. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. It becomes more dangerous when it's self-selected and self-taught, and more dangerous still when it's combined with intellectual arrogance and a sense of entitlement.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 3:24 PM on April 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


I know I've read some not-Republican conservative critiques of "PUAs," Buchanan's run at the presidency, libertarians, etc. Some were all from the same people. I don't think any of the people mentioned are influencing the large bulk of voters that turn out for Trump. It seems like "conservatism" is fractured much more than this article is proposing.
posted by michaelh at 3:34 PM on April 19, 2016


I felt sure someone would have come up with a good "the kids are alt-right" pun by now...
posted by uosuaq at 4:05 PM on April 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


Moldbug has announced he's finished.

It's like youthful experimentation with coke and marijuana I suppose.
posted by bukvich at 4:06 PM on April 19, 2016


One of the obstacles in trying to come up with a coherent taxonomy of the alt-right sphere is that the Cathy Youngs and Milo Yiannopouloses of the world are happy to lean on them for support one day and disavow any connection the next, in much the way the establishment right drove money and talking points to The Tea Party and then disavowed connection whenever they lost control of the truck. So yeah, the redpill-neoreactionary-dark enlightenment-gamergate-/pol/-etc. Venn diagram isn't just a circle and arguments/rivalries exist between them--but the overlap in membership, tactics, and campaigns isn't an accident and it is not isolated from more powerful/mainstream influences.
posted by Krom Tatman at 4:09 PM on April 19, 2016 [11 favorites]


So once the new CEO/emperor takes power, he's going to implement universal health care and guaranteed minimum income? Is that how this works?
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:27 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


Certainly if there is no asshole mothership this is still a fleet of assholes flying in close formation - the same names and tactics cropping up again and again on a regular basis.
posted by Artw at 4:27 PM on April 19, 2016 [9 favorites]



maybe it was too low energy, ND¢
Sad!
posted by drezdn at 4:30 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd say this is going to hurt his company but it's Wild Tangent so it's not like it isn't probably a living hell already.
posted by Artw at 4:36 PM on April 19, 2016


Venn diagram isn't just a circle and arguments/rivalries exist between them--but the overlap in membership, tactics, and campaigns isn't an accident and it is not isolated from more powerful/mainstream influences.


Hey, the Falangists were more than happy to work with both the Carlists and the Alfonsists, back in '36.


OTOH, the Marxist-Leninists (Stalin) were not so agreeable to the Social Democrats, Democratic Socialists, Trots, Wobblies, Anarchists, and Anarcho-Syndicalists, and see how that worked out for them.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:44 PM on April 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Metafilter: Take the blue pill. Embrace it. Worship it. To consider the red pill is racist, homophobic and sexist. The blue pill is the only pill worth considering. The red pill is stupid! Red-pill people are so stupid.
posted by king walnut at 4:49 PM on April 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


Poop pill more like.
posted by Artw at 4:50 PM on April 19, 2016 [9 favorites]


What if I told you the whole "Blue Pill/Red Pill" speech was written by two women?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:51 PM on April 19, 2016 [73 favorites]


Consider The Red Pill is imo one of DFW's lesser works
posted by griphus at 4:51 PM on April 19, 2016 [6 favorites]


Poop pill more like.

antidiarrheals are a tool of the matriarchy, MOM
posted by Krom Tatman at 4:53 PM on April 19, 2016 [12 favorites]


Raise The Red Pill was probably Zhang Yimou's most powerful indictment of masculinist ideologies, but the official stance is that it was simply a critique of the role of women in pre-revolutionary Chinese society.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:55 PM on April 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


Raise High the Red Pill, Carpenters!
Like Ares comes the Donald
Alpha as fuck
posted by Krom Tatman at 5:00 PM on April 19, 2016 [10 favorites]


I'm surprised that the article didn't mention the event(s) that brought Moldbug to many folks' attention (including mine): he submitted talks to a couple functional programming conferences with blind review. The first one, StrangeLoop 2015 upon learning the presenter would be Moldbug, unaccepted his talk. The second one, LambdaConf 2016, decided to proceed with allowing him to participate in the conference. As a response, a group of functional programmers wrote and signed a letter protesting the decision. Some sponsors dropped out, an Indigogo campaign launched to replace the missing sponsorship money, and the LambdaConf organizers said they'd handle talk acceptances differently, presumably to avoid this moving forward (but didn't apologize for this year's decision). The social media discussion around this issue got emotional quickly, including threats against the protest letter's signatories.

Through all of this, I kept thinking about the amazing degree of civility here at MetaFilter, and would be interested to hear input from the MF community and moderators about where this might be going. Fostering inclusion by creating a safe, respectful community that may include folks who don't value inclusiveness, or even see what safe & respectful means, has to be a bit of a balancing act. It will be interesting to see what happens at LambdaConf, and moving forward.
posted by dylanjames at 5:00 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


I'm just hoping that functional programming doesn't become an alt-right signifier, like fedoras and goatees.
posted by acb at 5:06 PM on April 19, 2016 [19 favorites]


That ship sailed aeons ago. Old hippies use lisp, anyone who advocates Scala or Erlang is basically some flavour of a right-wing nutcase. Some are alt-right, some are gold bugs, some are just pedestrian misanthropic investment banking programmers.
posted by GuyZero at 5:14 PM on April 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


Holy shit I thought ESR was merely eccentric and blowhard-y. I had no idea he was so crazy.
posted by Monochrome at 5:15 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I watched a bit of a video of Milo Yiannopoulos to try to figure out how a queermo could support this kind of stuff and was struck by a couple things. He was making some anti-assimilationist arguments about same-sex marriage and championing the power of queers being outlaws and rebels (in a snarky but also probably serious way) that made me see him as kind of an alternative universe Oscar Wilde--his aristocratic rich boy thing is definitely part of that.

It's too bad he supports the misogyny train that is GamerGate and also racism and the whole busted mess of the alt-right...
posted by overglow at 5:17 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


I had no idea he was so crazy.

RMS has some crazy ideas. ESR is just crazy.
posted by eclectist at 5:20 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


anyone who advocates Scala or Erlang is basically some flavour of a right-wing nutcase

Given that the Guardian runs almost entirely on Scala (and is one of the big Scala shops in the UK, alongside Twitter), that has some interesting implications.

(Funnily enough, the Murdoch papers and the Daily Mail seem to run on a combination of legacy Java and Node.)
posted by acb at 5:20 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


I thought functional programming is currently the province of Hacker News-linkspamming hypester devs who embody this ethos of cargo cult tool-loving.
posted by Apocryphon at 5:21 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


You'll love my new Erlang IDE
posted by GuyZero at 5:25 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


What if I told you the whole "Blue Pill/Red Pill" speech was written by two women?
i'd ask who they were (i've tried googling but not turned anything up).
edit: oh, sorry. ok, i had no idea.
posted by andrewcooke at 5:25 PM on April 19, 2016


Fostering inclusion by creating a safe, respectful community that may include folks who don't value inclusiveness, or even see what safe & respectful means, has to be a bit of a balancing act

Yeah, this "balancing" is a bunch of shit. No one who isn't an asshole tries to insist on it, and no one who isn't a regressive bigot makes an issue of it. It's an issue completely invented by people who want to complain that not enough people are paying attention to their hatred. There is, absolutely, no relationship between being inclusive and providing a forum for hateful dickwads.
posted by OmieWise at 5:26 PM on April 19, 2016 [15 favorites]


The US is killing random families in Yemen in the name of safety, while the "alt-right" scene discussed in the article is ready to keep cranking out the next Elliot Rodger or Dylann Roof.
posted by threeants at 5:27 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


The "final statement" from the Lambdaconf person gets so delightfully weird at the end. It's like getting a breakup email from a friend who is also a robot.
posted by nom de poop at 5:27 PM on April 19, 2016 [10 favorites]


The Wachowskis, Lana and Lilly.
posted by Existential Dread at 5:28 PM on April 19, 2016 [3 favorites]


My father, who like me is bipolar, has recently decided to taper off his mood stabilizer, after almost two decades without a manic episode and an increasing burden of chronic issues caused by the medication. At first he did well, but lately he has been swallowed whole by the alt-right virus.

He has increasingly become consumed by paranoid and grandiose delusions, believing that he has unique insights into a global banking conspiracy to force us all into debt slavery by accepting fiat money. He believes the owner of a local cafe/gallery and octogenarian landscape painter are CSIS or CIA agents trying to set him up with a false flag domestic terrorist attack to justify killing him in a drone strike. This also ties into feminists and "cultural Marxists" bankrolled by George Soros trying to destroy the white race with abortion and immigration. He believes that his sons are brainwashed co-conspirators controlled by their Soros-backed girlfriends.

He supports Donald Trump.

Before he stopped taking his medication, this was a man whose politics were mostly a tempered reflection of his mother, a communist. He was a reliable NDP voter. He had a close bond with and deep respect for his sister's late wife. Her death devastated him.

So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that from my perspective, this alt-right phenomenon might be wholly the manifestation among white men of untreated mental illness causing paranoid delusions.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 5:50 PM on April 19, 2016 [29 favorites]


...and senility.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:54 PM on April 19, 2016


I am not sure you are off the mark, sad to say. There's also the case of Joshua Goldberg, who was behind a ton of trolling and bomb threats and other alt-right nuttiness, who turned out to be suffering mental illness upon capture.

Of course, that could just be bullshit to keep him out of jail.
posted by Artw at 5:59 PM on April 19, 2016


The beauty of democracy isn't its efficiency or its responsiveness or its good sense. Its beauty is in the peaceful transfer of power from one leader to the next. We don't have succession crises. We don't have a race to kill all the other rivals to the throne before they take power. We don't have a civil war every time someone else decides he could do a better job than the current leader. There's no delving into genealogies or religious changes made as part of a succession deal. We have a vote, people get pissed off when they're on the losing side, and then bide their time until the next vote.

I love medieval history as much as the next guy, but I also saw kingdoms implode because rivals ended up in a civil war, knowing that if they lost, they'd both be dead and the winner would have his way for decades to come (which is what made going to war worthwhile). And even if there wasn't a civil war, there would be turmoil for decades over arguments of who deserved to be king next.

Successful autocracies (by which I mean "stable") are places like Cuba, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia: political entities not even 100 years old.

The fact that Donald Trump won't seize power, abolish democracy, and turn himself into a dictator is why the system is so stable: since we know he can't/won't, people are willing to accept his presidency, knowing that it's just for 4-8 years and will occur within the limits of a legal framework.
posted by deanc at 6:01 PM on April 19, 2016 [13 favorites]


I think I blame the Internet, at least for the millennial crop of wingnuts. Pre-Web, you had a limited range of formative influences during those tender teenage years - family, MSM, libraries, local activists; you could discover Ayn Rand, but you couldn't really go much further unless you got the bug bad and had some ability to dig. By the time you got to college, at least some of the rough edges would have begun to round off. Now, you just sit at home and as soon as you have a notion - wham, you're thrust into the centre of the storm. All sorts of immediately gratifying positive feedback loops can snare you, and if you're even vaguely susceptible to the heady scent of half-baked narcissism, you can eat your fill, night after night.

The same drives don't work for the sane and the introspective.

I think this works for fundamentalists of all shades; the NRx for sure, and also some of the dangerously certain brook-no-debate firebrands who inhabit other parts of the forest.

Thid isn't all of it, not at all, but having seen the changing polity of online as it became universal, I think I could build a fairly strong case based on worked examples.
posted by Devonian at 6:18 PM on April 19, 2016 [8 favorites]


What if I told you the whole "Blue Pill/Red Pill" speech was written by two women?

i would still laugh at the conceit - now take this sugarcube and ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:33 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


The only thing I ever got from reading Curtis Yarvin is the subtle implication that someone very much like him, if not exactly like him, maybe, actually, just him,should be that monarch. I've taken a peek at /pol/, in the same way one might shamefully stare at a 12 car pile-up. All these folks exude the same underlying sentiment of, "We should reinstate monarchy/aristocracy/plutocracy because I would be on top!"

Invariably the people implying, or outright stating this fall into two camps: people who most certainly would not be on top but are too intoxicated with fantasies of victory, and people who are actually currently on top, like Curtis Yarvin. If I had an ounce of water for every time I heard a person who grosses over 100K a year say that taxes, government, democracy, etc. is immoral, I wouldn't have drowned, I'd be in-fucking-solution.

Secondary to this, the whole, "Yeah man we should have a rational dictator who would guide the country upon simple logical principals." makes my face melt with such rage that I need to keep a tarp on hand to catch what's left of my head as it pools at my feet. Of course they would be logical. Logically biased against whoever's on your probably-very-reasonable shitlist that definitely doesn't include people of colour, women, or basically anyone that disagrees with you on a fundamental level.

Even if we're looking outside of the /pol/ tier demographic, I'm sure a lot of seemingly okay people wouldn't mind a dictator that ushers certain religions, ethnic groups, social groups, political groups, etc. into death camps with haste.
posted by constantinescharity at 7:10 PM on April 19, 2016 [16 favorites]


This reads a lot like a warmed over version of several articles I remember reading a year or so ago about "neoreaction", revised and updated with Trump coverage. While it's possibly true about a significant part of Trump's internet following, if you went to a Trump rally, how many people there would have even heard of this "Mencious Moldbug" character? 1 in 100? 1 in 1000? Is Trump a "neoreactionary monarchist"? Doesn't really seem like one. People like articles like this because it's got that click-baity quality of here's something wacky and weird (it's right there in the title), and OMG-I-totally-know-a-guy-like-this! but it ain't real life.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:19 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


There's at least on Brietbart editor on the Trump payroll.
posted by Artw at 7:31 PM on April 19, 2016


"If there's some deep substantive connection or taxonomic similarity between, like, racist 4chan trolls for Trump and neo-monarchist theoreticians blogging windy proclamations of their own Übermenschheit and the paleocon insiders in Pat Buchanan's greasy Rolodex, what it is would seem to need to be spelled out."

Well, he did sort of spell it out a bit. Trump and the neo-monarchist windbags are linked by racist 4chan trolls; the neo-monarchists (alt-right) broadly agree with Trump but think he doesn't go far enough. And "the neoreactionaries are not simply heirs to the paleoconservatives ... But [they] share with the paleocons a belief in tribalism and racial difference, and a deep sense that the mainstream is trying to crush them." All of these groups share traits of authoritarianism, white nationalism - which includes white supremacy and isolationism - an inflated sense of self-importance, and reactionary social attitudes.

Literally reactionary, in the case of racist trolls; this quote ("Young people perhaps aren’t attracted to the alt-right because they’re instinctively drawn to its ideology: they’re drawn to it because it seems fresh, daring and funny, while the doctrines of their parents and grandparents seem unexciting, overly-controlling and overly-serious.") is arguing precisely that they're simply reacting against the older generation.

Trump isn't exactly a monarchist, but he has talked about tackling the presidency as if it's another CEO position, just like these "neo-monarchists" do. He's presented himself as being entirely outside the legal framework of democracy.

The alt-right this guy describes is a small and wacky phenomenon, while Trump is a big scary phenomenon, and that's honestly the biggest difference I see.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 8:12 PM on April 19, 2016 [7 favorites]


  someone very much like him, if not exactly like him, maybe, actually, just him,should be that monarch

Twas ever thus with the Technocrats. The US Technocratic movement fell apart spectacularly in the first quarter of the 20th century due to squabbling over who was best. Even the otherwise brilliant Steinmetz was caught up in it.
posted by scruss at 8:29 PM on April 19, 2016


I'll be honest; I thought Moldbug was a MetaFilter inside joke about goldbugs. TIL!
posted by Existential Dread at 9:18 PM on April 19, 2016 [4 favorites]


I feel like John Derbyshire might be the closest thing to a connection between the established Right and the Internet Right, having transited (by being fired) from the National Review to whatever the hell he does now.
posted by atoxyl at 9:49 PM on April 19, 2016 [1 favorite]


And yes I know the word is "transition" but I liked the astrological implication.
posted by atoxyl at 10:03 PM on April 19, 2016


anyone who advocates Scala or Erlang is basically some flavour of a right-wing nutcase.

I work for a nearly 100% scala shop that is fully 100% liberals, with only a tiny smattering of the typical "well meaning engineer who thinks libertarianism makes sense because they can't quite fathom how much of an asshole other people can be".

Though we're in LA, where you're allowed to use technologies as you see fit without buying into weird ideologies if you want to.
posted by flaterik at 10:11 PM on April 19, 2016 [2 favorites]


If there's some deep substantive connection or taxonomic similarity between, like, racist 4chan trolls for Trump and neo-monarchist theoreticians blogging windy proclamations of their own Übermenschheit and the paleocon insiders in Pat Buchanan's greasy Rolodex, what it is would seem to need to be spelled out.

White supremacy. The answer is always white supremacy. And no, the alt-right isn't anything more than warmed over white supremacy dressed up in rants only slightly longer than that of John Gant's in Atlas Shrugged.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:59 PM on April 19, 2016 [5 favorites]


And really Vox, none of this is new. Wanting a businessman to take over the US and run a rational government to save it from communism? Smedley Darlington Butler would've known what that looks like.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:15 AM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


"Yeah man we should have a rational dictator who would guide the country upon simple logical principals."

Plato's Republicans?
posted by acb at 1:36 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


...and senility.

As someone who did this kind of on-the-fly provisional diagnosing for a living for a while, I DEEPLY believe Trump has early-stage dementia. Every time I see him speak that's the gut-reaction I have to his speech patterns. Of course I think a LOT of people in the 50-70 age range start experiencing symptoms of dementia that are frequently either ignored or treated as more "normal" mental illness like depression.
posted by threeturtles at 2:57 AM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


butterflies are low energy.
posted by ennui.bz at 5:15 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


nativists who fear immigration will spur civil disarray

And what the hell is a Nativist? A Native American supremacist?

Nativist?
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 6:27 AM on April 20, 2016


And what the hell is a Nativist? A Native American supremacist?

Nativist?


Not sure if joking? It's a term that's been in use for years, with a particularly long and racist history in the US.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:35 AM on April 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


And what the hell is a Nativist? A Native American supremacist?

I've heard of Know-Nothings, but this is something else! Folks,
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:42 AM on April 20, 2016 [14 favorites]


They're called First Nationsalists, actually
posted by Apocryphon at 8:41 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not funny.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:58 AM on April 20, 2016 [4 favorites]


Thanks, Rustic. Well, sorry. I was questioning the meaning of the term 'Native' but if a white Colonialist is considered a Native then I apologise.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 9:03 AM on April 20, 2016


When I saw the headline of this post I thought it was going to be a discussion of a narrow topic newsgroup, Like alt.rec.crafts.sewing or something.
posted by Gadgetenvy at 9:05 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


"Native" in this case refers to the nativists' perception of themselves, not their (lack of) relation to indigenous peoples.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:06 AM on April 20, 2016 [6 favorites]


I understand that, however, regarding immigration, I don't see how the two can be separated. As I am not an American, I don't have much of a place in this conversation. Again, apologies for the offence.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 9:18 AM on April 20, 2016


No offense taken. You just didn't know what you were posting about, and it was funny
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:50 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is the most "So, It's Come to This" article I've read yet in a year full of me thinking "so, it's come to this."
posted by ignignokt at 10:00 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


When I saw the headline of this post I thought it was going to be a discussion of a narrow topic newsgroup, Like alt.rec.crafts.sewing or something.

Trolling has been in that cyberspace for a long time, too
posted by Apocryphon at 10:03 AM on April 20, 2016


I feel like I've been watching this shit from the ground up for twenty years now and the connections made in the article make perfect sense to me. These are the fuckers who will form the heart of whatever ends up destroying and replacing the U.S. as we know it.
posted by charred husk at 10:08 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


There seems to be something about computer science in particular that lends itself to fostering libertarian beliefs.

Yeah: money
posted by thelonius at 10:38 AM on April 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


I probably said this before but I actually read... well, a lot (I did start skimming at some point) of the Moldbug enlightenment series or whatever that's supposed to convince you and I learned something from it for real which is that one's politics to a very significant extent ultimately come down to one's values. He can't really convince me because I don't agree with his concept of what the world should be, with his ultimately authoritarian preoccupations. Presumably his target audience is libertarians and half-assed liberals who deep down do agree with him already but don't know it.

This is especially apparent if you do skip ahead because he's trying to ramp it up slowly so he starts out trying to sell some brand of political realism and you're like okay sure sure and then you take a peak at a later chapter and he's talking about how lawless black people are.
posted by atoxyl at 11:34 AM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I can never extract anything from Moldbug's writing because it's florid and there are not enough hours in the day to make it through one of his pieces. But yeah, he doesn't really make arguments - he just states or implies that things are bad and then moves on. And he chains a bunch of assertions together so it has the appearance of an argument but really he could just state his conclusion, save the 20,000 words and it would be pretty much the same.
posted by GuyZero at 12:09 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah: money

If that was true, we should be hearing more from petrochemical engineer know-it-alls or ideological i-bankers. In the latter category, I'm pretty sure we only hear from the big ones who become celebrities in their field or financiers who go on to do different things, like say become columnists for the WSJ.

My theory is that of all of the engineering disciplines, software has the lowest barrier of entry. It's also a huge virtual lever that allows one to exert disproportionate control over the real world. So it attracts autodidacts and people who (sometimes, rightfully) have a self-inflated view of their power. Software is eating the world and all that. So from that, you can get both objectivist libertarians* who are afflicted with a particularly nasty form of the engineer's disease (since their field allows them such cheap power compared to say, civil engineering), and self-taught tinkerers who think they can fix everything by using the same toolset.

*As an aside: I dunno if the kik left-pad guy Azer Koçulu is one himself, he seems to more of a classic hacker anarchist type ("I've just liberated my modules"), but his move was very Atlas shrugged. Which, in the world that's currently being consumed by software and automated away by tech, is a somewhat scary demonstration of the disproportionate power of the field.

As a second aside: the overrepresentation the field (at least in the U.S.) by the typical demographic is quite unfortunate, given that programming's low barrier to entry and relative ease for autodidactism (as opposed to say, medicine) should be an economic and political uplifting force for disempowered minority demographics.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:22 PM on April 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I don't think it's really that software has a disproportionate number of conservatives but that it has a disproportionate number of cranks.
posted by atoxyl at 2:34 PM on April 20, 2016 [5 favorites]


Oh, and I should also mention that the disproportionate of real world power associated with software also pertains to money, at least in this current market. There's a lot of dumb money floating around, leading some developers to think they're titans of industry just because they/their founders were able to dazzle some suits with prototypes created by lines of code. As opposed to other disciplines, where that money requires, you know, actual real-world physical things getting built (or extracted). So again, the leverage of software inflating one's sense of intelligence/importance.
posted by Apocryphon at 2:41 PM on April 20, 2016


Could it be that working with computers can exacerbate the Dunning-Kruger effect?
posted by acb at 2:45 PM on April 20, 2016


Well acb, folks are using computers to explain why getting paid to write software creates delusions of grandeur, so that's one point in favor.
posted by The Gaffer at 3:06 PM on April 20, 2016


You just didn't know what you were posting about, and it was funny

I don't think that's true. I was just questioning how a descendant of a colonial can consider themselves a native and how that might look to an actual native when they take issue with immigration. But I understand the 'Know-Nothing' term now. I was unaware of that.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 5:31 AM on April 21, 2016


And what the hell is a Nativist kind of person I could easily Google or look up in the dictionary? A Native American supremacist kind of person which is definitely not what I would have found through Google or in the dictionary?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:08 AM on April 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


I believe the point has been made.
posted by Etrigan at 7:11 AM on April 21, 2016 [1 favorite]


Rustic, you do understand that my question was not literally 'what is an X', right?
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 9:01 AM on April 21, 2016


I bet Vox Day is annoyed at being left of this run-down of fascist trolls.

I'm not so sure about that. It looks like he appeared recently on "The Daily Shoah" (!), an alt-right podcast.

He's "right" there with the far right, as far as I can tell.
posted by theorique at 9:15 AM on April 21, 2016


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