The Neoreactionary Movement - The Alternative Alt-Right
Someone posted an article on a subreddit I frequent. It was an extremely long and rambling hit piece against antifacism, littered with long academic words, written for a completely fake Sociology college in London. While checking the source's reputability, I found out that it's part of what is known as the Neoreactionary movement.
Here's an article about it: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/behind-the-internets-dark-anti-democracy-movement/516243/
Here's a more "fun" write-up from RationalWiki: https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Neoreactionary_movement
It's the most bizarre thing. They are basically a pseudointellectual alt-right who quite literally advocate for a monarchy. They are very secretive of their identities and write contrived "theses" under pen names (which, strangely enough, seem to be stolen from actual published academics both living and dead). They think they are a secret society attempting to overthrow existing governments, but in reality they are little more than a collection of fanfic authors.
Has anyone else come into contact with any of them? I am particularly interested if any of our Reddit moderators have anything to say.
Upvoted because this is a good topic, but they're more than just a collection of fanfic authors - they're one of many key factors in the rise of fascism in America (tho not ultimately the cause). Two of their biggest ideological leaders, Moldbug and Yudowsky, are funded by the VC capitalist, PayPal founder, Facebook board member, and Trump advisor Peter Thiel. And in this sense, they have been effective at executing his agenda (even if their own respective goals of monarchy and FAI didn't pan out).
FZeroRace is right that these folks are the intellectual core of the alt-right, and arguably they are one of (many factors) leading up to Trump becoming president... who's administration would return the favor by awarding an $876 million dollar contract for the Army's intelligence platform to Palantir, a private intelligence company, founded by guess who? Furthermore, Palantir is also linked up to the DEA, ICE, ATF, FBI and several other agencies.
The fact that massive amounts of military and federal law enforcement data is being consolidated into the hands of a private company owned by a literal, open fascist (Peter Thiel has declared democracy a threat to capitalism) should be alarming to anyone familiar with the role that IBM census machines played in the Holocaust.
The alt-right would probably take offense at being called an arm of tech companies. They would reply that they're being pushed off Twitter and other platforms - but why is all of that taking place only after the election? Again, we should turn to history - fascism (which is ultimately based in finance capital) tends to build a populist shell around itself to secure power. However, this shell will eventually get in the way of it's real objectives and is inevitably discarded.
For example, the Nazi Party's Sturmabteilung (SA) was tied to the working class and was critical to their popular rise (forming the theoretically "socialist" wing), but all those workers conflicted with the interests of the German bankers and industrialists bankrolling the Nazis. Once Hitler was appointed Chancellor, and especially after Rohm started calling for a second revolution to redistribute wealth, the Nazis had to secure their power by purging the SA and consolidating it under Hitler.
With all due respect, it sounds like a conspiracy. Yes, I would consider Thiel to be one of them but I would not consider them to be collected enough to become powerful.
Calling them "the intellectual core of the alt-right" doesn't even make sense to me. I have never known anyone to say "I used to be an egalitarian, but then I read this book and now I understand that brown people are the source of the world's problems!" Prejudice isn't intellectual, it is emotional.
Don't get me wrong, I still think these people are dangerous. It's just that like every fascist out there, they are utterly ridiculous. It's because they are so rediculous that they will not be taken seriously until some dramatic cultural shift happens to society as a whole.
That being said, if you have more evidence to back what you are saying, I would be interested in reading it.
Upvoted, I appreciate the criticism.
I think part of the problem is that I'm working from a Marxist framework and with my own research on social media (both self directed and in an academic setting), and likely skipped over steps in my reasoning that seem obvious from that perspective.
I'm not identifying this as a conscious, rational conspiracy - rather more an alignment of actors & their economic interests. Marxists consider the roots of fascism to be primarily economic (to prevent revolution, in response to crisis, etc), and for the most part not consciously orchastrated. These patterns repeat themselves in history because members of the bourgeois are compelled to take action that leads to the most profit (or else be wiped out by the competition). It was not that the CEO of IBM or the German industrialists woke up one day and were like "I'd love to kill some Jews" - it was that the former saw a massive client, and the latter saw Hitler as a man who would revitalize the German economy (spoils of war, trade union suppression, privatization, etc).
That being said, these economic forces also create an opportunity for conscious elements play a role in order to represent, justify and organize this process - see Plekhanov on how this is compatible with historical materialism. Yes, by the time someone reads articles like The Holocaust: a Nazi perspective (an actual Moldbug title!), it's already preaching to the choir. But for people on the fence, or with weaker prejudices (for instance, someone who's only experience with people of color has been media), little things like misleading statistics (w.r.t. black people and crime) can help push them down a reactionary slope.
From what I've personally observed and read, far right groups online operate like a series of concentric circles. In the core you have extreme, consciously reactionary elements. Going further out, there's "alt-lite" circles who aren't openly about genocide, and at the edge you have communities that aren't supposed to be political but often are invaded or operated by people from the former. As you go further out the circle, ideas get more and more diluted (breaking down from full blown articles in the center, to soundbites and memes on the edges) to allow for further spread and palpatability. For instance, the core may be more explicit about blacks having low IQs, the middle might dog-whistle about crime rates, while the edge really likes sharing videos of black people doing crimes for some reason! Meanwhile, the people and communities making contact with this network gets drawn in closer and closer (more and more of their friends or posts become reactionary).
In any case, I think the historical role of this particular element, and the alt-right in general has signifcantly declined since the Trump election (they did their job).
There's also the question of exactly how much influence they played vs other factors, and that's not really a question I can honestly answer.
I think I'll edit my original comment a bit more to emphasize that DE isn't the driving force.
Oh, so that's what happened to the old Rationalist crowd. Guess they were a cult.
I wouldn't say that these people form up the alternative alt-right, they ARE the alt-right. This sort of behavior runs common throughout the alt-right partially because they have a large savior complex. They believe that only they can save the world from political correctness gone wild, or SJWs or what have you which results in LARPing as 'heroes' which, well, is why you see them dressed in incredibly strange attire while attending rallies. If they had the chance, they would gladly tear down everything for the sake of attacking a perceived enemy. With all of that in mind, you can start to get an idea why the alt-right idolizes Trump so much.
The most disconcerting thing to me is that I've seen them and their strategies grow on sites such as Hacker News. They'll post or share pseudo-intellectual garbage as you mentioned and thrive in environments that allow them to go unchallenged.
I think this is giving them more leniency than they deserve.
First of all, I certainly hope no one here would call them "autists". I'm autistic myself and find the idea of being associated with these people wretch-inducing.
Secondly while it's true that isolation can be a cause that leads to adopting these kinds of philosophies it's rarely the only one. You have to go pretty far down the rabbit hole to blast past normal reactionism (reactionaryism? I am not sure how you ismize "reactionary") into "literally, democracy was a mistake". I think blaming it on society in the broad scope is a mistake, and is letting them off the hook too easily.
I think it is reactionism - Google seems to agree haha.
Well what are some other reasons for adopting these ideas? I think isolation is the main one, atleast for the alt-right people on the internet. I know that 4chan is probably not the best example, but I'd say most alt-right people there are definitely extremely isolated. Or another example, most people would probably agree that the incel communities which I think largely overlap with alt-right communities are mostly caused by their members inability to find their own normal social circle, which would definitely quickly destroy these dumb beliefs.