One of the forces pushing the alt-right along is a rejection of the modern, sterile aesthetic that is the technological age. This seems to be especially true of the younger millennials and Gen Z. They grew up in a world of glass and stainless steel, smooth edges and shades of gray.This is also an age that rejects speculation and spontaneity. It’s why popular culture is so dull and feminine. There’s a drugged dullness to our age. It’s not a rational age, for sure, more like a unromantic age, in which nothing interesting happens.
That’s part of the appeal of the new dissident politics. There’s a danger to showing up at alt-right rallies or associating with hate thinkers on social media. Men, especially young men, like adventure. For the generations raised by helicopter parents, thought police and sensitivity training, the danger of the alt-right is wildly attractive. Breaking taboos and standing outside the herd is exhilarating, but the associated brotherhood fills a void the custodial state created in young men. It’s not just fun to be bad, it’s liberating.
We seem to be at the confluence of two forces acting on our societies. One is the hyper-feminization we see everywhere. There are few public places where men can be themselves or hold a dominant place. In fact, any sphere of life that is male oriented is under pressure to bring in girls. Even things like sports are forcibly integrated. We live in an age where elites want to put girls on football teams and in the boxing ring. Modern life is covered in a wool blanket, drenched with the fetid waters of feminism.
The other force is mass media. If you examine modern movies, one of the odd things is that many are in celebration of old weird America. Boston, for example, became a popular setting for movies, but almost always the old Boston of ethnic neighborhoods. Mass media allows young people a glimpse of the old lost age. They can see a time where the South was still rural and mysterious, the Northeast had tribal ethnics and Los Angeles still had Americans. For the young, old weird America feels like a foreign country.
The point here is that we are now at a time, at least from the perspective of a young male, where America is a feminine and deracinated society. For those of us who have lived through this transformation, it may be depressing, but it is not jarring. We saw the changes over time, We heard the warnings of those commentators on the Old Right and we saw those warnings ignored. It’s like driving a new car for ten years. You know it is old and you remember when it was new, but you also remember everything in between.
Young people lack that middle part. They came into a world disconnected from the old world they can still see on TV or in movies. For young white males, increasingly alienated from the modern culture, it is not a big surprise that they would look backward for examples of how to move forward. Spend time following alt-right social media, and you see lots of references to the fact that the current culture is degraded and ugly. The past had true diversity, while present is a homogenized, degenerate slurry of nothingness.
This interesting story from the Guardian UK, about something similar happening in Germany, suggests this could be a pan-Western phenomenon. The difference is that it is still possible to be a famous intellectual in Europe. You can also be famous as a writer of fiction, read by men. In the US, public intellectuals are chattering skulls on cable TV, who spit out vapid platitudes approved by the people in charge. Literature, of course, is now dominated by women, so it has no point and no audience, outside the academy.
That said, Europe and America have something in common. Young males, disconnected from the culture, are searching for something to give purpose to their lives. A common refrain on the alt-right is about the uselessness of being a wage slave in a cubicle farm, just so you can buy useless crap from global corporations. That seems to be a theme of the new romanticism bubbling up in Europe. It’s young people, particularly young males, reaching back to an age before they were born, for inspiration and purpose.
The Guardian piece is quick to point out the connections between German Romanticism and you know who. That brings up a big difference between the US and Europe. Germans are not about to become minorities in their own country. The same is true of the rest of Europe. In the US, whites will be a minority in a generation. The cultural phenomenon may have many parallels today, but in the fullness of time they will head off in different directions. It’s why the alt-right is less artsy than the new European romantics.
All in all, what we are seeing is validation of an age old truth. One of the top-level duties of a ruling class is to keep its young men busy. Too many alienated and idle young men always spells trouble. What’s happened in the West is the ruling elite has deliberately pushed men out of the social order. The follow on act was to invite in millions of foreigners to gloat over the deracinated male population. There are only so many mixed race couples you can see on TV before you get the message.
This will not end well
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