The Proud Boys and their founder Gavin McInnes resurface in the news from time to time, thrown in typically in association with, or even as a synonym to, the hardcore white supremacists. “Neo-nazis and Proud Boys gathered in Charlottesville,” for instance, or “the SPLC-designated hate group held a rally today.” This technique puts McInnes and his thugs in the exact same toxic extreme as Richard Spender and Andrew Anglin — and badly misses the point.
As I’ve noted before, the media really needs to do a better job of differentiating between the white supremacist alt.right, carrying on the legacy of the older neo-Nazis and Klan, and the newer, far more media-savvy groups sometimes called “alt.light” or, in the words of Steve Bannon, “economic nationalists.” (I like to call them white nationalists, in order to make clear this term should mean something a bit different than white supremacists; alas, the two terms remain stubbornly the same thing.)
For while Gavin McInnes may be a complete degenerate and moral monstrosity who literally stuffs objects up his anus on video (don’t google it unless you want to lose your sanity), he is also well-versed in the modern-day media landscape as a co-founder of VICE. Like Bannon, he has taken lessons from European nativist parties like the Sweden Democrats and has learned to reject the worst and scariest of their racist propaganda. He won’t call for a banning of the free press; he’ll just say CNN needs to go. Unlike Anglin or Spencer, he won’t actually call for an ethnic cleansing. Instead, he’s just say white people should be proud to be white. Or, he doesn’t have a problem with Arabs; only the Islamic religion. He probably won’t be dumb enough to say whites are genetically superior; he’ll just say Western culture is superior.
McInnes, as with Bannon before him, is not actually out to create a Holocaust. They know this isn’t the 20th century and, more importantly in their minds, the Nazis were losers anyway. They aren’t out to create a revolution and overthrow the government a la the Turner diaries. They are out to corrupt the state from within, a strategy that the rageheads at the Daily Stormer could never have the patience or the intelligence for. Specifically, the alt.light (or whatever you want to call them) is out to permanently convert the Republican Party, and they have a two-pronged attack.
One is to move the oft-discussed racial “Overton window” in their direction by slowly merging white-nationalist (I’m still not giving up on changing how that term is used) discourse into normal conservative thought-shaping channels — and it’s working. Tucker Carlson is deliberately introducing language to FoxNews that even an asshole like Roger Ailes would have found a firing offense just four years ago. Tucker knows damn well what kind of people like to use the specific phrase “white genocide” — that’s exactly why he uttered it two weeks ago. Suddenly, the concept isn’t on the fringe with all those scary skinheads anymore. Now, it’s a legitimate topic of conversation on America’s most important mainstream conservative outlet. Tucker would not have been able to let that one fly if McInnes, Bannon, and others such as Milo (who was once a thing, remember) and even Trump had not laid the groundwork first. Similarly, Tucker’s colleague Laura Ingraham rants about “demographic change,” and everyone knows precisely what she’s getting at.
The other way McInnes sells his merry band is to lean heavily on a platform of owning the libs, which he knows gets the rapt attention from the GOP. It’s difficult to exaggerate how important the goal of making life miserable for average liberal-leaning Americans has become to the conservative establishment (easily its #2 guiding philosophy at this point, second only behind personal fealty to their Orange Julius.) The NRA has been transformed from a gun lobby into an own-the-libs lobby, with the typical rant from Dana Loesch or Dan Bongino having absolutely nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment. Charlie Kirk and his sidekick Candace Owens took Ben Shapiro’s schtick, stripped it of absolutely any and all ideological underpinnings, and now sell it as purified, high-octane owning-of-the-libs to young whites. All this going on after Mitch McConnell shredded the old rules and decorum of the Senate, partly to get judges confirmed but mostly for no reason other than just to drive the Dems batty.
In this setting, McInnes makes sure his street thugs won’t be trading blows with #BlackLivesMatter; instead, they hit the streets to fight Antifa, who exist as the great boogeymen of the Right, always one step away from setting the
Reichstag Congress on fire in the imagination of your typical FoxNews junkie. This gets McInnes a rapturous audience with the GOP establishment, even among those not receptive to his white-pride message. With the far-left this close to instituting Communism (somehow), isn’t it great to have some rough-and-tumble dudes on our side? they’ll ask you.
I believe the media underplay what McInnes and his ilk are doing because liberals in NYC and DC remain completely horrified of him and therefore could not conceive of him going mainstream. Which suits the alt.light just fine. They have zero interest in changing liberals, or liberal institutions. That’s not who they’re converting.
It was never the Democratic party the alt.light was out to destroy.
What’s the end-game here? Once all remnants of the old Reagan establishment have been swept away, it will be time to invoke an Article V convention, legally dismantle the republic, and institute an authoritarian, racially conscious regime with someone named Trump as president-for-life. It won’t be hard with a base driven mad with lurid fables of fearsome masked Antifa assassins and dark-skinned Mexicans and Muslims, all funded by Soros of course, out to get them. If that requires a civil war against liberals along the way, so much the better.
We are in the middle of another 80-year crisis, and unlike the ones from 1941, 1861, and 1776, I’m not so sure the country will survive.