April 19, 2023


Is racism the new socialism? (Malcom Kyeyune, April 19, 2023, UnHerd)

The intellectual tendencies that make up the vitalist movement are broad --in some cases openly nonsensical -- and it is probably fair to say that they have very little broad electoral appeal. What they do say runs the gamut from various oddball interpretations of Nietzschean philosophy and a veneration of scantily clad male underwear models to talking about black criminality and how we live in a "longhouse gynocracy". In general, this is mostly a subculture concerned with edginess and self-referential jargon. Some people are only there to shitpost; others hope to market their own personal "brand" to make money from the sale of protein powders or podcast subscriptions. And finally, a few truly foolish souls clearly hope to use their online notoriety as a springboard into legitimate politics.

One of the leading voices within this subculture -- a person going by the nom de plume of Bronze Age Pervert -- recently had details about his real identity posted online by a rival within these online spaces. BAP, it turned out, was actually a Yale academic from a fairly well-to-do background, with many connections inside what Donald Trump would probably deride as "the swamp". Unfortunately for his online stans, however, he was also Jewish.

Normally, a person being Jewish is hardly cause for scandal or even concern, and certainly not an online civil war. In an online environment where people openly praise Hitler, however, that sort of factual reveal is pretty awkward. Indeed, BAP himself clearly had a habit of playing with fire here, posting tweets such as "I'm an Aryan supremacist and believe in the extermination of hundreds of millions", all to loud cheering from his many fans.

To the shock of absolutely nobody, however, it turns out that the Nazi Germany fandom still has something of an antisemitism problem, even in 2023. The result is many of his former fans feeling legitimately betrayed, while other, more loyal fans have been fighting a bitter battle to try to explain why the online racist movement can't afford to judge people merely based on their ethnic background, because groups of people are really just made up of individuals that can be good or bad. Imagine that.

Now, this all might reasonably lead someone to ask how this could all happen. What sort of appeal would an online space obsessed with "naming the Jew" -- a forum that is often genuinely distrustful of and disgusted by Jewish people -- have for a Yale-educated Jewish man from a well-to-do and academically successful family? But there is very little that is new in the contradictions surfacing on the online Right, because all of them have happened before -- on the Left.

Posted by at April 19, 2023 12:00 AM