Like some of the people at blogs, podcasts, and other publications around the alt-right, I have a track record of being on the edgy side of politics, probably because I’m a thrill-seeker who likes pushing limits and arguing difficult positions.
I can’t help but notice that there’s always a fair amount of churn among writers and other people who get big, attract negative attention, and then bow out of the spotlight either for a little while or permanently. This is one of the ways by which the liberal establishment is able to do so well: their spokespeople get rewarded financially and socially, so that once they build up a profile, the success feeds upon itself, rather than imposing additional risks on them that they’re not able to bear.
I’ve personally been through maybe four of those cycles total under my real name and pseudonyms, so it’s what’s normal for me, and I can probably give some useful advice to those who have only been through zero, one, or two.
#1: Higher Profile Means Higher Pressure
When you start getting attention, influential people will move to snipe you, doxx you, damage your reputation, and aim to get you fired. This can also happen with mobs that, in aggregate, have as much firepower as one or two influential people.
In general, people don’t go after small fish, because they don’t feel that you’re a big enough threat to deal with, and the prestige rewards for smashing you aren’t sufficient to be a motivation.
People like Richard Spencer have been defamed by the international left repeatedly for taking a visible leadership position. This is the real cost that democracies impose on people who might upset the political apple cart, because it’s one of the only systems in which the opinions of normal people are politically dangerous.
#2: Your Friends Will Stab You in the Ass
The lower the stakes, the more vicious the infighting. You can always expect the people who were your closest supporters to turn on you later, for various reasons. It requires a lot of effort and caution to avoid this sort of thing from happening. It can and does really happen, even to people you would think it could never happen with. It’s just how people are.
Progressives in particular can pay way more than 30 pieces of silver to get people to flip to their side, or to otherwise neutralize themselves so as to become more friendly to the zeitgeist of progress. Most people are cheaply purchased.
#3: Anonymous Defamation Will Happen
Embittered people with a grudge, or just random envious people, will libel you and you’ll have no recourse. They’ll make goofy photoshops of you, create entire websites dedicated to attacking your character, and otherwise make writing to a larger audience more challenging. This is just the way that people try to cut down the tall poppies, and part of being a better man is to avoid in engaging in it if at all possible. They’ll also do it to clear out their competition, because it’s usually easier to destroy than it is to create an alliance.
Also, they’ll go after your wife or girlfriend if you have one, to try to pressure you to shut up by putting pressure on her.
One aspect of this to keep in mind is that anonymous-defamer types will tend to prefer going after people who are more vulnerable to its impacts. If they know that it can do damage, they’ll do it. If it doesn’t look like it can, they’ll keep their mouths shut.
#4: They Get Bored and Life Circumstances Change
Writing and speaking takes up a lot of mental energy. It’s even more difficult to write arguments that are contrary to dominant beliefs, because it attracts more conflict, and being able to manage that conflict requires similar levels of mental energy. It’s just much easier to focus on a job that pays well than it is to deal with public affairs for little to no reward.
Matrix references are too popular, but it is entirely possible to jack out and enjoy your steak instead of dealing with all the hassle that comes with going against the grain in a political culture that rewards conformity and punishes individual deviations.
Another factor is that people often enter into niche political groups to find a like-minded social circle, out of dissatisfaction with their previous one. Once they have their circle, they feel no more impetus to get out in front of the public, and thus the initiative begins to stagnate into a circle of old friends.
This is perhaps entirely natural, maybe even important, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Thoughts for Your Consideration
The goal of a minority school of thought should be to ultimately either displace the majority or to carve out a defensible position in which the former minority view becomes the dominant view. Defense is much easier than attack. It costs the defense comparatively nothing to protect their social position relative to how expensive it is to attack it.
The goal should not be to behave as if remaining on the fringe is all that you care about.
Also, this post is intended to be a warning to people, especially young people, who step into this sort of thing casually. Staying power is much tougher than getting some initial success, just because the immediate rewards for quitting are high, and the reward for sticking with it has an uncertain payoff.