I have been a long time reader and occasional commentator on a wide variety of right-wing web sites since the mid 1990s. The first, and for a long time the largest right-wing forums were run for, and populated by. self-described “patriots”. These people self-identified with the US flag, the US Constitution, the US military, US history and the disappearing Mayberry America of a bygone era.
After a while, and in response to the continued misbehavior of the Federal government at the Waco and Ruby Ridge atrocities, a more radical subset of the patriot right came into existence, and created their own sites. The “Three Percent” or “Threeper” sites were some of the first supporting this tendency. The long-running Western Rifle Shooters Association (WRSA) has became, over time, home-base for the “armed patriot” right faction, in the same way that Free Republic has long been the home for the less militant patriots.
A lot of emphasis at WRSA has always been put on military training, building skill in arms, self-sufficiency and prepping for the “Shit Hit The Fan” moment many see in the future. A popular motto seen frequently on WRSA nicely encapsulates the difference in emphasis between the “armed patriots” and the more politically oriented participants on Free Republic: “we aren’t going to vote our way out of this”.
Meanwhile there has also been in America for many years a very blunt and race-obsessed far-right faction. As the web has grown they have created and maintained their own sites on the internet, for a couple decades at this point. “Ethnic nationalist” is probably the most neutral term one can use to describe them. “White nationalist” is the more common description, and “alt-right” is the term that was created in an attempt to rebrand, what some have called “White Nationalism 2.0” or WN 2.0. Over the last 5 years the race-focused right-wing web sites have multiplied, and sharpened their arguments while jettisoning (in most cases) a lot of the alienating iconography of the past (Confederate, KKK and Nazi costumes, in particular.)
And there it stood for most of the last two decades. The patriot right (people like those at Free Republic and WRSA) wanted nothing to do with their disreputable right-wing cousins, those white nationalist crazies at Stormfront or the Daily Stormer. The patriot right have always hated the Nazi flag, dislike the KKK, and for the most part have believed in the MLK “I have a dream” vision of America.
Indeed Free Republic has always maintained strong rules against posting any material from the white nationalist websites, and even posting from the more moderate race-realist sites, such as Jared Taylor’s “American Renaissance” , would quickly get you banned.
Over roughly the last 20 years the patriot-right and the white-nationalist right have had similar, but different visions of the near-future.
The patriot right has always imagined a gigantic “SHTF” moment where social cohesion breaks down, perhaps as a result of a financial crisis. In this period food scarcity becomes universal, and the “survivalists” finally prove to everyone that they have been right all along. At the end of the “die-off period” a new Constitutional order is established (perhaps based on the Articles of Confederation or some other modified version of the Constitution, of maybe a utopian “armed anarchy” as promoted at the ZeroGov site.)
The patriot right, for the most part, stood behind the proposition-nation ideals of “any man who is a God-fearing, honest and hard working is welcome in the future-restored USA”. Frequently some version of NAXALT (Not All X Are Like That) would be invoked. “I had a black infantry sergeant who I would trust with my life, anywhere, anytime. Don’t tell me blacks can’t be great patriots.”
The imagined future of the white-nationalist fringe through this whole period has been a decisive break with America’s multicultural present, in favor of a path that results in the creation of a white ethnostate. That has been the goal of two generations of white nationalist leaders. Some have predicted a “racial holy war” (or RaHoWa), others imagined a more political route to the desired re-ordering of society. All these variations on the ethno-state were promoted and adhered to by the hard-core white nationalists, like William Pierce’s “National Alliance” and the denizens of websites like Stormfront.
These views were, for years, anathama to the patriot right. But recently that has begun to change.
Now, in the wake of eight years of Obama and one of Trump, these two disparate streams of right-wing thinking seem to be merging. Sites like WRSA now frequently contain explicitly racial postings that stipulate that some sort of ethnic separation will be required to restore anything resembling the Constitutional Republic of our founders.
These posts and comments, recently typified by Vox Day’s pithy “They All Must Go“, are white nationalist in all but name, adopting both the ideological claims as well as emotional appeal of explicitly white nationalist writers of the recent past.
Even at the more moderate sites like Free Republic one notices that once forbidden topics like the prevalence of black crime, the failure of black-run cities, and even the ultimate taboo of racial IQ differences, are now common topics of conversation.
It’s interesting to watch this merge take place. Perhaps merge is the wrong term. The movement is essentially all in one direction, the patriot right slowly acquiescing to the arguments and emotional appeals of the white nationalists. The more radical the patriot faction, the more readily these arguments seem to be taking hold. The armed patriot right, the most radical faction, who have always believed some sort of cataclysmic SHTF end-point will inevitably be reached by our society, now has many participants who have explicitly crossed over to holding white nationalist views.
One reason for this may be that the proposed theories for what triggering events would surely bring the society to a point of collapse have, in many cases now happened, and America has survived without collapse.
The financial crisis of 2008 was by most pundit’s reckoning the most severe economic crisis since the great depression. Here it was! At last! The great banking and derivatives failure that would finally lead to the complete SHTF scenario and a total social reset.
Sadly for the believers, the catastrophe never materialized. The Bush and Obama administrations took extraordinary actions, and they worked. A few banks went under, bond-holders were screwed, but average people’s savings were protected. Two of America’s three auto companies went bankrupt, but the bankruptcies were guided, and a year later both auto-worker pensions and parts supply for Chevy’s were still there, albeit under new owners. The price of gold never went to $6,000 per oz, as right-wing financial pundits had predicted. The US Dollar didn’t fail and die a horrible hyperinflationary death, again as many had predicted.
More and more the inevitable SHTF scenario looked not so inevitable after all. The theory that present trends would continue indefinitely, looked realistically to be the more likely outcome.
Like followers of a preacher who has predicted the date for the second coming only to see it pass uneventfully, many SHTF scenario proponents simply chose to ignore the whole thing. Evidence of the surprising resilience of the modern central-bank controlled economic system was denigrated. “Not this time, but next time” became the refrain, as some adherents of the SHTF end-time scenarios doubled down on their certainty that it was still coming.
But many others took a long hard look at the trajectory of society and decided that it would continue to develop along the current trend lines.
At the point that the right had lost every vestige of the culture war, culminating in the humiliating gay marriage decision of the Supreme Court, it seemed there was nowhere lower to go in the debasement of the culture. Perhaps the trend line was flat.
Then “transvestites in the ladies room” became the new civil-rights cause of the left. The right learned again that there is always one more level of degradation to be heaped upon anyone holding onto conservative views or tradition in our society . There is no logical or visible end in site to the campaign of endless social justice crusades we will fight and lose.
In taking a hard-headed view of “where did we go wrong” the 1965 immigration act is a large and obvious target. The act ushered in the beginning of the ethnic diversification of the USA, with the resulting diminishment of social cohesion and conservative political prospects. Clearly politics is now all about demographics.
The jubilation of leftist and Democratic pundits, who proclaimed a new era of all-Democrat control-of-everything, were certainly premature (vis: Trump and GOP state-level electoral victories of the Obama era), but still likely correct in the longer term. The prospect of a GOP Presidential victory once Texas “turns blue” is slim-to-none. And that date is surely coming, driven by continuing Mexican and Central American migration into Texas. Ethnic groupings are still, even in Texas, a very reliable way to predict voting behavior. And Hispanics in Texas do vote majority Democratic, in almost every case. (Yes even for George W. Bush.)
Viewed from this perspective the surprise Trump victory is merely an unexpected, and unlikely to be repeated, winfall. Like having a long lost uncle leave you a substantial amount of cash in his will. You can not expect it to happen again, and you better make good use of it, now that it’s here.
For those committed to a restoration of the traditional culture politics offers no remedy, it’s clear the tide is running against us. Economic collapse, once the cornerstone millennialist belief of the patriot right, is also seemingly a weak proposition to bet on. What does that leave?
For many a new dream of a future ethnostate, where a like-minded people can rebuild a healthy and heroic culture, has replaced the previous dream of a pending total economic collapse and the resulting Mad Max SHTF scenario that so many on the patriot right have been gearing up for and anticipating for decades.
Whether the new dream is ultimately more useful to the cause of a revitalized civilization remains to be seen. However, the fact that many people on the right who previously eschewed racialist and race-realist positions now entertain or embrace them is clearly evident from even casual reading of the popular sentiments of right-wing bloggers and political forum participants.