There has been a sudden burst of interest in defining the quarrelsome factions of the alt-sphere, often with an emphasis on bashing rivals.
Alf of AlfaNL blog wrote one of the most level-headed pieces yet on the subject. He sticks to analyzing the groups by their size, demographics, and motivations.
I will add my own thoughts after seeing the umpteenth article about how the alt-lite is doomed because they are just selling a brand, how the alt-right is bound to become an irrelevant fringe like White Nationalism 1.0, or how the “passivism” of neo-reactionaries is an excuse to do nothing. Doom and gloom all the time.
From my perspective, things have been going great and it has been a delight to watch the alt-sphere begin to mature. Now it reaches a point of self-awareness where it begins to introspect. Even the constant squabbling serves a natural function of figuring out each faction’s jurisdiction and specialty.
The alt-lite civic nationalists are often brawling with alt-right groups on social media or even confronting them physically in meatspace. These guys get a lot of hate from ethnic nationalist alt-rightists, but I don’t see the need. They inhabit different niches in the dissident ecosystem.
The alt-lite are by far the largest faction since they stick to positions that can be made acceptable for millions of ordinary, disillusioned republican voters. They are accused of just going along with what’s popular to sell a brand, but over time more will realize, that is precisely their job.
They are the marketing and advertising department that engages in public outreach. Because they have the largest audience, they also have the greatest influence when it comes to running psy-ops that disrupt the establishment “narrative” and to sap their morale through relentless agitation.
Their large numbers make it impossible to ban them all from social media and by saturating the filters of censorship, they make it harder to crack down on more extreme factions. The alt-lite is also a valuable farm system for new recruits. Of the millions who get drawn in by the advertising campaign, once nudged down that path some percentage decide to keep going of their own accord and become alt-right.
The alt-right are gradually showing themselves to be the front-line soldiers and true believers who risk physical injury and destruction of their reputations. While the alt-lite’s strength is crowd tactics, the alt-right is forming cohesive units capable of pursuing strategic objectives such as shutting down the antifa dominion of Berkeley.
Their beliefs are still considered too extreme for them to take part in the normal political discourse. They hungrily wait as the alt-lite helps to gradually ease the Overton window in their direction, each grudging millimeter giving them more space to operate in.
The core alt-rightists rely on many ideological shibboleths to solidify in-group cohesion and loyalty. Counter-signal them on the Jews, white women, or Vladimir Putin and they are not likely to be patient about it. It is not their role to be discerning about shades of gray since they are increasingly oriented towards action. They have no shortage of discussion but within clear boundaries. Leaders such as Richard Spencer may have intellectual interests and more nuanced views, but he does not have the luxury to focus on this in his daily activism and speeches.
For most citizens, the alt-lite are the extremists and the alt-right are simply “nazis.” Ask the average person on the street about neo-reactionaries, the dark enlightenment, or even the alt-left and they’ll probably just stare at you wondering what the hell you’re talking about.
There’s the PR reps and the soldiers, but the dissidents also have an R and D department where participants are free to mix and match ideas and see what happens without political constraints. These outliers are kind of like priests who try to construct an over-arching theology. Working on the level of ideas, they are mostly invisible amidst the turmoil. They are not trying to move a crowd. Their mission is to corrode the secular state religion and replace it with their own vision. Rather than direct the course of schools of fish, they hope to change the water all fish swim in.
These evil acolytes recognize that much of their discussion is theoretical and intangible. They even point and accuse among themselves that they are debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin with no plan to realize their aims in the real world.
They will come to understand they are pursuing their natural role just fine. Their discussions are not viable in the popular discourse but their ideas gradually filter through more relatable interpreters until the populace unwittingly embraces concepts that came from black scriptural exegesis. The end game for the apostate priests is not so much to become emperors as to establish a new academy on the ruins of the Enlightenment.
There are those who despair at the in-fighting of the rebels but I would point out that they begin to know who they are and what they need to do within a larger synergistic organism. Even mainstream sources have begun to officially distinguish between the alt-lite and alt-right, a sure sign that an organized structure is emerging despite the decentralized nature of 4th generation politics.