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Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux express themselves upon arrival at Auckland airport. Photo: supplied
Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux express themselves upon arrival at Auckland airport. Photo: supplied

SocietyAugust 3, 2018

The alt-right racists are in town. Are you really happy to shrug your shoulders?

Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux express themselves upon arrival at Auckland airport. Photo: supplied
Lauren Southern and Stefan Molyneux express themselves upon arrival at Auckland airport. Photo: supplied

Detachment is a luxury only some enjoy. For women, non-whites or any of the subjects of Stefan Molyneux and Lauren Southern’s rants, looking the other way is rarely possible, writes Morgan Godfery 

White nationalism is, for the basement dwelling 4chaners, mouth breathing Redditors, and Youtube philosopher kings, nothing more than a desperate search for an alternative fatherland. The US? Immigrant scum run the streets, and liberal sell-outs run the government. It’s doomed. Canada? Immigrants, again, and pretty boy Justin Trudeau. The UK? Immigrants, Muslims, and a Black princess. Australia? Immigrants. New Zealand? Immigrants.

Oh, and bloody maoris too.

Russia, apparently, is the last white homeland. Strongmen rule over a proud people. Convicted criminal and KKK grand wizard David Duke thinks Russia is the “key to white survival”. The former alt-right standard bearer Richard Spencer, famous for eating a punch, celebrates it as “sole white power in the world”. Lauren Southern, a darling of the white nationalist right, made her pilgrimage to the fatherland in June, interviewing the country’s leading neo-fascist.

Southern’s world tour arrives in Auckland this evening, an “alt-lite” treat for the country’s exceedingly small fascist scene. We can expect Southern’s greatest hits. In the UK she marched through Luton handing out leaflets reading, among other things, “Allah is gay,” the adult equivalent of drawing a dick in the school toilets. In Australia she turned up in Lakemba, a supposedly “sharia-ruled” suburb in Sydney, asking “do you see many British pubs?”

The locals pointed her across the road to the Lakemba Hotel, where VB’s Aussie green is plastered over the front wall.

This is Southern’s pitch. Multiculturalism is transforming the West from a white monoculture to a brown one, never mind “white” and “brown” are imaginary categories anyway. Sicilians, for example, share about as much in common with Estonians as Māori share in common with Afghani. That is, not much. The West, far from a monoculture, is a multiculture owing as much to Shakespeare’s 15th century England as it does to the Islamic scholars who were the first to translate Aristotle, Galen, and Ptolemy.

Pointing this out makes you one of two things: part of the fake news media or a race traitor. In this upside-down, inside-out world, modernity belongs to an imaginary white people. The Muslim, Jewish and Chinese people who invented the tools powering Europe and America’s rise – from the astrolabe and algebra to gunpowder and the movable type printer – never feature. This is what distinguishes the “white” nationalist community from its brothers and sisters – ie other “white people” – one community is closed to facts and the other isn’t.

The terrifying thing is this is the seemingly polite face. Southern is the chief advocate for the so-called alt-lite. She supports immigration with qualifications, preferring Boer farmers over Muslims. This is reasonable enough as long as you ignore the intent behind it. She longs for patriarchal traditionalism, just as long as it doesn’t apply to her. That’s fine. She tweets truisms like “#AltRightMeans I don’t have to be ashamed of my heritage,” a terrific sentiment we could all fall behind if that’s where the alt-right begins and ends.

But it doesn’t. The Southern Poverty Law Centre estimates 100 dead and 13 injured over the last four years, the handiwork of “alt-right influenced” killers. In 2015 Dylann Storm Roof slaughtered nine Black worshipers and wounded another during Bible study at a church in South Carolina. Roof told his victims “you rape our women and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go”.

Back here in Factland it’s worth remembering Black birth rates are at a record low and demographers expect the Black share of the US population to remain more or less the same. So much for “white genocide”. The same is true in Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. The Māori birth rate is falling and our share of the population will remain more or less the same. Pākehā: permission to feel relieved.

But watch your back. Apparently women are waiting for their chance to shank it. “Women who choose the assholes will fucking end this race,” Stefan Molyneux, Southern’s Canadian compatriot and touring mate, said. “All the cold-hearted jerks who run the world came out of the vaginas of women who married assholes. I don’t know how to make the world a better place without holding women accountable for choosing assholes.”

In short: blame women. For everything. “War, drug abuse, addiction, promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases.” It’s all a woman’s fault, and “feminism” especially. Former alt-right leader Milo Yiannopoulos argues women’s emancipation is cruel on men who are geeky or otherwise different. Women no longer have to settle for just anyone, so they go for jocks, leaving alt-right geeks and losers ostracised and sex-starved.

The trouble is these alt-rightists and losers haven’t read their own heroes, like myth-man Jordan Peterson, and even their lies are out of date. In our pop culture fables it’s the geeks who prosper, transforming their high school liabilities – plain tees, puny arms, and a little knowledge of coding – to Silicon Valley assets. At the same time the jocks languish in small-town backwaters, stuck in dead-end jobs and unhappy marriages. The impossible to miss moral is the geeks rather than the meek inherit the earth.

Is it really that women go for jocks or is the alt-right just unfuckable?

This is where we return to the idea of a world closed to all others. The only thing that makes Molyneux viable is his arguments are impervious to facts and reason. In the Western intellectual tradition the aspiring debater must reason her way to a conclusion. But what distinguishes Molyneux from actual philosophers is he leads with his conclusion, and reasons backwards. Molyneux’s Youtube videos don’t so much present an argument as they do a shopping list.

“The prediction of my theory is entirely proven,” he says in a video on contact sport, before even telling us what that “theory” is. “If you are drawn to a sport involving hitting people or centring around physical aggression, violence towards other people, then it’s most likely that you experienced aggression or violence as a child.” This will come as news to scientists. New Zealanders, too, the national sport being rugby and all. Does this make us all childhood abuse survivors?

Views like this make Molyneux hard to map on the political terrain. Southern is supposedly alt-lite, proof white nationalism looks a lot better through an Instagram filter or Youtube video. Her positions aren’t a lot more out there than Trump’s, and that guy is the US president. “Fox correspondent Lauren Southern” doesn’t sound so out of place. But Molyneux is different altogether. He’s curiously flat, but somehow counts more fans.

The difference is Southern acts as mere transgressor, clothing herself in the aesthetics of the counterculture and nonconformity. In Australia she pulled on a tee reading “it’s okay to be white,” a statement so obvious it’s scarcely worth mentioning. But Southern framed it as rebellion, telling Sky News she feels “no shame whatsoever”, as if anyone were trying to shame her for wearing a tee. Someone should explain to her the difference between reaction and rebellion.

In truth, her transgression is nothing more than an in-group nod and wink. It shares nothing in common with serious transgressors like the Marquis de Sade or Dostoyevsky’s anti-hero Raskolnikov. Southern’s transgression are a cheap imitation of 90s male rampage films – think Fight Club – where the directors turn to meta-textual self-awareness and irony to escape judgement. She’s pretty much a meme come to life.

But Molyneux plays the logician to Southern’s pepe. His fans love it too. This guy talks about “logic”! He makes “arguments”! Because of course any middle-aged white guy who uses the right code words – logic, argument, truth, thesis – can come across as on to it, even if his book on The Art of the Argument misapplies basic concepts like truth, validity and soundness. It’s tempting to compare Molyneux to the hapless Ayn Rand, but that’s a terrible insult to the dead.

For the alt-right this commitment to a corrupted “logic” is a defence mechanism. If reality were to sneak through the gaps the walls would cave in. “The West” is not under attack. Blacks, Asians and Muslims don’t have it any better than “whites”. This seems obvious enough, but for the alt-right acknowledging as much means admitting their white privilege isn’t enough to make up for their mediocrity.

This means anyone outside is either an enemy or unworthy. “Physicists kind of piss me off,” Molyneux says, “because they’ve always got their fucking pale hands in my goddamn wallet, and stealing from my child’s future, indebting her. Go be a fucking engineer you lazy, pasty bastards. Go do something useful that people wanna buy.” It’s unclear whether pasty is a reference to their skin or their lab coats. None of it makes any sense.

This is where sensible people might ask: if none of it makes sense is it not better to ignore? It depends, but it’s worth remembering detachment is a luxury only some enjoy. For women, non-whites or any of the subjects of Molyneux and Southern’s rants, looking the other way is rarely possible. Would you tell Indigenous Australians to look the other way while a foreigner vilifies their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters?

Whatever the answer this is all a moot point. The local media are going to cover Molyneux and Southern whether we ignore them or not. TVNZ’s Sunday programme is already calling the pair “free speech fanatics”, the equivalent of calling Donald Trump a real estate enthusiast. It’s our move, and I mean “our” not in the sense of “us progressives” but in the sense of “us decent people”. We can shrug our shoulders and stare at our feet, or we can ensure alt-rightists are never given an uncontested platform.

This doesn’t mean sharing a platform and “debating” the pair, a move that gives their awful views more credence than they’re worth. You cannot reasonably debate someone who doesn’t accept basic premises like, you know, climate change. This isn’t about ideology, it’s about epistemology. That means the better response is to rally in peace, letting the pair know their hate speech against women and others is unacceptable in our country.

The stakes are simply too high. Molyneux and Southern might seem harmless enough from afar, but the former is an advocate for race science – elsewhere known as Nazism –  arguing Black IQ scores are collectively lower than whites’ (a claim that only proves the people who always talk about IQ are the people with low ones), and the latter is quite literally a pirate. And not a cool one.

In 2017 Southern and other true believers set out for the Mediterranean in a project called “Defend Europe”, designed to disrupt non-government organisations from rescuing drowning migrants. “The government desperately don’t want a rag tag team of 20yr olds investigating activities in the Med. What are they afraid of,” Southern said. This is what it looks like when a 4Chan message board comes to life.

But there is a God! The project went on to end in embarrassing failure, the ship turned away from various ports. On docking in northern Cyprus the Sri Lankan crew onboard the ship made asylum claims, precisely the thing Defend Europe set out to prevent. So much for whites as the master race.

Keep going!