— Holly (@hollyroark) June 29, 2018
After finding an informal patron in Donald Trump, the Alt Right acquired the ability to go on the offensive. The election of Trump, which offered the chance to substitute a real conservative political class for the professional losers of the loyal opposition, should have been understood as the first step towards reopening a road to patronage that has been closed to the radical Right ever since the defeat of fascism. However, many Alt Righters in the US—who had been happy to castigate democracy as a rigged game during the years of Obama’s rule—treated this event not as the capture of a bridgehead but as the crowning victory of a war. They had Cast Their Votes, Thrown the Bastards Out, and Put Their Man into Office, and some of them really started to say things like “we are the establishment now.” They forgot the prudence learned by everybody who lives under a totalitarian regime, and blissfully reverted to the liberal faith of their hearts, discarding hard-won knowledge under the pretext of taking action.
This set the stage for the regression of the Alt Right into conventional tactics, or Second Generation War (2GW), the tactics of the state forces that tend to lose Fourth Generation wars despite massive superiority in money and muscle. This began with rank-and-filers shaming people for exercising basic prudence, but it was formalized by Richard Spencer’s Heilgate stunt in November 2016. Spencer, who had created the original Alternative Right website in 2010 and shut it down three years later, almost certainly regretted publicly discarding the Alt Right brand just before it exploded in popularity. In the old Rockwellian tradition, he decided to raise his name by using Nazi symbolism to play the enemy media, forgetting that this strategy always entails being played right back. By sparking a media outcry and winning over the large audiences flocking to the increasingly Nazi-themed outlets of Andrew Anglin and Mike Enoch, Heilgate succeeded in its covert goal of presenting Spencer as the leader of the Alt Right.
However, the wider effect of the stunt upon the Alt Right was disastrous. It drove a wedge into the loose alliance between radicals and populists, negating the 4GW strategy of “hugging the citizens” and allowing the core of the movement to be isolated as a target. The Alt Right quickly reformed into a small alliance of edgy white nationalist groups revolving around Spencer, and promptly isolated itself further by declaring war on the “Alt-Liters” who had broken off to form the New Right. At the same time, a plan was unveiled to redefine the new Alt Right as a centralized coalition, commanded by an eponymous corporate entity under Spencer’s leadership. This threatened the organic unity of the original Alt Right, by making it harder for diverse groups to coexist within the same movement—and sure enough, ever since the change from “rhizome” to “tree” was made, the result has been a bitter fruit of obnoxious internal crusades against homosexuals, women, insufficiently edgy people, and other targets.