This post has two aims. The first is to explain why the Alt-Right went into a Nazi death spiral during 2016-18. The second is to argue that this failure was not just a product of bad optics, bad strategy, etc., but a logical conclusion of the bad ideas that underpinned the Movement.

Much of what I say will go against the grain, even on this site, which lives on the fringe of the fringe today because it played gadfly to the Alt-Right during its descent into madness. This gadfly stung the flesh of the Alt-Right, i.e. its aesthetics, tactics and leaders, but did not harm its ideological innards. If, as I say, the end result of the Movement was the product of its innards, then no amount of surface irritation will make this product come out any sweeter. Ultimately, we should play the bee instead of the gadfly, and build a new structure in more fragrant surroundings.

Alas, at present, the best I can manage is a hornet. For as long as the Movement's noise and stench pervades the dissident community, obscuring everything else, we must defer the building and carry on with the stinging. But the aim is to sting forcefully, like a hornet, not superficially like a gadfly. So: what exactly is wrong with the underlying ideas of the Alt-Right?

My answer, in a word, is Quixotism. To understand this, we must pick up the thread of my last post on the 'secret king syndrome'. It's been a while since I wrote that post, so let's recap its argument.

The main point is that Western democracy is not what it seems. I can't imagine a better time to make this point than the summer of 2020. So far we have seen a mass house arrest of the free citizens of the West; a cultural revolution supported unanimously by free and independent private corporations; and the reduction of Donald J. Trump, the elected leader of the most powerful country in the world, to an impotent nonentity posting censored rants on social media. The dissident community, fertilised by the confusions of the Movement, has sprung forth a great many weird and ingenious explanations. But the small traces of reality in them have been digested through a large delusion - namely that democracy invests you with freedom, sovereignty, and the right to choose your government.

The red pill that eliminates this delusion, which you can get at a number of different places, leads to the realisation that you live under a permanent state. You already know it as the bureaucracy and its parastatal extensions, and you already know its secular state religion as progressivism. This state does not need to conjure up fake viruses to take away your freedom, because your freedom is a delusion that serves its legitimacy. It permits domestic terrorists to take over part of a city, while retaining the authority to confine you to your house, because it rules by far-left terror. And Donald J. Trump, who was elected on a promise to master this state, is all but impotent against it - not because he is a traitor, a Jew, or whatever, but because his office is increasingly nominal and ceremonial.

Here's a harder-hitting version of this red pill: you live under a democracy, but you are not a citizen. In ancient Athens, demokratia - "people power" - meant that the enfranchised citizens collectively controlled the government. But modern-day democracy, as practiced in the US and its satellites, extends the title of citizen so promiscuously that this definition no longer holds true. To make sense out of modern democracy, we must rectify its names, and say that those who collectively control the government are its true citizens. This embraces all those who consume tax revenue and exert political power, the majority of whom are found in...the bureaucracy and its parastatal extensions, which as we've seen are not actually ruled by the elected government. Anarchic bureaucracy is simply the modern incarnation of classical democratic mob-rule.

Ordinary people, the likes of you and I, correspond to the slave population in Athens and the peasants in its surroundings. If you consume tax revenue, but do not exert political power, consider yourself a slave - in democratic parlance, a public-sector worker. If you work for a corporation and pay tax to the citizen body, you are a peasant - a private-sector worker. The distinction is unimportant here, so let's use a catch-all term that suggests both types, serf.

One potential stumbling-block for this theory is that modern-day serfs do exert political power, by electing politicians. But we've established that this  election system is becoming less important. And in any case, it should be understood as a kind of ritual civil war between citizens, in which the voter electing a politician plays the part of a serf fighting for a nobleman. Admittedly, this arrangement has often allowed the serf to gain real spoils for ritualised fighting. But this 'welfare' is never distributed directly, but through the creation of new government offices that then distribute patronage, so the citizens give with one hand only what they take with the other. And when the serfs try to use their votes to disenfranchise these new citizens, they find that the cart mysteriously fails to pull the horse.

Moreover, while elected politicians merely front up the bureaucracy, it does possess a ruling minority. The academic-media complex, a.k.a. 'the Cathedral', is ideally placed to organise the citizens without violating their anarchy. It entitles and inquisites all citizens (and increasingly, most serfs), identifies enemies and scapegoats, and creates policy consensus by performing rituals derived from the natural sciences. But it does all of this according to the secular religion of progressivism. And in order to make sure that this religion cannot be challenged by aspiring tribunes of the plebs, it increasingly rigs the election contests by importing foreign voters, whom we can call by the evocative name of mamluks. (Note that this is not another synonym for 'non-whites', as it describes a political role, the foreign client whose role in Western society is to hold down the native serfs).

Nowadays, it is the mamluks who enjoy most of the spoils of ritual war (as well as many informal noble privileges, such as the right to respond to trivial insults with violence). The native serfs of the West are becoming helots, as the election system serves largely as a pretext for the citizens and mamluks to declare war upon them, forcing them to vote for the weak conservative protection racket. So what we have here is a huge, culturally-unified population, more or less perpetually located on the losing side of democracy. In theory it should be a hotbed of support for Thermidorian schemes to abolish the democratic state, disestablish the Cathedral, and concentrate power in a smaller (and, for the serfs, less parasitic and chaotic) oligarchy or monarchy.

In reality we see no such thing. The serfs defend a freedom that is not theirs, and live in fear of a reaction that could only benefit them. Of course, this requires a great deal of rationalisation: to preserve the illusion of being a free and sovereign little king, or to reconcile the reality of unfreedom with the spotless Platonic purity of democracy, e.g. by conjuring secret monarchs (muh Soros!) and hidden oligarchies (muh 1%)! This cognitive dissonance is what is meant by the term 'secret king syndrome'. It arises from the concealment of the true sovereign body from the minds of the people, while those people are deceived into thinking that they hold sovereignty.

Right. So what does this have to do with Quixotism? And what does Quixotism have to do with the Alt-Right?

Well, it would be too simple to say that Westerners believe in democracy because their government tells them they are free and sovereign. Russians and Chinese under communist regimes also believed in communism, again because those regimes told them they were free and sovereign. But their faith could not survive too much exposure to reality; their opposition parties could not be relied upon to hold high office without trying to take power; and their dissidents (at least the later ones) wanted to abolish communism, not merely restore it to some imagined equilibrium point. As a result, these regimes ended up becoming too brittle, and eventually succumbed to Thermidors.

The faith of the average Westerner in democracy, I feel, is much more flexible and resilient. And this means our regime can hold us all on a looser leash, but it also allows it to avoid Thermidor and propagate an endless cultural revolution. This is partly down to superior mass deception - the Western Matrix is the best-designed Matrix - but it also suggests the role of a cultural mass delusion, an inner moon that lights up even when we turn aside from the great artificial sun.

Quixotism, as a phenomenon of Western culture that predates modern democracy, would seem to fit this description. As we all know, the term derives from a famous novel by the 17th-century Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, in which the madman Don Quixote decides to restore mediaeval knight-errantry. The story may seem to be sui generis, but the mentality being satirised - in the modern dissident sphere, we might call it 'radical traditionalism' - is arguably the one that kicked off the spirit of modernity around the 16th century, while self-deceptively trying to restore the letter of the past. By attaching itself to religion it produced Puritanism, which would later descend into leftism, and by attaching itself to classical revivalism it furnished potent justifications for republican revolution.

The errant knight, Don Quixote
Might the seed of Quixotism - loosely defined as delusions of heroism and kingship, which may or may not be wrapped up in mediaeval romanticism - bear a similar relation to democracy's rearguard, including the great tree of delusion known as the democratic Right? Admittedly, the Right in democracy must constantly lose and be reconstructed, so the development of Quixotism over democratic history would be poorly described by the metaphor of a tree. It is more like a descent from the top of a mountain, in which the hope of fulfilling aristocratic ideals in democracy is continually managed down, even as it is extended to a wider and wider section of the populace. At the base, democracy takes on its full dystopian and tyrannical shape - and the Quixotic spirit lives on, but only in a passive, introverted, form, a baseless sense of entitlement to greater things.

This negative Quixotism has its literary avatar in Ah Q, the protagonist of a novella by the modern Chinese writer Lu Xun. This wretched Spenglerian fellah has none of Don Quixote's redeeming virtues: he runs from every challenge, retreats into delusion, and rationalises his failures as 'spiritual victories' so as to avoid confronting his actual low status. The story is known as a satire of the Chinese national character, but it is also a subtle parody of Don Quixote's adventures - the idea being, of course, that China is a reactionary negative of the progressive West, a typical May Fourth theme. As the bloom comes off the democratic rose, Ah Q becomes less and less relevant to China, and more and more relevant to his unacknowledged roots in Western culture. Just read a few chapters of the story to get a feel for his self-deceptive ways, and you'll see what I mean, at least if you have ever asked an ordinary Westerner why he believes in democracy.

Anyway, having run through all of this, we can get around to critiquing the Alt-Right. As I've said, a meaningful critique should refer simultaneously to the actual people and their actions on one hand, and the underlying ideas on the other. So I'm going to use the term Alt-Right in its all-encompassing, pre-Heilgate sense - although I'm well aware that this brand has come to describe a small rump faction around Richard Spencer, and that most people now use Dissident Right instead. My point is that the Dissident Right is little more than a rebranded pre-Heilgate Alt-Right, which is likely to meet the same fate as the Alt-Right unless it takes a hard look at its ideological foundations.

The Alt-Right, like the rest of the democratic Right, is Quixotic. It claims the opposite, for its converts speak of being 'redpilled' or 'awakened', i.e. cured of delusion and restored to reality. And the Alt-Righter does taste the red pill: he awakens to the fact that the democratic state, which pretends to treat him as a little sovereign, actually treats him as a serf. But instead of recognising this as a fact of life, and relating to power as a subject, he immediately resorts to an antidote. He convinces himself that his mythical democratic sovereignty, while not existing in mere physical reality, nonetheless exists in some sort of latent form that need only be actualised.

This antidote sends him straight back to the somnambulence of Quixotism. But there is a real change of direction. As I sketched out in the last post, the general tendency of Quixotism is to degenerate over democratic history, going from its active and positive form (Don Quixote) to a passive and negative one (Ah Q) as it hardens into liberal dogmas, rituals and institutions. In contrast, the ideological journey from the fringes to the core of the Alt-Right is a movement up the Quixotic mountain, i.e. from Ah Q to Don Quixote. Every step involves a larger dose of reality, and a smaller encumbrance of democratic baggage. But at no point does the Alt-Righter attain sanity.

There are specific steps to this process. Step 1 involves the adoption of a radical ideology on the fringes of the mainstream, e.g. libertarianism, paleo-conservatism, or paleo-socialism. All three of these declare the democratic state to be somehow illegitimate, and offer a corrective vision of democracy, in which the latent sovereignty of the common people is restored. Because they are unbound by the constraints of democracy's reality, these visions give full flower to the Quixotism in its theory. The libertarian wants to be a king in his own backyard, the paleo-conservative wants to restore early democracy by collective will, and the paleo-socialist expects the ruling bureaucracy to wait hand and foot upon the people.

So the myth of latent sovereignty has taken shape. At this stage, it is conceived as a moral right that logically follows from democratic theory. But there is no way to actualise it, other than by trumpeting it as loudly as possible, and waiting for the walls of Athens to fall.

But the walls do not fall, and the disillusioned Alt-Righter moves to Step 2: conversion to white nationalism. This is a bargain between delusion and reality, which prunes down the edges of the Quixotic secret king delusion, without damaging its core. White nationalism accepts the premise that democracy, working just as advertised, has created a flat equal society in which the sovereign masses make decisions spontaneously. But it criticises the liberal component of democracy - the individual sovereignty of every social atom - on the grounds that it has broken up the cohesion of native Westerners, inhibiting their natural tendency to glom together as a group. If the ordinary Westerner is feeling a bit, well, enserfed, the reason is that group-minded foreign interlopers have gamed the system and conspired to dominate the democracy.

All the elements of a red-pilled view of democracy are present in this one, but they are turned upside-down. The mamluks are directing the citizens, and the serfs are powerless because they cannot organise as a group. But not only can this topsy-turvy picture pass as reality, it can even offer a simulacrum of disillusionment. The Alt-Righter must give up his pretensions to individual freedom, a core tenet of libertarianism and paleo-conservatism, so that his racial group can muster the requisite collective force to take back its sovereignty. The utopian visions of Step 1 must not be actualised until the whites are separated from the non-whites, which serves to quiet the cognitive dissonance arising from their impracticality.

Finally, the Alt-Righter may ascend to Step 3: folk activism. The latent sovereignty of the individual reasserted itself upon the platform of racial collectivism, but is restricted to those who take up public activism in the Alt-Right cause. It is a sort of voluntary feudalism: in return for becoming a champion of his people and suffering persecution, the folk activist receives moral and financial support from the majority of passive white nationalists, who generally restrain their own individuality unless they too can claim to be "doing something for the movement". In truth, the folk activist is far more dependent on his supporters than they are on him. But from a distance, this arrangement might be confused for a modern-day knight-errantry.

And, paradoxically, the winds of reality blow strongest upon these heights of the Quixotic mountain. Those who practice and support folk activism do not consider themselves passively entitled to sovereignty, and they may well dispense with most tenets of democratism. But the delusion of sovereignty has not gone anywhere! It has merely adapted to the pressures of reality, by compressing its surface area, shrinking from a thin ideological carapace to a hard inner kernel. Sovereignty is now conceived as a prize to be won by heroic deeds; and the democratic myth survives in the assumption that Western society, a closed power system outside the citizen body, is still open to unregulated power bids by tribunes of the plebs.

What has been achieved is not sanity, but the madness of Don Quixote. In some cases, the cultural atavism is quite striking. Perhaps you've heard people on the Alt-Right talking about identifying as kshatriyas, and inaugurating a new traditional order? Well, strip off the Vedic spice, and all they are saying is that they want to become knights and make themselves kings. As one Alt-Right thought-leader said, "Know that we were born by the will of heaven, in this our iron age, to revive the one of gold, or the Golden Age..." - whoops, sorry, that was Don Quixote himself, in the pages of Cervantes' novel.

Please don't assume, from my mocking tone, that I don't understand the appeal. Our mainstream politics is all quixotism, and yet real heroism is nowhere to be found. All we see are delusions of grandeur draped over cowards and bullies: conservative Ah Qs rationalising their defeats as victories, progressive Quixotes tilting at living, breathing windmills at no risk to themselves. The Alt-Righter, by contrast, dares to take quixotism seriously: instead of going with the flow of power, and feeling like a king, he is going to go against the flow of power and make himself a king. This requires real conviction, real courage, real moral navigation - more than enough reality for most people in the West.

But the quixotic revival is doomed to failure. Ultimately, it fails because it is trying to build aristocracy out of democracy. Most rightists assume this is still possible, albeit not ideal, because they have not updated their theory of democracy since the days when Hitler and Mussolini took power. They are like the cavalry commanders of 1914, who charged into machinegun fire, because they still waged war according to the models of a hundred years before. Not only has modern democracy become largely impervious to non-leftist activism, but anything that passes through the masses nowadays must come out sullied by thumotic porn.

Thumotic porn is another concept explored in my last post, although it originally comes from an essay by Curtis Yarvin (a.ka. Mencius Moldbug). Thumotic refers to the Greek word thumos, meaning the desire for status, glory, victory, etc. So if erotic porn induces the feeling of sex without the need for actual seduction, thumotic porn induces the feeling of war without the need to show courage or risk danger. Needless to say, modern society is saturated in both types, and many people engage in thumotic masturbation via sports fandom and videogaming. But the system of party politics in democracy allows for a higher kind of thumotic porn - one that simulates the significance of real war, just as a high-tier subscription to an e-thot simulates something of actual courtship.

The heady feeling of battle, without the danger.
Indeed, if the Cathedral is to avoid Thermidor and continue its cultural revolution, it must rely upon thumotic porn to stimulate the Quixotism of its subjects. It must allow non-revolutionaries to muster voters and try for office, so that they do not muster soldiers and try for power. And it must prevent the heroic fantasies of its own supporters from decaying into the reality of servile thuggery - which is why the media will always talk up the latest bland right-wing electioneer as the second coming of Hitler, knowing full well that this only induces conservatives to support him, which injects another cocktail of fear, hate and rage into the minds of progressives and keeps the general circle-jerk going round.

So this is the problem with the masses in modern democracy. Insofar as they are politicised, almost by definition, they are thumotic porn addicts. Now let's see how this affects the Alt-Right folk activist - who, as we've said, must stand upon the platform of mass collectivism if he is to be anything more than a Step 1 fantasist.

We've already exposed the core delusion of folk activism: namely, that democracy is still a relatively open playing field, centred on the mass political outlets of elections and activism. But if democracy is, in fact, a consolidated leftist regime centred on the bureaucracy and academy, then why does it not crush the folk activist as soon as he begins his quest for power? By this point the answer should be obvious. Tolerating folk activists not only allows the Cathedral to keep up the facade of early democracy, but also supplies potent raw material for the thumotic masturbation of progressives.

When the media trains its cameras on folk activists, its motive is to pornograph them, i.e. to present a picture that maximally stimulates violent heroic fantasies in progressives. Naturally, some activists are better suited for this purpose than others, so these will be talked up as the second coming of Hitler while the others are ignored. And by a basic trick of reverse psychology, this will also affect the passive supporters of the folk activists, driving the flow of support to those who "do things for the movement" on camera. As usual, the Cathedral is creating a social phenomenon while pretending to dispassionately report it. Most folk activists would not mobilise enough supporters to fit into a wendy-house if they did not have the option of courting the media.

But this just means the passive supporters need to stop trusting the media, right? Alas, things are not so simple.

For one thing, most passive supporters are ordinary people conditioned by the society around them. They have rejected mainstream politics, but probably not thumotic porn. Moreover, most of them are white males from the class that we have called serfs. This alone tells us that they suffer an unremitting stream of hate from the mouthpieces of government, and must pay deference to mamluks and other protected classes, all while being gaslighted into thinking that it is they who possess all the power and privilege in society. This is mass psychological abuse, and creates a clear incentive to retreat into fantasy and masturbation. Yes, they also want to improve their situation, and theoretically they are in the Alt-Right to scheme for power. But this objective is so remote that it cannot possibly compete with the desire for instant gratification. They want to taste the forbidden fruits, strike fear into their tormentors, "show their power level" (for reference, here's what that looks like in the original inspiration for "hiding one's power level"), and forget as far as possible the practical constraints of their position.

So the folk activist is dependent on the media and his own supporters, and both sides are demanding thumotic porn. Moreover, these demands are all the stronger because they converge on a single set of ideas, aesthetics and tactics. They include: neo-Nazism, Jew-crankery, transgressive trolling, self-doxxing, street marching, racial coprolalia, etc. etc. etc. These are useless or counterproductive for practical purposes, but they stimulate the most exquisite hate-fantasies of progressives and provide the biggest rush of vicarious heroism to passive dissidents. In short, they constitute a striptease dance, disguised as a martial art.

After 2015 or so, as new supporters poured in and the Cathedral started to pay more attention, a strong selective pressure for thumotic porn began to work on the Alt-Right. Much of the status-jockeying and signal-spiralling took place in forums, comment threads and private communications, which are difficult to reproduce today. So let's take a look at a short essay from those days of incipient lunacy, by one Michael Bell at Counter-Currents, which lays out the "Caste System of Alt Righteousness" according to the Darwinian rigours of pornographic fitness.

I'll say one thing for this article: it accurately portrays the de facto status hierarchy of the post-2015 Alt-Right. But when we look at the rankings  (I'll assume you're basically familiar with the people in them), we notice something very bizarre. The author assures us that his hierarchy is "meritocratic" and "based on the value, or perceived value, of someone’s ideas". And yet, intellect does not matter: the scholar Kevin MacDonald shares the top tier with Evalion (Veronica Bouchard), a teenage girl who briefly trolled Youtube with pro-Hitler videos, simply because both are anti-Semites. Seniority, experience and depth of conviction do not matter: Jared Taylor's decades of activity do not outweigh the internet trolling career of Andrew Anglin, who was a hard-leftist as late as 2012. Practical success does not matter, and virtuous personal conduct does not matter. All that matters, it seems, is "showing your power level": taking the most taboo position possible (i.e. hardline anti-Semitism), in the most transgressive manner possible, preferably while doxxing yourself into the bargain.

Let's dispense right away with the myth that this is about signalling one's bona fides, by burning bridges with normal society, etc. Practically everyone on this list, from Vox Day upwards, has long been completely beyond the pale. It is not about having skin in the game; it is about displaying skin to the audience, as if these men were so many e-thots being ranked by their willingness to strip for the camera. And note that, while some people just happen to be high in rank, there is nothing preventing their competitors from adopting more outrageously transgressive ideas in order to overtake them. Indeed, the newly-centralised Alt-Right was soon taken over by people who gamed this system - who were not 'thought-leaders', as they are often called, but thot-leaders.

Needless to say, the Red Queen of the thot-leaders was Richard Spencer, who outran his competitors by shouting "Hail Victory!" in a silly Hitler Youth haircut. Spencer also led the disastrous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which led to the repression of 2017, so many autopsies of the Alt-Right have traced its cause of death to his hubris and stupidity. There is poetic justice in this: Spencer grasped at power, and he has ended up holding responsibility. But let's scroll Bell's essay to its end, and note the date of posting: September, 2016, which is a month before Spencer staged Heilgate and established his paralliance with the media. Clearly, Spencer may have surfed upon the wave that wrecked the Alt-Right, but he did not whip it up.

Moreover, there were others who were up to a similar game, notably Andrew Anglin and Mike Enoch. I don't want to indulge in too much character assassination, but it's fair to say that these two were thot-leaders, or at least played that role during 2016-18. Anglin only ever cared about attracting user hits to his website, which drew comparison to a porn site very early on, and he later admitted that his internet persona was a "performance art project". From what I know of Enoch, he seems to have adopted his views as a popular edgy shtick for his talk shows, and later doubled down on them after being doxxed and ostracised. Of course, I'm not accusing any of these men of consciously prostituting themselves and sabotaging the Alt-Right. They simply gave the people what they wanted, and assumed that this was the path to political victory.

But what the people, i.e. the passive supporters, wanted was delusion. As the thot-leaders took over, a consensus rapidly emerged to the effect that trolling in real life is the acme of strategic genius. This ignored the fact that this strategy was invented by George Rockwell in the 1950s, for the purpose of disseminating ideas through a hostile media, and not only failed in its own time but was rendered obsolete upon the rise of the internet. Another strategic consensus materialised on the subject of "never punching right": the principle that, since there are no enemies to the right, one should never interrupt a rightist when he is making a mistake. In practice this meant that no-one was allowed to tell a wanker he is wanking, or question a fantasist on his capacity to carry out his fantasies.

So the Alt-Right became an echo-chamber for ridiculous extremes of thumotic masturbation, which generated the illusion of a vast mobilising army of neo-fascists, and emboldened the folk activists to become more and more reckless. But an e-thot who receives ten thousand professions of lust does not have ten thousand marriage suitors for when she hits the wall. And a thot-leader who receives ten thousand professions of support does not have ten thousand street soldiers for when the wall hits him. This is what we all found out after Charlottesville, when the Quixotes of the Alt-Right were rudely yanked out of their own heroic stories, and into the losing villain roles that the Cathedral had long ago conscripted them to play.

Decadence can always get worse.
Most of the post facto recriminations have focused on the behaviour of individuals who did stupid things under pressure, which obscures the role of the folk activist delusion itself. It was this delusion that led dissidents to think that they could gain power by breaking taboos, walking down streets in large numbers, courting the anger of the powerful, and winning battles with catspaws who only needed to embroil them in violence to win the war. Note the seamless transition to this foolish external strategy from the dysgenic status hierarchy of the Alt-Right. When the Alt-Right tried to organise its thoughts, it ended up being organised by performance artists and exhibitionists, whose attitude to thought was no less shallow than that of e-thots. Consequently, when it tried to act, it could only do so in a feminine pantomime travesty of heroic action: shit-testing the enemy, exhibiting itself to the people, and assuming that good things would happen as a result.

Hence the double entendre in the title of this post. A trap, in erotic terms, is a male body in female clothing. Analogously, in thumotic terms, we can define a trap as a feminine spirit in a masculine masquerade. In both cases, "falling for the trap" means having your natural desires (eros and thumos) directed onto an object that cannot fulfil them. I'm wary of making this argument right now, because it makes me sound like Curt Doolittle, but it happens to be accurate. Just remember that this is determined not by the personality of individuals, but by the Quixotic pantomime of vestigial mass politics, which distorts the thinking and action of anyone who tries to pass through it.

And this is the deeper reason why the attempt to restore Quixotism in late democracy is doomed to failure. It suffers the classic tendency of a decadent cultural movement to invert and parody an earlier one, just as senility apes babyhood, and the waters at the base of a mountain reflect the image of its summit in the clouds. The folk activism of the Alt-Right, which still requires basic virtues like conviction and courage, is still well in the rearguard of this downward movement (the spearhead, of course, belongs to the state-suckled Quixotics living out fake Hero's Journeys on the Left). But it partakes of the degeneration, hence cannot be expected to transcend it.

Obviously, I'm not saying that everyone who joins an Alt-Right-style movement is fated to become a thot-leader, and drive the whole endeavour off a cliff. There are various ways to refuse the poisoned chalice - although, late democracy being what it is, those who do so are all but guaranteed to suffer eclipse by those who accept it.

Firstly, you can remain at Step 2, and critique folk activism on the grounds that it betrays the cause of racial collectivism. This is the common ground shared by Greg Johnson, Jared Taylor, and others, and one might think that it is in a very strong position now that the neo-Nazis have been humiliated by practical failure. But as I've said, the Nazi camwhore routine has achieved nothing since Rockwell invented it, and yet folk activists come crawling back to it time and time again. The reason is that political power is remote, while masturbatory release is immediate. Those who have become useless for all purposes but masturbation must submit to the rigours of NoFap; but political NoFap is a string that, once pulled, unravels all forms of Quixotism, including white nationalism.

Secondly, it is possible to go so far into Step 3 that you avoid - to a certain extent - the distorting effects of the mass platform. Nothing prevents you from directly apeing Don Quixote, and setting out to smite the evildoers by righteous violence. But in light of the power asymmetry between the democratic state and its serfs, you may as well do this on an old nag while carrying a wooden lance, and you would have to restore the madness of Don Quixote to think that you were doing any real good. The TradYouth organisation, led by Matt Heimbach and Matt Parrott, came closest to this sort of Quixotic atavism. They were fortunate, in that their group imploded due to a personal dispute, before its paramilitary antics could get them into serious trouble.

Thirdly, you can take up the position I described at the start of this post, and become a gadfly to the Movement. This was what I tried to do during the fever pitch days, along with Colin Liddell and Andy Nowicki. But actively opposing the crowd means jumping off the mass platform, or being pushed, and falling all the way back to Step 1. We can certainly conceive of a new Movement that would do things differently; but even if we could create it, we would have no guarantee of being able to hold onto it once the thot-leaders and masturbators showed up.

So this leaves us with the one truly viable option, which is to choose sanity. You do not have to die on this hill - you do not have to be Don Quixote, or Ah Q, or a degenerate pantomime-Quixote - because you can leave the delusion where it is and walk away into reality. To choose sanity, simply go back to the original red-pilling experience in which you learned that your democratic sovereignty was a myth, and this time do it right. That is to say, renounce the myth of sovereignty entirely, without allowing it to morph into some intangible secret kingship myth. You do not have to go around calling yourself a serf, or learn to love the mamluks and the oversized, anarchic citizen-body, but you must accept that you are a subject of power and not a participant in it.

Of course, the instinctive resistance to this is very great. In the thumotic masurbation society, which is full of defeats that feel like victories, achieving sanity is the one victory that feels like a defeat.

Does that mean, then, that it is just another 'spiritual victory'? Just another wank? No - not as long as it is understood to be an internal victory over deception and delusion. But it could become so, should we try to skip over sanity itself to a sort of negative political engagement, and start fantasising and strategising about "winning the game by not playing". It's just as well, then, that this post has reached the customary limits of tolerance for blogorrhea. There is political action after political sanity, and it might just be the sole effective kind, but my discussion of the options will have to wait for a follow-up post. For the moment, I invite you to mull upon the so-called blackpill of your subjection, which has formed the staple diet of most human beings for millennia.

Or would some of us rather have Quixotism, simply because it is more beautiful than reality? In that case, perhaps we can draw inspiration from the ending of Don Quixote, in which - four-hundred-year-old spoiler warning - the hero finally comes to his senses on this deathbed, realises that he was an ordinary man all along, and vehemently renounces his delusions of knight-errantry.

Apparently, Cervantes did not plan to end his story in this way. But after its first part was published, a hack writer called Avellaneda wrote an unofficial sequel dragging its characters through the mud, and Cervantes wanted to make sure that no-one else could do the same thing after reading the second part. And so it should be with us. Whatever Avellaneda did to the character of Don Quixote, it can't be as bad as what late democracy has done to the culture of Quixotism. If you loved the dream, then that is all the more reason to wake up when it starts turning into a nightmare.

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