I loathe populism and its implications with every fiber of my being. There is nothing about it as a school of thought or system that I think is even worthy of considering. Nothing at all. It has been hot garbage in every iteration it has ever appeared in. Exploring the sheer visceral nature of my opinions on this matter has led me to conclude that this is probably a functional blind spot in my own thinking. Something that is guaranteed more or less to set me off and cloud my thinking. It’s something to work on, but not something that I have gotten over yet.
I bring this up because of an article that I read on The Daily Beast early Monday morning. It was about the rise of the “far right” in Austria. It made a point of detouring and talking about how the leader of Austrian far right spent part of last summer here in the U.S. He was apparently researching how our “far right” goes about operating and what he could learn from them. Of course our “far right” is nothing more than some perversion of the cultural right. I think you all realize that. So who was this gentleman palling around with? Lauren Southern, Brittany Pettibone, and that crowd of Youtube celebrities.
The article went on to comment about how Ms. Pettibone took him to Taco Bell and gun range, describing these as typical mid-Western conservative activities. This was what really specifically got me raging about the article. I would like to sincerely ask what anyone in that entire crowd knows at all about being an authentic mid-Western conservative. I would very safely wager that it is next to nothing. These are the same style of moronic populist leaders that abuse every similar movement. They don’t know the culture that they are talking about. They don’t care at all either. They project and pretend for coastal audiences as long as they can, until they seem to be representative. Then they are brought out to the centers of blue team culture to squawk and make scenes. The whole time getting exactly what they wanted, not to be the voice of a very real American sub-culture but to be internet famous petty celebrities. They then spend all of their time among these proglodyte enclaves until they are an accepted part of these trendy groups.
I can say for certain that this is exactly what it is. I know it in my bones and I can tell you why. It is because I grew up in and still live in this mid-Western culture that so many of these new age “far right” types are trying to appropriate, and all of them are missing one of the key traits necessary to grok it fully. This key ingredient is a very certain strain of humility. I have theories about where this sort of humility comes from but I won’t speculate about that here. Rather I will settle for explaining it as best I can.
Nobody I grew up with, nobody I have run into, nobody that ever made it and has had their story told at the local bar has ever managed it as a result of chasing and hounding after fame. We do not produce cheap media bait. There are plenty of people who have the talents who transcend these generally poor roots to “make it big” but they do so as the result of hard work, the honing of their skills, and an appreciation of where they come from. Our famous “sons and daughters” aren’t glory hounds, they are talented folks who have their talent appreciated when they receive the platform to demonstrate it.
That doesn’t sound very much like your average Youtube “reporter” does it?
Further more, even if they were one of these people who made it out of a nowhere town they demonstrate a lack of understanding about the other people in these same mid-Western communities. Yeah, we go to Taco Bell. Yeah we really like our guns by and large. That isn’t what it is about though. Its about getting lost at your county fair with a couple good friends. Its about a farmer’s market where you know all the farmers. Its about spending hours driving around gravel county roads because there is nothing else you’d rather do even if you had other options.
As I stated at the top, and as I strove to demonstrate the leaders of populist movements are never in it for the people they claim to be representing. It is instead exclusively about trying to artificially insert yourself into a social class that you aren’t from. There isn’t anything intrinsically wrong about that, but there is something deeply….. rude, rude is the word about perverting and misrepresenting good and honest people to do it. So the next time you see one of these types trying to talk about how conservative, or trad, or mid-Western they are invite them hunting, or fishing, or mudding with you and just see what happens. I’d wager they show their true colors pretty quickly.