How the Right is Ignorant of the Right

This is an observation based on a post by Sad Puppy/Mad Genius/Tor-Boycotter Peter Grant. After the terrorist attack in Toronto, Grant was shocked to learn about so called’incel’ culture for the first time:

“I must have lived a sheltered existence.  I had no idea that the so-called ‘incel subculture‘ was a thing, until this week’s terror attack in Toronto, and this article.”

Grant was a Sad Puppy supporter rather than one of Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies during the Hugo Debarkle* and I’ve no doubt his politics are not those of Vox Day but he is a Castalia House published author and he has defended Vox. The point being not that he’s somehow contanimated by these ideas but just that he is essentially living in the neighbourhood of these ideas. They are only a hop and skip away from people he has an active and on-going commercial relationship with and part of a very loud cultural-political conflict that he was an active participant in.

Again, to repeat, I’m not implying any particular commonality of viewpoint or guilt-by-association here. I’m just genuinely amazed, despite repeated evidence, of how ignorant different rightwing factions and movements are about other rightwing factions and movements. Grant isn’t generally ignorant of world events or incapable of following a set of ideas and yet was blissfully unaware of a notable section of the people engaged in the same culture war as he is until one of them staged a major terrorist attack.

But I guess, it is so much easier to stay confident in a belief that you are right if you ensure you know as little as possible about people who differ from you but who repeat the same points and ideological attacks.

*[Yes, I’m sticking with this now.]


37 thoughts on “How the Right is Ignorant of the Right

    1. That’s what the entire right-wing nowadays is based on. If it bothers or inconveniences them, it’s important. If it bothers someone else, it doesn’t matter or even exist.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. And you saying so made me wonder how bad they could be. And Grant’s post, while naïve, wasn’t itself too bad.

      … well, misogyny is alive and well. Not that I ever doubted it.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I had a bit of msb’s thought (the people I know who watched incels most closely before this were strong and loud feminists, who were simultaneously pointing and laughing and saying, “look, when I take this quote in isolation it’s hilarious, but seriously, there’s stuff going on underneath that scares the crap out of me.”)

    But there’s another thing. I’m not all sure I can actually name extremist leftist movements reliably. I mean, antifa and the Black Bloc therein, Black Lives Matter, Idle No More and NoDAPL, the Occupy movements, some different feminist and Marxist and environmentalist groups or the like… but none of the above are extremists who would resort to terrorism, even the ones people try to paint as such. There could be a frothing furious group I’ve never heard of out there. Couldn’t there?

    Or am I engaged in self-whataboutism by even wondering if there are extremist leftists I don’t know?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Back in the 60s and 70s, there certainly were left-wing extremist groups, out there blowing things up and kidnapping. But a lot of them were small — there were only a couple dozen in the Symbionese Liberation Army. The Weathermen only set bombs, and warned people to evacuate. The European groups were more destructive, but we’re talking English-language here.

      Nowadays… the so-called “anarchists” who are really in it just to bust things up aren’t a movement. Some of the extreme animal rights people trash laboratories, but they don’t go mad in public, killing people randomly. Those are at most into property damage.

      The random shooters of late have all been angry white men, either right-wingers, incels, gun nuts, or combo of the above.

      Wasn’t one of the previous shooters a year or two ago also doing it b/c of rejection by women?

      Entitlement is the common thread among all of them.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I’d never heard of the SLA, although when I googled them I recognised their notorious kidnapping.
        Europe has always seen radical left wing groups (usually Marxist or Maoist) prepared to talk of revolution, and some of those have descended to violence, but those that have done so have generally been separatist/independence movements as well so it’s hard to tell if the cause is the hard leftness or the nationalism. (My money is on the nationalism – it’s much easier to hate and attack a specific group who are keeping you from having what you want than it is to attack the vague symbols of a system you oppose)
        Nothing on the level of, say, the US militia movement though.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There were a lot of leftwing extremist groups in the 1960s and 1970s, several of which became violent to different degrees ranging from throwing stones and torching cars to full blown terrorism. I couldn’t even name all of the German groups from that time, let alone all of the European ones. They also tended to split up, form new groups, temporarily join up with others, etc…

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Perhaps I should have clarified that I mean current. 60s and 70s groups aren’t quite in the same league of “will be the next person to crash a truck into strangers.”

        Liked by 3 people

      4. There is the rare exception such as James T. Hodgkinson, the alleged Bernie Bro who shot and wounded Steve Scalise, and there have been a number whose objectives don’t really fit anywhere in the political spectrum (such as Nasim Aghdam, the Youtube shooter). There have been far more angry right wingers, though.

        Apropos of nothing, I used to interact occasionally with one of the Sterling Hall bombers (who ran a juice truck and later a restaurant) and one of the guys who prosecuted him (we both volunteered for the same organization).

        Liked by 2 people

      5. Notwithstanding Lenora Rose’s clarification, I feel compelled to point out to Lurkertype that the first set of Weathermen bombers (the ones who blew themselves up in Greenwich Village) in fact intended to plant a bomb at an NCO dance in Fort Dix New Jersey. It was only AFTER this initial explosion that the Weathermen decided to not aim at people, but rather buildings and institutions. I’ve done a fair amount of reading about this period and the SDS and so far as I can tell it was the Greenwich Village explosion which brought about the tactics change.

        FWIW, anyone interested in this period of US history should read Days Of Rage by Brian Burrough. Pretty thorough and very interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. @michael: And even that guy was a white man with a history of abusing several women, and many previous arrests/citations, including randomly shooting towards his neighbor’s back yard.

        Liked by 3 people

      7. Bingo. The general pattern is exactly that indicated in the report that the Rs howled so loudly about in 2009: male, white, right wing, often a domestic abuser and (sometimes) homeschooled. The Toronto terrorist referred explicitly to the incel shooter in California.

        Liked by 2 people

      8. I heard a few interviews with Brian Burrough around the time of the book release, which didn’t impress me. He couldn’t even get Assata Shakur’s name right, continually referring to her former name. His perspective largely seemed to be derived from law enforcement. He is right about the level of (often not very thoughtful) militancy of the time period though. Bombs were going off at a nearly daily rate at the time period, set off by a wide variety of splinter groups from the New Left and anti war movements. The Weather Underground may have been small itself, but there was a large enough support network that they were able to stay underground for over a decade without any real substantial arrests, and the only reason they gave themselves up was the failure to create an above ground Prairie Fire movement. They also managed to implode a lot of the anti-war movement through their extremely thoughtless actions. (For instance, taking a stance against soldiers, something that the rest of the movement rejected, seeing enlisted men as potential allies, not foes. Although, in all fairness to the group, they managed to escape many of these thoughtless positions in a few years, but the damage had already been done.) That violence also needs to be understood within both the context of the war and the extraordinary violence that many of these groups experienced at the hands of the state, particularly the Panthers, but it wasn’t limited to them, and the violence of the Vietnam War.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Robert, I can’t disagree with a great deal of your analysis. The Burroughs book is a good place to start, though, if you want a one source easy-to-read overview of the left-based violent revolutionary moment. I have little doubt that the left violence was sparked in no small part by the violence they were facing from the law enforcers of the time. I’ve met some of the still-living members of the SDS, who’ve told me some hair-raising stories about the way they were repeatedly threatened and beat by cops in a variety of jurisdictions.

        Having said that, and sympathizing with their experience, I still think bomb-throwing did a lot more harm to their cause than good.

        Liked by 2 people

      10. Pixlaw, I agree with you about the use of those particular tactics. They were really self-destructive and the best that I can say for them is that they were really bad decisions made by people acting out of desperation. The early Weather Underground was really bad, and the SLA was worse. There’s some footage of Fred Hampton of the Black Panthers of Chicago who is beside himself in anger at the behavior of the Weather Underground’s early behavior. (Incidentally, I’d recommend the documentary about Fred Hampton’s assassination by the police, along with the Panthers’ organizing with The Young Patriots in Chicago.)


  2. Reading some of the comments on the linked post, I find to my complete lack of surprise that at least some of Grant’s readers, whether they identify as Incels or not, have internalized the essential Incel worldview: a transactional theory of sex that goes something like “given that women are sex, and given that I need sex, therefore women need to give sex to me.” Free market capitalist in the streets, hardcore socialist in the sheets.

    I wonder how many modern conservatives who have no problem with Trump, the alt-right, etc., hate us damn lib’rals so much that they are genuinely ignorant of their allies’ beliefs.

    Liked by 7 people

      1. Some variation of “if you met an asshole today, then you met an asshole. If everyone you met was an asshole, then you’re the asshole” is probably appropriate for these jackasses.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Based on the number of mainstream media outlets running “so what are these incel guys about anyway?” pieces, I think incels are a pretty fringe group unless you actually pay attention to weird internet nonsense.
    But as you say, they share strong DNA with the MRA/PUA types that VD&ilk overlap with so it’s a bit rich that when he went looking for common elements elsewhere he decided to pick on the bugbear of “radical Islam” rather than, say, his ideological neighbours.
    The Right currently seems to be able to deploy a sort of willful blindness to their allies’ beliefs, just so long as they’re on their side. The optimist in me says those sort of coalitions always fall apart…the pessimist says it’s now an alliance of reaction and they don’t need to get along.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. But these guys are conservative culture warriors. There’s no excuse for them not having heard of Incels. If that’s the case, it seems likely they’ve been talking out their asses this entire time. Which… oh right, that’s their area of expertise – being experts without knowing anything.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. I think Grant’s lack of knowledge about the ideology of people he associate with is particularly noteworthy given his angry response to the infamous “Rabids are neo-nazi”-comment, and also his claims back then about being something of a militant anti-nazi.

    And I can report that this blind spot about the right is not just limited to the US right or SF writing right. We had a commotion here some weeks ago where the minister of justice, Sylvi Listhaug, posted a facebook meme promoting what’s basically a rightwing extremist conspiracy theory about Labour. (Thankfully, the commotion ended with her resignation – she’s pretty much built her career on dogwhistling, but this time she went too far and was held accountable for it.)

    One of the most noteworthy things to me in the week or so this dominated media was how many on the “moderate” right who seemed to genuinely not recognize the conspiracy theory for what it is. While many conservatives agreed that Listhaug’s comment was inappropriate, they insisted on treating it more as a bit of hyperbole than as the extremist call-to-arms that it was.

    A second noteworthy lesson was how Listhaug’s more rabid fans apparently see themselves. Oh sure, they’re active in facebook groups where people post racist memes, they press like on them and share them with other similar groups, but they insisted they’re “just a regular person”. They basically seem to believe that as long as they’re not actually rounding up victims for the gas chambers it’s _totally_ unfair to call them nazis – no matter what else they do.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. You can find these people in a lot of places. They spout racist and xenophobic nonsense, share racist and xenophobic memes, post hatefilled comments, but they’re not Nazis, just “ordinary concerned citizens”.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. They are so shocked to learn that the incels exist that they are now writing articles about how we have to let and help incels forcibly rape women so that the incels will be happy and not kill people in major media publications. Incels’ ideas about women are pretty much the heart of the entire conservative culture war movement, along with the threat of violence if they don’t get what they want: we women are not human, we’re property chattel, and we are there to be raped. Rape culture in a nutshell.

    Liked by 1 person

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