The Destiny Of the 'Alt-Center' Remains To Be Seen


One keeping one's finger on the pulse of the dissident political spectrum of the blogosphere will probably have come across the term 'Alt-Center' at some point. The most provacative representative of this position, in my opinion, would be Giovanni Dannato, who blogs at Colony of Commodus (Forward Base B). I've linked to and quoted him a few times, as I've found his ideas concerning social status as an invisible engine behind politics, among others, quite fascinating. Not totally Right nor totally Left, he examplifies how it is possible to think about social issues today in a 'post-liberal' way, to borrow a phrase from another far more recent Alt-Centrist, Matt P., who blogs at Alt of Center

The subheading of the latter blog reads, 'Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Beauty,' which is much more in keeping with the Starkian vision of an Alt-Center (as self-styled by Robert Stark of Stark Truth Radio), which would like to move forward into a politics driven by aesthetics, among them being what Matt P. calls 'Retro-Futurism.' The phrase 'Retro-Futurism' could have been used as an interesting American counterpart to the Archeo-Futurism which came out of the European New Right, but that's obviously not where the Alt-Center gang wishes to go. Rather, I suspect that there is a double-intention happening in the 'retro' part of Retro-Futurism. By accepting the worst of 80's aesthetics, perhaps there is embedded into that a subconscious or simply adjacent longing to redeem the 80's (but one gets the feeling, when reviewing some of the imagery Stark and company are concerned with, that they don't feel it actually needs redeeming, but simply polishing).

And we haven't even gotten to their ideas. Perhaps we haven't because they haven't either. By this I mean, quite simply, that they are still figuring it out. While Stark is certainly taking on the audacious task of turning Stark Truth Radio into an Alt-Center think-tank, he is hardly the first or final word on what is happening in that small, burgeoning movement. While one can extract certain trends - for instance, that most of them seem to have defected from either the Alt-Right (or its ideological cousins, like Neoreaction) or the Alt-Left (which is already a defection from the Alt-Right as it is) - there seems to be recurring concern for or redressed concern for identity, realistic social welfare, social status, economic stability and sex, LOTS more sex. In fact, between Dannato's thoughts on 'microsexonomics,' Stark's novel Journey to Vapor Island and Matt P.'s 'homonationalism' abstraction, it is hard not to think of the Alt-Right as little more than a Moral Majority for the 2010's by comparison. In fact, Matt P., in particular, has contributed more sexy pomo crit-theory to the budding concept of dissident centrism than any of the others, interesting though they are.

The thing I find the most curious about them, however, is what would appear to be their very intentions within the 'Alt-sphere' altogether. While the Alt-Right fashioned itself a counter-culture which just happened to have most of its primary literature on the internet, it turned out to be little more than an internet trend with little application in the outside world, save the entryism that came in the wake of the 2016 presidential election from the likes of white nationalists and neo-nazis, from whom Alt-Right O.G.'s seemed reluctant to distance themselves - ultimately leading to the 'Alt-Right implosion' proclaimed by the likes of Stark and Brandon Adamson. Having inundated the internet with a sort of caricatural 2.0 of their vision, The Alt-Right manifested as something little better than a sort of McDonald's version of the European New Right, that is, if the European New Right was actually as divisive as the media tried to say they were. The Alt-Center, on the other hand, doesn't seem to have as big of ambitions as the Alt-Right. Where the Alt-Right wanted the culture and merely captured the internet, the Alt-Center seems content to merely capture the internet. It remains to be seen if they'll actually be able to pull this off, or if they'll simply be a fringe or corner of web culture with a sizable following and modest influence, or if they'll simply be a salon for people with eclectic political proclivities to meet and pop many different colored pills together. 

ADDED NOTE - January 12, 2019

Upon further informing myself, Matt P. did in fact compare ‘Retro-Futurism’ to ‘Archeo-Futurism.’

Other observations I made were, I feel in hindsight, more reflections of what caught my eye than important features of the ideas themselves, such as some of the suggestion that they were trying to ‘redeem’ or ‘polish’ the 80’s. This is likely not a prominent feature of the overall movement from what I’ve observed since the writing of this article.

Furthermore, the suggestion that their ‘still figuring out’ their central ideas was somehow tantamount to not having any ideas now strikes me as a spurious approximation. Precisely what is interesting about the budding stages of intellectual movements is their propensity to coalesce from disparate parts which share certain affinities.