It seems that the Alt-Right will continue debating the issue of “optics,” or how the movement presents itself, ad infinitum. Some argue that the Left and its media arm will call everyone “Nazi” no matter what the movement does, and, in their eyes, that means optics are largely irrelevant. Others argue that better optics would appeal to the masses and subvert the media’s “everyone’s a Nazi” narrative. In this back and forth, Mike Enoch offered his take on the subject in the form of a thread or “tweet storm“:
My larger point in the earlier optics debate is we shouldn’t look at optics as a cover or a way of tricking people. We have to be authentic. Our message IS radical, disruptive and dangerous to the establishment. Wrapping it in a flag won’t change that. It is also going to put off a lot of normies. Pandering to sensibilities over a flag won’t soften that blow either. And it won’t stop people that get doxed from losing jobs or getting kicked out of school or whatever. There are risks to being part of this. We shouldn’t be deliberately repulsive to people or anything, but don’t think adopting the flag is going to suddenly make this easier. Use the optics you like, and wave the flag if you want. But don’t change your message because you are holding that flag. Don’t think that it is a magic cloth that suddenly makes your views mainstream or acceptable. We are still radicals. We’re making gains, and as the country shifts and the elite become more anti white we will continue to grow whatever optics route is taken. Ultimately our views are TRUE. That’s the most important thing. But the enemy is very rich and very powerful. This was always gonna be hard. The danger in always running our approach through the filter of what appeals to the normie cons is that we lose sight of our message. We use the flag, so maybe right now we don’t talk about the JQ cause we’re bringing in normies. Maybe we don’t talk race. This is the danger. And I’m not just making this up. There are historical examples of this happening when people have taken this route. Ultimately, I am OK with people using whatever optics they find comfortable. My thing is stay on message and be authentic.”
Overall, this seems fairly reasonable, but there are some points that jump out. For example, “we will continue to grow whatever optics route is taken” is an entirely unfounded assumption. More than 80% of Americans find “neo-Nazi or white supremacist views” unacceptable, and 39% already believe that the Alt-Right holds such views compared to 39% with no opinion. These numbers alone speak volumes as to why playing “Nazi” for media cameras is not a good idea. There are tens of millions of Americans who hold no real opinion yet on the Alt-Right, but many, if not most, of those will not be persuaded if they become convinced that it is a “neo-Nazi or white supremacist” movement. That is precisely why the media—the Left’s propaganda machine—continues to work so hard to paint the Alt-Right as nothing more than a pack of Nietzsche-loving Nazis in khaki pants. Chanting “blood and soil” and throwing up Nazi salutes in front of cameras may seem edgy or funny in the moment, but each time is an opportunity for the media to say, “See? We told you they were Nazis.” That is a self-inflicted wound. There are two pathways to victory in the Culture War: namely, 1) subverting and taking over institutions, or 2) winning the hearts and minds of the masses. Neither is furthered by LARPing as “literal Nazis.”
Secondly, promoting better optics is not the same as advocating for “a cover or a way of tricking people.” The Founding Fathers were themselves white nationalists considering they founded a nation and then limited citizenship to whites in 1790, 1795, and 1802. The Founders’ and their descendants’ understanding of the United States as a white nation was reinforced in 1857 when the Supreme Court voted 7-2 to uphold the fact that, as the descendants of slaves, blacks were not and could not be citizens. As early as 1751, Ben Franklin had said there was “an Opportunity, by excluding all [Africans] and [Asians], of increasing the lovely White and Red.” In 1784, Thomas Jefferson said that a freed slave should “be removed beyond the reach of mixture” to avoid him “staining the blood of his master.” It is neither deceptive nor deceitful for the Alt-Right to embrace the Founding Fathers and Americanism unless those doing so are, at their core, in opposition to all of the above for some reason. It is rather showing that biased “historians” are the ones trying to deceive people when they claim that the Founders’ beliefs “assumed racial equality.” Americans need to be disabused of their false notions that the United States is a proposition nation founded by men who were simultaneously racist and sexist yet intended a multiracial, multicultural, feminist society.
That brings us to the fact that adopting optics that appeal to a specifically American audience is also not “running our approach through the filter of what appeals to the normie cons.” For example, the “normie cons” actually ridicule and criticize the very notion of white identity, European heritage, caring about our own people, &c. The truth is that the “mainstream Right” is composed of mostly good people that have been misled by center-left politicians and “intellectuals” that are just as anti-racist as the Left and only pretend to care about the Founders. That is despite the fact that a majority of white Americans recognize that the current system discriminates against them. There is immense potential there since the masses naturally feel there is something wrong with society today, but those same people are not clamoring to hang portraits of Der Führer in their living rooms. The Alt-Right could reach them and help free them from the neoconservative plantation, but that requires presenting the message in a way that appeals to them through the lens of their American culture and heritage. Their grandfathers were likely aligned with the Alt-Right just as the Founders were, but their grandfathers also gave their blood, sweat, and tears to fight the actual Nazis, for good or ill. Even if open to “white nationalism,” they are not open to Nazism.
The key point of utilizing American optics is that Americana simultaneously appeals to most Americans while exposing the lies of both the progressives and neoconservatives. If you need to show that ethno-nationalism and opposing Third World immigration are legitimate political positions, why bother quoting European figures from the 20th century when you can quote Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and the First Congress? Leftists will still scream that you are a Nazi, but they will do so while facing the Founding Fathers and Old Glory. To passersby, they will see Communists calling George Washington a Nazi, and they will see the Alt-Right on the side of the Constitution as it was written and intended. There is nothing deceptive about that because it is the truth, and the Alt-Right, at its core, is not at odds with the founding generation on such issues. My grandfather and many other relatives served during World War II. I have ancestors who fought during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. I may question things that were born out of the Enlightenment, but I am not opposed to Americana. I am proud of my ancestors and the nation they built, no matter how imperfect it may be today, and I suspect that is true of others as well.
It is indeed true that the Alt-Right is a radical movement because tradition seems radical when all people know is modernity, but the Founding Fathers would also be seen as radical today. After all, Thomas Jefferson proposed castrating sodomites in 1778 while the media is still telling people that a race-mixing homosexual is a leader of the Alt-Right. The key is that the Founders are both a gateway and a weapon. Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, Kevin Williamson, and so on may be willing to attack Richard Spencer and the like, but would they attack George Washington or Thomas Jefferson in the same way? Would they risk publicly severing their ideology from the Founders and the Constitution? The Alt-Right has a real opportunity to begin isolating the neoconservatives by forcing them to choose between Americanism and progressivism, and, at the same time, there is an opportunity to continue baiting leftists into exposing themselves. The Alt-Right’s enemies want to hide behind flowery language about “fighting racism” and “promoting diversity,” but they are begging to be exposed as the America-hating communists they are.