Strap on your helmets and hop in my Land Cruiser. We’re going on an anthropological safari through some of the modern right’s most colorful characters. Read this to discover:
- Why you should never pee in your car while driving (and other AM talk radio secrets from my youth)
- One simple tactic the left can use to confuse, demoralize, and trigger the right (ripped directly from the Donald Trump playbook).
- Better than olive oil! The “bronze age” food that neo-fascist nuts swear by for radiant, wrinkle-free skin.
- Stop worrying about right wing conspiracy theories forever by understanding the deep psychology behind their schemes.
I’m fascinated by a segment of the American right.
Not the country club types I knew growing up.
I mean the talk radio personalities I would secretly listen to while home sick from school.
My first exposure to these guys came from the G. Gordon Liddy show. “The G Man” was famous for planning the Watergate break-in and did some prison time as a result.
His politics were bog standard 1990s right (guns good, Hillary bad, blah blah blah…). But he told some stories that had an exotic appeal to my 13 year old East Coast liberal brain.
“Make sure to get in a fight on the first day,” he’d tell someone about to go to prison, and then explain how to build a DIY air conditioner for their cell.
He also had a good story about needing to piss while on a long drive. Instead of pulling over, he peed in a water bottle, then saw a bus full of people watching from the next lane.
Liddy is old now and has been off the air for years. But I still find myself – especially in the age of Trump – keeping tabs on some of the characters we will look at below.
Is “Oprahs of the right” the best name for them?
I am trying to draw a line between the colorful figures I discuss here and the humorless jerks like Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter who are all about trolling the left and have no style.
Oprahs of the right are all about lifestyle and aesthetics. I think of them as a mirror image of the crystal energy left. Our Oprahs are interested in primal detox regimens and brain boosting pills. They are worried about the water turning frogs gay and that black helicopters are coming for your guns.
Let’s have tea with them today.
Here are my notes in no particular order:
Bronze Age Mindset
This book was written by an anonymous online personality known as “Bronze Age Pervert.” I first heard about him on a podcast about the groyper movement which is an emerging ultra-alt-right group on the right of the Trump coalition.
The interesting thing about the groyper movement is that it seems like an ideal candidate for information warfare from the left. There is a finding in political science that an attack on Trump coming from the center-right would be far less effective than one from the right. Are left operatives studying these groypers, perhaps even amplifying them as a way to splinter the right?
Anyway, Bronze Age Pervert (or BAP) is an online groyper-esque persona. I read his book and followed him a bit on Twitter.
The book is a loose stream of ideas. BAP is apparently a big Nietzsche fan and has modeled himself on his writing style.
BAP insists that his book should not be considered a “self help” book, but it reminds me of Jordan Peterson, in that there are sharp value judgements that form a critique of modern life. A few examples:
|Coconut oil. Many health benefits
|Yeast. Uncontrolled reproduction for own sake; same logic as the cancer cell
|Dying in blaze of glory while still in physical prime.
|Comfort-seeking old age
|Dense cities, preferably with red light districts to hang out in
|Ancient Greek warrior kings, early explorers (eg Cortez)
|Modern day billionaires
BAP longs for a simpler time when a man could go to the next town, burn it, and carry off its women — a pleasure that even the most powerful billionaires of today cannot indulge in: “The danger of our time is it not that it makes men bad but it makes men small and afraid.”
So if we are stuck in this blah modernity, where even a Bezos or Zuckerberg can’t rape and pillage at will, what is a frog to do? BAP has a couple suggestions:
Create a boy’s club: Male camaraderie is the highest virtue. Offices, universities, the military, etc are no longer safe spaces for men. BAP seems to envision something like a more edgy version of the boy scouts where you can whip it out at will, safe from female oppression. These groups should engage in political pranks and dirty tricks to cause mischief and humiliate opponents.
Infiltrate the deep state: Modern society will soon collapse under the weight of its excesses (BAP has read his Ibn Khaldun?). When it does, he predicts that the military will need to step in. Here is where members of the BAP fraternity will shine. You should join the military-intelligence complex, he advises. The goal is to move silently up the ranks, both learning fun manly skills and being in a place to lead the junta that will step in after the collapse. BAP stresses that this movement must be built in absolute secrecy. Never reveal the name behind your frog avatar or attend events where you can be recognized.
Make memes: If you can’t handle the military bureaucracy, you can still help by making memes and other forms of propaganda. For BAP, the highest form of this art are the films of Mel Gibson.
Cultivate your body: Scroll through BAP’s twitter timeline and you will see a mix of semi nude (mostly Nordic) bodybuilding males and “hotties.” These specimens are excluded from BAP’s race science pecking order, which is very confused and I don’t have the energy to try to untangle it here.
Mike Crumplar has written about the homoeroticism of BAP’’s writings, which is a great read. It is interesting to see how BAP focuses on an idea of physical size (bulging pec muscles for their own sake) rather than say strength, mobility, or other elements of athletic performance.
Between heavy sets, BAP recommends all manner of home detox remedies (supplement line coming soon?) He has a famous carrot salad recipe, extols the benefits of coconut oil, and warns against the dangers of estrogen exposure in plastics. His Twitter can sometimes resemble a cooking blog, as his followers chime in with their own health hacks.
Style: BAP writes in a mix of internet slang (purposefully mis-spelled words) and foreign accented English). I missed a lot of his quirky spellings due to listening on Audible, But this excerpt from the Crumplar review gives a flavor:
The low style is contrasted with erudite references to Greek literature, high German philosophers, and other signifiers of an elite educational background. Perhaps he is going for something like the “barbell” high-low model of Nassim Taleb: a Fat Tony meets Schopenhauer.
I will update this post when I have tried the carrot salad recipe…
“Get Me Roger Stone”
I watched this Netflix documentary after Stone was convicted on charges of obstructing the Mueller investigation. It was released in 2017 so doesn’t go into his trial or connection with Wikileaks during the Trump campaign. It does cover the roots of his political philosophy and personal style.
The film traces how Stone connects with many of the Republican political victories during his career, including the rise of Trump and many of the themes of his campaign. But it is always unclear what Stone actually did and what is puffery and media manipulation to make himself appear more powerful. Is the appearance of being powerful enough to achieve actual power?
Elements of Stone’s Ideology:
- Where BAP adopts the barbell (high-low) mix, Stone casts himself as a man of the people. He reads tabloids and is immersed in trashy media
- The public is a gullible lump. They are unable to distinguish between acting and reality (think The Apprentice)
- Fear and anger are more powerful emotions than love
- Embrace infamy and persona as a dirty trickster
- Media are lazy and evil. Embrace alternative media outlets like Infowars, Breitbart, etc
The film moves chronologically through Republican administrations.
JFK: Stone got his start in dirty tricksterism by telling kids at his school that Kennedy wanted to add school on Saturday, thus learning the value of disinformation.
Nixon: Stone delivered money, unsolicited, to Nixon’s Republican challenger on behalf of socialist party. He made sure to get a receipt for contribution…. and promptly gave it to the newspapers.
Reagan: Managed several northern states for Reagan, then starts consulting company w/ Paul Manafort that earned nickname the “Torturer’s Lobby.”
Dole Campaign (1996): Here is where Stone’s trajectory as a “respectable” political operative derails. The National Enquirer breaks story of Stone and his wife going to a swingers club. This burns him for a while in mainstream Republican politics and fuels his “underground” image after this. This alienation sparks a more libertarian-leaning period where Stone embraces weed and gay rights.
George W Bush: Stone was part of the GOP team that went to Florida to apply pressure on the 2000 election recount process. The film suggests he may have been behind the “Brooks Brothers Riot” astroturfed demonstration to apply pressure the recount process.
Trump: This is a big break for Stone. Before, he was a background dirty tricks guy who had an arms-length relationship to the politicians. But as Trump emerges, it becomes clear that Stone is a driving force behind a lot of Trump’s messaging. These include birtherism, Clinton crime family, Hillary for Prison, Hillary is Sick, ‘Trump said bad things, but Bill Clinton did bad things’.
Where BAP pretends to hate the idea of being a lifestyle guru, Stone embraces it with a set of rules to live by. They span politics, fashion, and food and drink:
- “It’s better to be infamous than never famous at all.”
- “Politics isn’t theater. It’s performance art. Sometimes, for its own sake.”
- “White shirt + tan face = confidence,”
- “Undertakers and chauffeurs are the only people who should be allowed by law to wear black suits.”
- “Hit it from every angle. Open multiple fronts on your enemy. He must be confused, and feel besieged on every side.”
- “Admit nothing, deny everything, launch counterattack.”
- “Nobody ever built a statue to a committee.”
- “Avoid obviousness.”
- “Attack, attack, attack, never defend.”
- “Folks want government out of the bedroom and the boardroom.”
- “Lay low, play dumb, keep moving.”
Author Ramit Sethi has an idea called “D-to-C.” It stands for “derision to curiosity.” The idea is that whenever you catch yourself feeling smug, or writing something off, it’s far more productive to ask questions.
Example: Which internal script is more productive?
“Arrrgghh, look at all these shitty banner ads all over the internet. Who on earth ever clicks these??”
“Hmm I never click these ads, yet Google makes $10 billion in profit per year selling these things. I wonder how this all works?”
Can you see how, compounded over time, asking more of the second type of question will give you more insight into how the world works?
The point isn’t to force yourself to like something you hate. It’s to recognize that emotional triggers are powerful opportunities to learn. What triggers one group is catnip to another. And these kind of oppositional dynamics are amplified by the internet and driving politics, marketing, and other huge forces.
This brings us to Alex Jones, perhaps the left’s biggest hate figure. Like Roger Stone, Jones turned from being an “out there” player to someone much closer to power in the age of Trump.
He is best known for his Infowars program, which airs on radio, and various internet streaming services, until he was de-platformed by the big internet companies.
Alex Jones is into the black helicopter, 9/11 was an inside job type stuff. He got into trouble for suggesting that the Sandy Hook school shootings were part of a government plot to confiscate guns, and this seems to have been the last straw for YouTube and the other internet platforms.
The best on-ramp to understanding Jones is this 4.5-hour, 16 million YouTube view Joe Rogan episode from 2019. This is a good format because joe lets Jones be himself, but also asks follow up questions and challenges him in places.
Ideology & Proof
So what is Alex Jones all about?
Unlike Stone or BAP, Jones does not seem to be for anything in particular. Jones does not support even Trump unflinchingly.
For Jones, it’s really all about enemies and fear. For example:
- Media: Putting Jones’ life at risk by criticizing his pointing out of “anomalies” in the Sandy Hook story. It’s not his fault that some wackos take him seriously and harass the shooting victims’ families.
- Google / Apple / Big Tech: Sold out America by giving AI to the Chinese.
- NASA / CIA / U.S. Government / George Soros / ‘globalists’ / New World Order: Trying to control our minds using cell towers and 5g technology (don’t totally disagree there); government is making human-animal chimeras and harvesting babies for their organs.
If you’re interested in a full list and debunking of his beliefs, there’s a good one here. But I’m more interested in how he supports his ideas.
Tactic 1: Cite real conspiracies. The best thing conspiracy theorists have going for them is that the government has, in fact, done some truly crazy stuff. If you listen to Alex Jones long enough you will get familiar with shorthand references to these. Operation Paperclip (the plan to bring top Nazi scientists to America to work on our space and weapons programs), the CIA mind control experiments with LSD, and a list of other government programs that sound crazy but have been fully documented. Whenever Jones is about to drop some truly out-there shit, he warms up by citing these “true conspiracies” almost like a mantra.
Tactic 2: Hit ‘em fast and hard. One moment about half an hour into the interview is truly jaw dropping. Jones starts on the Sandy Hook shootings, and within 20 seconds is on to human-animal-alien hybrids. No transition. No warm up. Just an instant pivot from the touchy topic straight into his comfort zone. In a format like Rogan there is someone to interrupt him with a question or Google search. But in his actual show, he is able to get into a real head of steam going with nothing to slow him down.
Tactic 3: This is all totally documented. The last ‘proof’ strategy is to claim that everything he cites is documented in, like, ‘PhD level history books.’ Or my dad (who’s super smart) told me when he was a kid. Or I’ll bet you $10 million that human-animal hybrids are real. When Jones gets going there’s no logic. He is not speaking as much as vibrating like a tuning fork. At some point, all critical through is shut down and you’re either in tune with him or rolling down the car window to puke.
So how do we fight back against the alien-chimeras inside your 5g phone?
In the movie Independence Day, Will Smith teams up with the government to fight off the invading alien forces. But for Jones, the answer is not to fight back through political systems. The answer is personal: prepping. On his site, Jones offers for sale a huge array of supplements, doomsday prepping supplies, and conspiracy books.
On one hand, the guy clearly doesn’t have a lot of options for monetizing as he has been kicked off all the big ad platforms. But there is also a deeper connection between his products and ideology. I mean, if he can get you to believe that the governor of Virginia is killing babies to harvest their organs, it’s kind of a layup to throw up an “add to cart” button for some brain pills.
But I think there’s something deeper. Under the surface, there is a politics of helplessness. Like, instead of ramming the F-16 into the alien mothership, the best we can do is to stockpile some guns and worry about chemtrails turning us gay.