If you have been silly enough to explore the alt-right’s presence online, there’s a high chance you have already encountered this cartoon. It would have you believe that people join the Ku Klux Klan because they find the world isn’t diverse enough. They’ve trekked around the globe, encountered the common threads of multinational capitalism, and were annoyed that the humbling cultural plethora Mark Twain promised was nowhere to be found. And so, they donned the hood. This is patently absurd, but does anyone really believe it?
It’s difficult to tell. Anyone who has followed the
mutation maturation of the alt-right movement will know that a good deal of its number simply “fell” into it. There are people who say outrageous, fascistic things for reasons separate from being a fascist (Milo Yiannopoulos built a career around it): for shock, for laughs, for attention, or, in a mixture of the three, for purposes of satire. But, when participating in such activities – particularly through the prism of the internet – one may begin to buy (literally) into what one is saying (ironically). There are those on /pol/ who began by lampooning /pol/, who now subscribe to /pol/’s alt-right agenda. Yes… 4chan can do funny things to people.
Kurt Vonnegurt’s had a message in Mother Night, his only novel with a distinct moral: We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.