Submitted by Withered Rose
If you have been in the dissident right for more than a couple months, and by “in” I mean anything from consuming content or being on telegram to appearing on podcasts and writing articles, you will notice a peculiar type of dysfunctionality. At times it will manifest itself as a feud between two factions over personalities or ideological differences, other times as a cultic devotion to some historical figure or movement. If you are worried that I am about to repeat the tired trope “can’t we all just get along”, or the even more tired “we have to stop living in the past” line, I promise this is not that article. What is interesting, is why the dissident right is seemingly more prone to feuds and, frankly, autism than other sub-cultures. Short answer: Outsider Syndrome.
Outsider Syndrome is a phrase currently in circulation in step-parenting and expat communities as a longer way to say, “I don’t belong.” For those of us on the dissident right, we deeply understand what it is like to not belong. The world of 2021 is incongruent with our values and principles. Not only congruent, but openly hostile to our beliefs. To believe that marriage is between one man and one woman is, if the media and Hollywood are to be trusted, an extreme position and hateful.Having the same view towards marriage as Joseph Stalin and almost every other communist dictator in the 20th century makes you, in this wicked age, a far-right extremist. Ridiculous as it is, it is reality. Since you are reading this, I do not need to tell you this…you know it all too well. We do not belong in the current year and it is traumatic to live in an age that is not only opposed to all that we believe but also hates us for our beliefs.
As outsiders, most of us are not able to find an IRL community that shares our beliefs. Unless you are a very lucky person, you have to hide your political and moral views at work or at the very least avoid talking about them if you do not want to be harassed or fired. Family and childhood friends, no matter how much they love you, are not likely a fan of your politics. Even fellow parishioners, no matter how traditional your church, would be at least a little uneasy if you were to share your views on the Civil Rights Act, for example. Maybe none of this applies to you personally, maybe your co-workers, family, friends and church community are all on the dissident right or is at least sympathetic to it. Nevertheless, this is a look at the dissident right as a whole and why it is that we are so prone to feuds and autism.
With a lack of IRL communities, and with the knowledge that society not only disagrees with your values, but thinks you a potential terrorist, the dissident becomes an outsider and begins to desperately search for belonging. Sometimes a chat room will do, other times it means listening to a podcast and coming to see said podcaster as a friend, even though you never spoken to this person nor likely ever will, another time it is means finding an historical period where you would belong and becoming emotionally attached to this time, or closely related, to become devoted to an ideology that, if it were every realized in society, would provide a place for you. Attempting to find belonging in a podcast, a chat, an historical period or an ideology is one symptom of Outsider Syndrome. Once a podcast, chat, historical period or ideology becomes the source of one’s belonging, then criticism of this source becomes an existential threat and ceases to be a disagreement over an idea or taste of podcasts. When yousee two people getting into a bitter fight over whether or not the Strasser brothers were right, or a heated argument about if X is a grifter, you are not seeing a difference of opinion but two people who feel that their sense of belonging are under attack. Truly inconsequential things, when chosen as one’s source of belonging, become a line in the sand; if you cross that line and tell me that the Strasser brothers were wrong, if you tell me that podcaster X is a grifter, I simply can no longer associate with you.
Whereas sources of belonging used to be found in the local community, in one’s family, or in a church, dissidents are finding themselves excluded from these traditional places of belonging. For each of these traditional places of belonging there is something that an ideology, chatroom, historical period or podcast cannot have: IRL relationships that are bound by personal affection, rather than rigid adherence. Churches often do require a level of adherence, varying depending on how traditional the church is, but belonging to a church is not simply about believing the same things as the other parishioners, but the bonds of affection that form between parishioners; it is similar to how friends may be made at work, being at the same business brought both people together but the bond between them are not dependent on how they feel towards the business. The problem with having a chat room, podcast, historical period or ideology as a source of belonging is that the bonds are completely dependent on rigid adherence to the source of belonging. Disagreement over the validity or value of dissident’s source of belonging will, if not resolved, quickly begin to resemble Carl Schmitt’s friend/enemy distinction.
So, why is the dissident right filled with autism, purity spiraling and feuds? Outsider Syndrome.