Gatekeeping and Witch Trials

The Prudentialist

The Prudentialist

Observing the world from a dissident and realist perspective. Musings on culture, politics, and international relations.

If you don’t know what I’m referring to, I’ll give a basic overview of events based on how I see it. So you’ll get my biased perspective, obviously, as I cannot speak for the individuals involved in the past few weeks. This is not to defend The Rizoma School or Mrs. Colby, or the Twitter Anons who had raised objections. Today we’ll talk about the right wing twitter anon/frog twitter objections to Ashley Colby’s politics in the wake of her recent publication in The American Mind, the infamous twitter space, and some thoughts in the aftermath.

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Is everyone ready to talk about drama? Is everyone ready to get pissed? Probably not, but hey let’s just get this out of the way.

So What the Hell is Going On?

This had pinged my radar shortly after Mrs. Ashley Colby had written an article titled, “Selling Sexual Freedom” in The American Mind on August 10th, 2022. It reads quite well, although not nearly within what one might call conservative or right wing orthodoxy. I’ll get to that issue later on, but for now I will admit, like other women responding to the impact of the sexual revolution and “marketplace” it is coming from a uniquely feminine perspective. After all, if my YouTube and Twitter analytics are any indication, right wing politics has always been a sausage-fest.

Yet the article doesn’t read too differently from quite a bit of feminist rhetoric many on the right and probably some Claremont fellows a few years back would have been against in the face of the absolute track record of late-twentieth and now early twenty-first century feminism. For example:

“Equally troubling, men’s brains are being rewired in the transhumanist marketplace; they are no longer able to see women as whole humans, but only as figments or snippets of idealized pornographic desire. Men become less spontaneous or even capable of interacting “IRL,” as society moves increasingly online. Porn addiction is no longer a question of compulsively watching porn. The porno-world imposes itself on the male mind as a kind of built-in augmented reality wearable.”

I’ll refer back to this quote later. Although this really does absolve women of their own agency and impact on the current sexual dynamics in the West, and seemingly ignores those who were in charge of their own liberation causes, from Seneca Falls to Hooks and Crenshaw. Men are fundamentally aware of their own problems, but the other thing that really sticks out of this article is this little quip.

The liberatory ideology of the sexual revolution is stodgy bait on a sharp hook; it is a way for commodity capitalists to use women’s bodies, exploit them, and discard them. 

This line reads like something out of John E. Roemer’s “General Theory of Exploitation and Class,” had articulated that economic exploitation naturally arises even in a self-employed subsistence economy. (Thank you Carlsbad.) The same thing for women who are self-employed and live off their pay pigs, twitch chat donations and subs while they sit in a hot tub, and so on. Probably relevant since Aella was mentioned earlier in the article.

In the wake of this publication, right wing Twitter went to work on finding out who Mrs. Colby was and where she came from. While tweeting from the Twitter account @RizomaSchool, the question of OPSEC became one of finding out her private account. Future Moldovan Citizen (@Mainstream Views) and Martin, (Martin’s Newsletter) were quick to point these things out, alongside a growing trend of what we see from this manufactured “new right” direction, consisting of disaffected and “former” leftists now being called part of the right. A similar feeling to the phenomenon of “The Left left me.” Despite the drama that has unfolded, the internet has a tendency to remind us that things are not so easily erased from history these days. Especially if you do try and delete your private account.

Some of the social media in question that were cocking eyebrows and confirming suspicion on their part.

There’s plenty more, but I think I’ll leave it at that; after all. I’m already talking about dirty laundry; no need to stink up the place in its entirety.

Now what came after is that for any one who shared, for anyone who commented or replied, was facing mass blocking, yet the scene was still facing stalking from the very woman who was being called out. Kind of strange, I will admit, but I think there is a tweet that illustrates this perfectly, from our friend Katherine Dee:

(This goes both ways, btw. But again, more on that later.)

What Twitter Spaces can do to a (Wo)man

September 29th had an interesting evening, a twitter space called “the groyping of Ashely Colby” hosted by Martin and had quite a few big wig twitter anons in there as well. This went for about 3 hours. I was there for the latter 90 minutes. Thankfully, we have others out there who kept track of it like a court stenographer, throughout the event in its entirety but no recording exists.

I will admit in honesty that it was quite hilarious to see what the twitter version of the Spanish Inquisition played out before my eyes and ears. Upon my ears and hearing tone were questions being asked about the fundamental issues of what would in the eyes of the host of the space, on the difference between right and left. With regards to her former support of the left, the cost it comes with being anon versus a named individual and putting your own work and name out there. Issues ranged from avowing Hitler questioning whether or not Mrs. Colby’s views have changed since her AOC avowing days in 2020, and the question of political disengagement to focus on local issues, or the geographic distance and the question of what does one have to lose in terms of who says what they really want to say.

In the 90 minutes or so that I was in that space, it was clear that she was unprepared for whatever was going on, and it went in all directions in terms of what was being asked, the rejoinders, and the evolution of politics. It was an interrogation, a witch trial of sorts played before my ears. Questioning over politics, trying to get to the roots if there was any baseline agreement between my anonymous cohorts and the individual who came to the stand, on her husband’s account mind you, to reply to this inquisition. The replies Mrs. Colby gave, to whom I hold no personal ill will, nor wish to offend, had no set concrete answer, from first principles to basic questions over the progressive platitudes she had supported. Martin and numerous others led the charge, some parts certainly humorous; others deadly serious. After all, it was Martin and others that had discovered the political positions and endorsements of her past, and it was worth asking about since she had just been published in one of the premiere conservative publications. A publication that has taken many of the online right’s talking points to a much broader audience, even if watered down just a tad.

As I said in the after-space discussion, it was a mix of uncertainty in the position, going into a hostile crowd with an unprepared plan of action, and points that felt eerily similar about containment or deradicalization talk from the 2016-2017 era of politics. Questions about whether or not one was married with kids, anger in men and youth, all made for an interesting observation as to what this inquisitive mess had to show for it. However, I will let those who led the charge on it comment or speak for themselves. As I said earlier, you’re getting my perspective and mine alone. I speak for no one else. Yet Mrs. Colby’s take on the commodification of women, and the issues of the sexual revolution are a sign of something worth noting, even if comes to many on frog twitter as a “the Left left me” type of situation.

Raised in a Feminist World

If there is one thing that must be said, it is that politics in 2022 lives in the shadows of over a century of feminist movements. From Seneca Falls, the Pussy Hats of 2017, to “Normalizing” Sex Workers in the name of female liberation, we live in the fallout of women’s lib. Almost all of us here in the West, whether we know it or not, have been socialized with some degree of feminist thinking and logic that now resides within us.

As women come to terms with the fact that their happiness has been declining for decades despite gains in so-called equity and rights, (the paradox of declining female happiness) things like sex positivity and the sexual revolution are now in the crosshairs of the women it was supposed to liberate. Men, who have in recent years been the target of having their masculinity structurally dismantled and are dealing with a sexual “marketplace” that encourages women to expect the most financial gain out of any potential relationship. Dating apps are designed this way, matchmakers, all of it done in a way that takes advantage of the dwindling levels of trust between men and women; so that all things are viewed as transactional and without any additional value.

Staunch anti-feminists on the right should not be surprised at all when women who take up against the consequences of the sexual revolution view and deconstruct it from a feminist view point. Louise Perry, Mary Harrington, even Katherine Dee are articulating from a point that no man could really write. The same applies to Colby, even if it is demonstrably left wing in its first principles. Now does this mean that she should be published in The American Mind? My personal objection and opinion is that it shouldn’t be. It read like something I’d see in City Journal or UnHerd. I don’t know Mrs. Colby from Adam, nor do I wish her any ill will. But if you’re going to write or appeal to a right wing audience, perhaps don’t be surprised when individuals start asking questions? After all, despite blocking multiple accounts (mine included) on Twitter, the space was still sought after for her to make an appearance. This is where Ms. Dee’s point about being validated by a hostile crowd comes into play. Going to such lengths, either for validation, or to clear the air to people whose views are probably antithetical to yours (which if the space was any indicator, they certainly are) then perhaps don’t approach them. However, don’t be surprised at all when people get upset when writing from a perspective that may be anathema to the main audience of those who read it, or at least the twitter space that does have some substantial sway on political discourse. Today’s threads and tweets inevitably become the news chyrons of tomorrow.

However, the point stands that men and women today are raised in the wake of feminism and the sexual liberation that came from it. The consequences have been a disaster, but for many of us we’re still in the process of deconstructing that socialization. No one is going to be trad or right-wing, and I don’t think you’re going to be able to shut women up either, although how honest you are about that last one I think is more to be transgressive and edgy than anything else. Well, unless we’re talking about female priests, but that’s a conversation for another day.

We’ve Got Our Problems Too

This isn’t to say men aren’t without their problems.

And if I were to offer some thoughts here that might get my ass in trouble with my own cohorts, it would be this: we actually need women on our side at some point. Even in the procedural kabuki theater that is our so-called democratic process. There’s a reason why the mainstream GOP gets worried about white female suburban voters. They’re the most likely to buy into lefty bullshit and vote that way, whether it’s ranging from reproductive issues or just “mean tweets.” I do think that dissident spaces shouldn’t have to compromise on their values or beliefs, but there is the question of sociability.

A fellow dissident and man I deeply respect, Charlemagne, points out in his recent article;

The dissident right has a real problem, and that problem is that the people who follow and fund us and the people whom we actually want to reach are basically two entirely different audiences, and the audience we are connected to is filled with too many people of dismal character who most of us would otherwise want nothing to do with.

Like Mr. Woes, I am no exemplar myself, but damn, some of y’all are seriously fucked up. Perhaps consider this post an open letter to those of you who aren’t—the problem we need to overcome is the gap between our current audience and the “mainstream” audience. Think what you may of Curtis Yarvin, but he is proactively closing this gap. (Pedro has also made some achievements.) Additionally, the IRL Events that have been happening with increasingly frequency help close this gap as well. They at the very least select for pro-social people who can make those inroads with all of the normal people out there.

Obviously, we regard ourselves as “normal,” and it is the vast majority of the rest of the people in our countries who have been propagandized and bullied into believing radically self-harming ideas that can be at the highest level described as “egalitarian.” Nevertheless, the broader public would see us as highly abnormal were they to glimpse us directly, which is why “hiding your power level” tends to be a social necessity. That being said, this is really only necessary due to the lack of “respectability.” To overcome this gap, the right needs to establish “respectability.”

What good are we to offer an alternative, (or are we not supposed to do that) when we’re advocating for esoteric hiterlism or something that is assuredly more obscure and extreme in the next. Is there a purpose to continually pushing things further to the right? Absolutely, I’ve called for that before in a previous article. Both sexes have a place in things, but to kick out the other half tells me that it won’t bode well for us in the long run. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong, but it’s just something I feel the need to put into words.

A Noticeable Trend

Lately however I have begun to notice online that even traditional right wing orthodoxy is being challenged, by the nature of no clear delineations between various groups or personalities, as well as giving attention to those who wouldn’t dare call themselves anything remotely to the right. There has been an odd blend of those who could be associated, even tangentially, with those outside the mainstream right, in engagement of both ideas and giving individuals coming at things from a post-modern, post-structuralist or even classical Marxist perspective. Hell, the late podcast, The Fedpost (which I had appeared on twice) had individuals clearly of a Bernie, Dem-Soc, or even Marxist lens. Not to insult the fellows who ran that show, I have quite a bit of respect for them all. But for Vanity Fair to call them right wing was laughable, to a point that it played a factor in the show coming to an end, in my personal opinion.

I make this observation for two reasons.

1. To acknowledge that I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t acknowledge my own dabbling in this area of thought. I do think there is some value in it coming to the right, but we should not lose our tradition and the classics.

2. Anytime I see any real pushback from this, I see individuals who wish to throw their lot in with Marxists or Democratic Socialists respond to the criticism by calling these concerned right wingers as “John Birchers.”

This is something that requires further attention and interrogation as to what the right, in any new form or iteration wants to be, and making clear borders between individuals, publications, and organizations. Has there been good stuff out of Compact? Absolutely. Would I dare call the publication right wing, or even its founders? No. There’s another article for another time, however, because this barely scratches at the surface.

As with regards to Mrs. Colby and her article, the space and the push back seemed to illustrate a right wing audience didn’t take too kindly to finding out one’s political priors without any sign of true change or transition on an ideological scale. And to be perfectly honest, that’s fine, although it does beg the question as to how on earth one got published in The American Mind in the first place. However, as I’ve often noted before, I cannot speak to the behind the scenes and how the sausage gets made because I am not part of that crowd at all whatsoever. I’m merely an outsider, living in the middle of nowhere, just making some observations. However, what good does it serve any kind of conservatism (a word I use very sparingly) if we’re nothing more than the post-structuralists, communists, and disaffected leftists of the world? We’ve got a tradition that goes much further than the twentieth and nineteenth centuries, or does that label one with the boogeyman title of “reactionary?”

Looking On

Does this little episode have what some might call a “teachable moment”? Most assuredly. I think it raises more questions than it answers though. How much sway does the amalgamation of anons and other dissidents have in regards to influencing larger publications and individuals? Well, certainly more than my amphibious ass but nevertheless it’s worth asking. Do certain publications have a tendency to publish individuals whose views are anathema to those on the right? Yeah. Do we need to hear them? Yes, from time to time. One however, should take away one key thing, and that’s not to be discouraged, (both anons and Mrs. Colby) but neither should have to contort themselves to get the approval of the sides that are against them with such vitriol based on behavior or past politics.

Does this mean we’re going to see more inquisitions, groypings, and purity spirals? Probably, it depends on how many former leftists or even current leftists keep getting published in mainstream conservative publications. Nevertheless, this little episode shows the determination that online right, frog twitter, etc., will do to defend their influence and point out what they believe to be bad actors. While the space was humorous, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more things like this happen in the future. As for the next person who has their former tweets and politics hastily brought up on display for questioning. I hope you have better answers, or know where and when to engage.

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