This is professional provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and co-author Allum Bokhari:
Just as the kids of the 60s shocked their parents with promiscuity, long hair and rock’n’roll, so too do the alt-right’s young meme brigades shock older generations with outrageous caricatures, from the Jewish "Shlomo Shekelburg" to "Remove Kebab," an internet in-joke about the Bosnian genocide. Are they actually bigots? No more than death metal devotees in the 80s were actually Satanists. For them, it’s simply a means to fluster their grandparents … Young people perhaps aren’t primarily attracted to the alt-right because they’re instinctively drawn to its ideology: they’re drawn to it because it seems fresh, daring and funny, while the doctrines of their parents and grandparents seem unexciting, overly-controlling and overly-serious.And the internet monarchist who calls himself Mencius Moldbug:
If you spend 75 years building a pseudo-religion around anything – an ethnic group, a plaster saint, sexual chastity or the Flying Spaghetti Monster – don’t be surprised when clever 19-year-olds discover that insulting it is now the funniest f***ing thing in the world. Because it is.This is also my impression; when the main piety impressed on young people is tolerance, many young rebels will flout their impiety through stereotyping. Racist and sexist jokes have become the new blasphemy.
On the other hand this sort of thing can have real world effects. Consider Gamergate, which erupted when some women who work in the video gaming industry complained online about sexism in the gaming world. This produced an outpouring of abuse from young male gamers who were basically just mad that feminists had invaded their playground. The controversy was not really resolved, but the angry male gamers never backed down and that feels like a victory to some of them. Yiannopoulos:
GamerGate is remarkable — and attracts the interest of people like me — because it represents perhaps the first time in the last decade or more that a significant incursion has been made in the culture wars against guilt-mongerers, nannies, authoritarians and far-Left agitators.So the anger of these "racists" and "sexists" is not really directed toward blacks and women, but toward scolds who don't find their ranting funny. But where does telling racist jokes blend over into racism? If the anti-feminism of gamer culture makes it hard for female designers to do their jobs, "boys will be boys" may not be much of a comfort to them. As for the racism of American police, we all know where that leads.
There is, I believe, nothing more important in our society than tolerance; a diverse nation cannot be fair to its people without a very large dose of it. And yet purity is an impossible demand, in tolerance as in anything else. The harder we try to teach tolerance, the harder certain contrarians will push back, and the more delight young rebels will take in mocking its pieties.
There is no simple, absolute solution to this conundrum any more than there is to most deep problems. Freedom means nothing if it does not include the freedom to give offense; and yet no society will be worth living in if all we do is go around offending each other. We all have to strive for balance, in our own actions and in our reactions to provocateurs. We must work hard to draw lines between what we can wave off, which to me is the vast mass of all this online nonsense, and what we need call out and oppose. We need more equanimity, less in-the-moment anger or excitement, more real tolerance of different kinds of people and less outrage at anyone who disagrees with us. In the words of my favorite Old English poem,
Þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg.
That passed, and so will this.