New video from the Alt-Right playbook explainer series: "Always a Bigger Fish"

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You thought Stranger Things was scary.


Nice video. I just had a thought though: what if, instead of congratulating yourself on how much you understand where “conservatives” are coming from (i.e. apologizing for them, in far more generous terms than they are able to do for themselves), how about following your own argument to its conclusion?

If the “conservative” position is that it’s human nature for the strong to subjugate the weak, that is an argument for more solidarity, not less. The fact that it’s natural to get snowed on in winter is precisely why we build warm houses, rather than asking nicely for summer to stick around.

In fact, right-wingers themselves are well aware that their worldview argues for solidarity; it’s just that they favor narrower, more selfish forms of solidarity (like, white Christians sticking together). In a sense, they’re simply socialists who lack the insight and/or empathy to follow that line of thought to the point of including everyone, which is what you need to do to make it morally valid.

IMO we have all invested far, far, far too much time in trying to understand the right already. When you look at Turmp or Fox News, do you really think what you’re seeing is all that complicated?



I finally have a solid block of afternoon time to get this huge backlog of work done! I’ll just check boingboing… huh… a whole series on the alt-right…

(5 hours later) oh shit, I’ll never get this work done!


I end up agreeing/disagreeing both ends of the political spectrum. Liberals think I’m a conservative, conservatives think I’m a liberal. Part of that is probably due to my contrarian streak. Both ends have more goals in common than they want to admit, but can’t agree on how to achieve it. But there’s one area in common that irritates me: caricaturing the other side. This video does it to a tee.

First, don’t confuse Alt-Right with conservatives. Most conservatives are regular people. Alt-Right people are batshit crazy. They share some common traits and superficially may even look alike. Think dogs vs wolves.

The video get’s close to some truths, but ends up extrapolating a bit too much. Conservatives don’t directly support hierarchy. Hierarchy is a result of something they do tend to support, which is motivation to improve one’s lot in life. Potato/potatoe in a way. You see that in the arguments about equal outcome. The video is close in saying they worry about a reshuffling of the hierarchy. Some really do worry about become second class to make room for others. More often, it’s a feeling that they earned where they got and why should the rules change so someone who didn’t earn it gets the same lot in life.

Ignore some of the paradoxes that implies. You can point them out all you want, it won’t fix anything. The point is if you can understand someone better and avoid caricaturing them, you can find common ground and fix the problem you both see.

Take college education. Conservatives have no problem with more people going to college. They support it as a way to earn your way upwards. The question of “how are we going to pay for it?” is a sincere question. And higher taxes is a sincere answer. But if you say “tax the rich,” that comes to across them as not very well thought out. So dialog goes nowhere.

Folks, we need more than bumper sticker solutions for societies problems. Time to have real discussions.

Ok, so if everyone wants to support higher education, what do we do? Take a step back. Why do we want to support higher education? Both ends agree more education is better. Liberals are right to insist we help people out of poverty. Conservatives are right to insist it be economically sound. Ok, time to be hard headed and figure out an economically sound way to help as many people as possible. Raising taxes, restricting eligible majors, encouraging enrollment at cheaper colleges, online classes, forgivable loans, etc, etc. Throw it all on the table, crank the numbers, and figure out how to grow the economic pie by helping people go to college.

No one will be 100% satisfied. There’s a word for this kind of solution. Co … compr … wow, it’s been so long since we’ve seen it, we can’t even remember it.

That mystery word takes dialog and trust. But instead, both ends are focused on ridiculing and shaming the other to gain leverage. Meanwhile, jack #### gets done.


Disagree about the motivation vs. hierarchy argument. The realistic progressives I know - the people who aren’t just as batshit as the alt right - do also believe people should be motivated; but they don’t believe in the rightness or goodness of hierarchy: at best it’s a means to an end.

The painting of hierarchy as necessary to motivation is a justification used by people who are drawn to conservatism but not totally comfortable at an intellectual level with the implication that hierarchy is an inherent good and the strong should dominate the weak.


It’s interesting to see a video about this because it’s something I’ve been chewing over myself since Trump got into office, but I hadn’t seen anyone else putting this viewpoint forward.


Those aren’t the same - they are actually contradictory. When a person improves their lot in life they, by definition, upset the existing hierarchy.

You are assuming something that isn’t the case. It was liberals who had to fight to allow blacks and other minorities into higher education, and education period. It was liberals who had to fight to allow blacks into all-white neighborhoods. It wasn’t the alt-right (or whatever the equivalent back then was) - it was mainstream conservative thinking that did these.

The difference between liberal and mainstream conservative thinking isn’t merely a fiscal issue. Trump’s election and aftermath showed that the David Frum wing of the Republican Party is insignificant.


Yeah, it’s kind of hard to pin down what people think of hierarchy. I get the feeling that conservatives also have a love/hate relationship with it. They tend to reject the implications of hierarchy (i.e. someone is my better) same as liberals. But accept the consequences of it more easily as a means to an end. And maybe that’s the distinction I’m grasping at. They accept it as a necessary downside even if they don’t support it. And maybe not so much strong dominating over weak as superior/inferior.

I started to write a counter example to your thought that conservatives think that the strong should dominate over the weak when it dawned on me that you are right, but maybe not quite the way you think. Conservatives don’t like the idea of strong dominating over weak any more than anyone else. But they do think good people should be in charge, not bad people. And it’s kind of hard to argue against that. However, conservatives, like everyone, define good people as those people that follow “the rules.” Accepting universal rules and who is following them is where it gets ugly.

And I agree that since Trump, the hierarchy stuff is highlighted. It might be one (of many) distinguishing features of Trumpism vs conservatism. But I digress. Regardless, we should be trying to figure out how to understand (not necessary agree or even like) each other instead of caricature each other.

I see the current them vs us going back 4 decades. I don’t want this to be a discussion of abortion, but I think that’s where it started. Each side was so diametrically opposed that it caricatured the other in order to get just a little more leverage. Not that Americans weren’t a factious bunch forever. But that seems to be the start of the never compromise split.

And the more I think about liberals and conservatives, the more I see what they have in common. It really is a lot.


That’s weird I just discovered Innuendo Studios a few days ago.

The value in this playbook series is not to gain understanding into their thinking.
It’s to identify when someone is using these techniques.

What we are dealing with is Propaganda by script kiddies.


Most conservatives have been putting alt-right candidates in office for about 7 years, and the most successful conservative pundits explicitly support a hierarchy and not what it represents. Normal people conservatives have been choosing to tie themselves to that, and not pushing it away. It’s literally who the people the video references.

There’s even a lot of detail given to the argument that is the main crux of the argument in conservative media.


Well, where did it start? Roe V. Wade? How about the Great society? The Voting rights Act? The New Deal? The Progressive era? The abolitionists and the Civil War? How about Hamilton’s vision of the United States verses Jeffersonian Yeoman farmer political economy?

There has always been a massive divide in the U.S., I think it began with the political economy of the southern slave plantation economy verses the northern industrializing and finance political economy. The move westward just set up a fight in every region about which paradigm to follow.

We were set up from the start.

I think the situation we’re in now is the southern political ideology has moved in politically while the northern finance monster has moved in economically. All the strife is the result of this unstable abomination.


Great video, and thanks for introducing me to them! It seems to me that a big political conflict is not simply between egalitarianism (points on a line graphic) and hierarchy (the triangle graphic), but between political egalitarianism (we all vote) and social/economic hierarchy (some are richer and more privileged than others), and also between a steep pointy soc/econ triangle and a shallower, flatter soc/econ triangle.
In the days when America was (supposedly) Great, we had a shallow triangle. But the triangle, shallow as it was, was highly segregated by race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, and more.
Many Democrats today want the un-segregated version of that mid-century shallow triangle; i.e., high marginal tax rates, larger government relative to private funding and spending, and strict regulation (especially banking). Also elimination of voting restrictions. I admit I kind of like that, which is why I’m a Democrat. Areas where government spending should be increased (and those marginal tax rates concomitantly raised to pay for it) is infrastructure, health care, and regulation.
And, yes - of course, we should go back to strict separation between commercial banking and investment banking. My god, Bill Clinton, that was a disaster.
But there is a whole other thing going on today, which is the drive to redistribute social capital. In other words, whether an individual is highly regarded or not should not be determined only by those high in the social/economic hierarchy. Used to be, if someone high up was shamed and lost social capital, their redress would be pretty easy – a nice apology, some time, maybe the minimizing of their sin or the spreading of blame to victims or society. The effort now is to make that much harder, if not impossible. Also, social capital is being handed out to people based on their prior lack of it – POCs, gender nonconformists, the poor, immigrants. The intended effect is a flattened triangle of social capital, without regard to money at all. Interesting!

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I wonder if there is anything like this video, but done by conservatives


The bit about Jordon Peterson in this made me nearly spit out my drink. A cheap shot but I Love it.


Those are not the ends of the spectrum.

a) Liberalism is a centre-right ideology.

b) The modern GOP is not a conservative party.


I remember when I had my first job and my folks tried to fire me up with the idea that some of my check goes to lazy people. It did upset me, though not the way they intended, because I knew a close friend of mine depended on such benefits. Something felt kind of bloodthirsty about their catharsis and it really put me off; as well as being a big teaching moment.

I think the right tend to be more individualist thinkers. Rather than thinking in systems and hierarchy, they think that people just need to ‘straighten up’. I think one of the reasons they so boldly claim they’re not racist is that they do believe anyone can succeed regardless of position. So if someone from minority X makes it (i.e. ‘One of the good ones’), that must mean the rest are lazy, morally lacking, etc. This allows them to maintain their worldview and act so callous toward those in disadvantaged positions.

That moment with my parents taught me a lot over the years. It won’t help to argue that having less poor people makes for a better country for all because that’s not how they think. If people are poor it’s because they made poor life choices, and the idea of them getting a ‘free ride’ upsets them way more than having more people suffer; if I had to struggle than so should you.


An interesting talk by Ian Danskin on how he goes about structuring his essays.