Keith Preston and the "King of Conspiracy" 2

by Steven Saragian

Our Glenn Beck?: http://www.alternativeright.com/main/blogs/zeitgeist/our-glenn-beck/

Recently Keith Preston of AttackTheSystem.com authored an article on the Austin radio show host and documentary film maker Alex Jones. As a fellow, for lack of a better term, Conservative Anarchist that has actually been involved with what, for the lack of a better term, we will call the “Conspiracy Community” I would feel remiss if I did not give my comment.

The first aspect of Mr Preston’s analysis that I would like to address is that of Mr Jones as an intellectual, namely that he is not an intellectual. This I would not contest and, I would be bold enough to guess, Jones himself would not deny this. In fact he has said as much in the past. Preston rightly notes the telling statement by Jones that “If the globalists are for it, we have to be against it.” A statement which exemplifies the approach he takes to his work. He is an reactionary in the most literal sense of the word, Jones has the intellectual weakness of allowing his enemies (or perceived enemies) to set the permitters for battle. That being said, the only right-wing intellectual with a radio show (of a political nature) that I am aware of is Tom Sunic, so this fact should not bother us.

Yet, I would contest what Preston asserts about Jones’s fans based on this fact is not accurate, not logically or empirically. I am referring to the idea that intellectual discussions are of no interest to Jones fans, or even that they are incapable of understanding such arguments. Within any cross section of a society you will find great differences in intellectual ability, as well as other abilities. I can only comment on what I has seen in my own region (New England), but I would say that Preston and myself are in agreement that Jones is popular with a large cross section of society. To quote Preston:

We know that most people are not capable of being intellectuals, and that most people are indeed more motivated by habit, custom, myth, cues taken from peers and perceived authority figures, or the norms of their community or culture of origin than by a thoughtful contemplation of ideas. For instance, our discussions of Nietzsche, Evola, Schmitt, Hobbes, Heidegger, or Benoist would no doubt be either uninteresting or incomprehensible to many hard-core Alex Jones fans.

It may be that I misunderstand Preston, so I will try to make myself clear. Firstly that I have met a fare share of Jones fans that attend or are alumni of prestigious colleges in the Boston area. I can assure you that many Jones fans are well versed in the work of Nietzsche, Hobbes, and even Heidegger. I am the only person in these circles that had even the lest bit of interest in more marginal figures like Evola, Schmitt, or Benoist. Still, Benoist never came up in any conversation and I myself had not heard anyone champion the name of Schmitt until I came across Preston’s blog. It is true that many disagree with the methodology Jones often utilizes and sometimes disagree with his interpretation of the facts, but the general view is that he is close enough. After all Preston does not disparage Evola despite Evola’s…let us say, questionable interpretations of notable mystics and theological figures.

It is possible that Preston has a different idea of what qualifies as a “hard-core Alex Jones fan”. What he might be referring to is the breed of Jones Cult members that abound on the web and that can characterize a few found on the street as well. Cult members abound in the contemporary world and a meaningful examination of why lies outside of the purview of this comment. What I will say is that a media figure with the animal magnetism of Jones is going to attract such people regardless of what he talks about. He has a particular power over some do to the fact that he and his show are activist in nature. Jones’s show is geared toward activists and his films are geared toward creating new activists. In this he is among the best of his generation. To his credit Jones works to bring a wide range of anti-authoritarian guests on his show, but I am afraid that nothing Jones could every do would remove the cult like sway of the lower-IQ Alex Jones clones, if you need an example of such a person lookup “The Infowarrior with Jason Bermas”.

On the subject of Alex Jones and the Conspiracy Community I could say many more things, but to constrain myself in this short comment I would like to finish by turning my attention to the community of alternativeright.com. Preston is clearly pandering to his audience. If you would like to see the level of discourse that the typical alt-right reader is capable of you can read the comments denouncing the wife of Alex Jones as a reverse Jezebel. If on the other hand Preston is only speaking of the writers on alt-right he is on a better grounding to speak of intellectual standards. Still, alt-right is far from what I think could be categorized as a site for high-discourse one would expect from an intellectual vanguard. I can not find any articles discussing the differences in metaphysic ideas of Plato and Heidegger. The site focuses on items like Race-IQ difference, a difficult area for leftist to compete. One has to wonder if Preston is simply trying to play into his audience’s own projections that seek to displace on to others there own sense of being marginalized by pretending to be intellectually superior to the general population.

2 comments

  1. Those are some good points. I’m not into Alex Jones (too much fear-mongering) but other conspiracy theorists do attract me. However, it’s very difficult to be taken seriously even as an intellectual dilettante and confess to these conspiracy theory beliefs. So even people attracted to Jones’s message will not stress it if they have the kind of personality that demands they construct their own positions towards issues and not just jump on bandwagons. Nobody wants to work on a nuanced approach to our current condition only to be knocked down with a simple appeal to defend Jones’ rhetoric.

    The problem with conspiracy theorists is that they all believe they have the real conspiracy figured out. Just like ideological fundamentalists, they have no uncertainty and they come to identify with a marginal political position as their activism – instead of *doing things* as their activism.

  2. “Firstly that I have met a fare share of Jones fans that attend or are alumni of prestigious colleges in the Boston area. I can assure you that many Jones fans are well versed in the work of Nietzsche, Hobbes, and even Heidegger.”

    Interesting. Perhaps I was overgeneralizing based on what I heard from the callers into Jones’ program and my perceptions of fans of right-wing talk radio generally.

    “After all Preston does not disparage Evola despite Evola’s…let us say, questionable interpretations of notable mystics and theological figures.”

    Actually, I have criticized Evola on related grounds:
    https://attackthesystem.com/2010/10/jonathan-bowden-on-julius-evola/#comment-8268

    “Preston is clearly pandering to his audience. If you would like to see the level of discourse that the typical alt-right reader is capable of you can read the comments denouncing the wife of Alex Jones as a reverse Jezebel.”

    Point well taken. Believe me. 🙂

    “If on the other hand Preston is only speaking of the writers on alt-right he is on a better grounding to speak of intellectual standards. Still, alt-right is far from what I think could be categorized as a site for high-discourse one would expect from an intellectual vanguard. I can not find any articles discussing the differences in metaphysic ideas of Plato and Heidegger. The site focuses on items like Race-IQ difference, a difficult area for leftist to compete. One has to wonder if Preston is simply trying to play into his audience’s own projections that seek to displace on to others there own sense of being marginalized by pretending to be intellectually superior to the general population.”

    I was speaking more of Richard’s broader project of creating an intellectually independent Right that is not associated with mainstream or official conservatism through projects like AltRight and the Mencken Club, and not of the foaming at the mouth racists who show up in the comments sections and post all sorts of inane stuff.

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