Credit Image: Science Museum Group’s Welcome blog post
Travis LeBlanc has been writing essays for Counter-Currents since early 2018, covering everything from goofy internet drama, to rockstar Steve Morrissey, to the TV show South Park. Mr. LeBlanc is a committed white advocate, but often analyzes political and cultural subcultures most of the Dissident Right ignores.
Chris Roberts: You’re best known for writing about Bernie Bros — and you do so with great insight. In March, you wrote:
The fate of the Bernie Left is one of the great wild cards in the political landscape and there are a few different ways it can play out. Do they “get with the program” and fall in line behind Biden? Do they defect to the Right? I’ve even seen some Leftists who, blackpilled on Marxism, have pondered whether or not class-conscious Tucker Carlson-style populism might be the closest to socialism they can realistically hope for. Or do they not “get with the program,” not go Right, and remain internal opposition on the Left? . . .
Do you have an answer for the “question”? I’m surprised that they seem to have fallen in line with the Democrat Party mainstream.
Travis LeBlanc: Too early to tell. There are a lot of variables at play. Part of it depends on what the Republicans do. Part depends on what the Democrats do. We don’t know if Biden will complete his term. We don’t know who will be Bernie’s successor or even if there is one. AOC would be the obvious choice, but the base has a lot of mixed feelings about her and she’s not old enough to run for president yet.
As far as the online Left, a big factor is social media censorship and whether or not Big Tech moves in on the “unwoke Left” next. They have just about run out of white nationalists to ban and the only people left are controlled opposition and people with superlative optics and even those people are probably on borrowed time. There is now a cottage industry of people whose job it is to find people online to deplatform. It’s how they put food on the table. I don’t think those people will ever get to a point where they say “Well, that’s it. All the racists are gone. We can go home now.” because then they would be unemployed and might be forced to go and do something productive. They will find new threats to democracy. Maybe they will make denying white privilege or denying that the country is white supremacist a bannable offense. Or maybe they will declare certain kinds of criticisms of Zionism to be antisemitic. Or maybe they will say “This person has a lot of racist fans so there must be something wrong with them.” They will figure out something.
One thing you have to understand is that there is an absolute ton of money in being a commie. Chapo Trap House makes $170,000 a month on their Patreon alone. Hell, if you offered me $170,000 a month to be a commie, I would probably do it. I could donate half of it to white nationalist outlets and still be making a pretty good living. So even if one of those Chapo guys got redpilled tomorrow, they would still have a huge financial disincentive to follow their newly-found beliefs. But if Big Tech came in, started deplatforming them and kicking them off Patreon, who knows what would happen?
There are some people on the Left that I have suspected of being secretly redpilled or semi-redpilled and I suspect that because they conspicuously never attack our side.
CR: BernieBros have demographics on their side. The old white Democrats who push the party to the center are dying out. Asians and Hispanics (two groups that favored Bernie Sanders in 2020) are the fastest growing races in the US. Does that mean Bernie Sanders will have his revenge on the Democrat Party?
TL: No, they do not have demographics on their side.
There are three kinds of people who get into socialism. White people (i.e. people who are not allowed to have a racial identity), mixed race people (i.e. people who do not have a coherent racial identity), and a smattering of low-ethnocentric Jews (i.e. people who reject their racial identity). Of the statistically insignificant number of honest-to-God POC who get into socialism, half of them are just in it to try to bang white chicks and the other half get into because they think socialism is what would be best for their group. In other words, they get into socialism for identitarian reasons. Granted, I think most white people get into socialism for identitarian reasons too but POC socialists tend to be less in denial about it.
I think it is a mistake to say “Look at all these POC voting for Bernie! That means POC are getting into socialism!” Yeah, I doubt that. I think most of them just liked the cut of Bernie’s jib. Nothing to do with ideology. Look, I used to live in a Hispanic neighborhood in AOC’s congressional district and I highly and I mean highly doubt that anyone in my neighborhood could explain to you what the hell the Labor Theory of Value is.
People made the same flawed assumption with Trump in 2016. Trump came out with this quasi-white nationalist platform and everyone said “Look at all these white people voting for Trump! This means whites are turning identitarian!” And sure, a lot of whites were and still are. But the vast majority of Trump voters continued to cheer him on with equal if not greater intensity as he proceeded to break almost all of his most pro-white campaign promises. In the end, it turned out that most of them just liked the cut of Trump’s jib. I wouldn’t read too much into Bernie’s support among POC. It could mean a lot of different things other than they are adopting a socialist worldview. Maybe they liked that Bernie was an outsider. Maybe they thought everyone else sucked. Or maybe they just liked the cut of his jib. I mean, show me the Spanish-language Bernie Bro podcasts. If there are all these Hispanics going socialists, there should at least be a couple. Maybe there are some out there. Who knows? The internet is a big place. But I don’t think there are any real consequence out there or else you know that the whole Chapo Trap House crowd would be plugging the hell out of it.
Now, one thing the DSA does is that they will cynically leverage identity to win elections. They will find a majority POC area with a white incumbent who has been in office since forever and recruit some POC to run against them and sometimes that person will win for reasons entirely related to identity. So on the surface it might look like socialist ideas are taking hold in POC communities but they are really not.
If you really get down in the weeds as to what these socialists believe, they want no one to have an ethnic identity and for everyone to think of themselves as just a generic homo sapien. I don’t think that is something most POC want. Most POC like having an identity. Whites don’t like having an identity because their identity is demonized. This is why I say that white people get into socialism for identitarian reasons. White socialists are like “Well, if I can’t have an identity, NO ONE CAN!!!”
I once wrote an article called “Chapo Trap House is Too White Even for Me (and I’m a White Supremacist)” which I thought was a funny title but I was only half joking. I really do believe that Democratic Socialism is whiter than white nationalism. See, other races will practice racial nationalism but this whole notion of “I consider my in-group to be the entire human race” is the kind of retarded crap that you only ever hear white people say.
TL: The Left is already pretty fractured. On the surface, you might look at the Left and all you see is just a bunch of commies. The Left does the same thing to us. They look at at the Right and all they see is a bunch of Nazis. The average liberal probably could not explain the ideological differences between Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer. They would just look at two of them and think that for all intents and purposes that they are the same person. But if you actually wade into the Left, there are actually a lot of different factions and they don’t all like each other. The Dirtbag Left podcasters don’t like Breadtubers. Antifa doesn’t like the Dirtbag Left. There are varying degrees of wokeness. Woke Marxists think the classical class-first Marxist are basically conservatives. Class reductionists think the woke Marxists are basically liberals.
Purity spiraling is actually a lot worse on the socialist Left than it is in the Dissident Right. If anything, it is too hard to cancel people in the Dissident Right. There are people we have been trying to cancel for years and we can’t. No matter how hard we try to cancel them, they just won’t go away.
The thing about the Left cancelling each other is that a lot of the time, the people they cancel are the ones who have the most crossover appeal to people outside the traditional Leftist archetype. If you look at people like Matt Taibbi, Aimee Terese, Angela Nagle, Anna Khachiyan, Glenn Greenwald, or Michael Tracey, they have significant cult followings on the Right and yet they are utterly despised by large segments of the Left. Now, you would think that the Left would want to keep those people around to act as gateways. Like we might get annoyed at Stephan Molyneaux or Alex Jones for not going hard enough on X, Y, and Z but we tolerate them because they are proven gateways. A lot of people start off with them and move on to more “hardcore” content. The Left does not think like that. They seem hellbent on depriving themselves of any potential gateways.
You linked to my article about Socialism Done Left. The issue with that guy (I’m not sure if he identifies as a “guy.” Sorry if you are reading, SDL) is that he made being woke and anti-racist central to his brand so when some edgy racial humor from a few years ago was unearthed, it was all the more damaging. A Leftist for whom being “unwoke” was part of their shtick would have been able to weather that storm better.
The Leftist cancellation that really took me by surprise was Antifash Gordon. I’m glad he was cancelled but when it happened I was like, “Why on Earth would they do that?” He was one of antifa’s most effective operatives, had doxxed hundreds of people and then he was disavowed over some stuff a lot of which didn’t seem all that severe to me. But then again, antifa has a different value system than we do. I’m willing to overlook some personality flaws if someone gets good results but antifa believed Antifash Gordon’s results were not worth the “toxicity” he brought to their community. He was harshing their mellow.
Now, if you’re conspiratorially-minded and believe that antifa is a fed operation, I have heard speculation that with Trump gone, antifa has outlived their usefulness and are now being “demobilized”. I think the establishment has been getting diminishing returns on antifa. They had become a useful propaganda boogeyman for the GOP. On top of that, they had pretty much run out of white nationalists to doxx and were now going after fairly normal Trump supporters who maybe had a friend in the Proud Boys. When people first learned of the existence of antifa, they thought “Oh, they’re against fascism? Well, good for them!” But when you consider who they consider “fascist,” it’s literally everyone.
CR: Another topic you’ve covered in some detail is QAnon. Do you have any idea where all the energy behind that movement will go?
TL: That’s a tough one because of all the people on the political landscape, QAnon types are the people that I understand the least. With liberals, libertarians, normie conservatives, communists or whoever, I can usually understand their motivations and how someone might have arrived at where they are but QAnon people really throw me for a loop. QAnon is basically a quasi-religion. I don’t think QAnon can really be understood in ideological terms. It’s like trying to understand the people at Jonestown and how they thought drinking the Kool-Aid was a sensible thing to do. I can’t put myself in that headspace. That sort of thing is beyond my comprehension.
Where will the energy go? I’m not sure. I don’t see how anyone could go from “our elites are blood-drinking Satanic pedophiles” back to voting for Mitt Romney. I don’t see many coming over to our side either. Some will just become disillusioned with politics altogether. But the rest?
I honestly think QAnon will keep going but will be constantly shapeshifting. In my experience, nothing can shake these people of their conviction. Not Biden being inaugurated. Not Trump conceding. Nothing. QAnon has this knack for taking whatever new information or event that comes along and just incorporating it into their existing narrative. When good things happen, that’s “The Plan” unfolding. When bad things happen, don’t worry, that’s 4-D chess. I see no reason why they can’t just keep doing that forever. It may never have the same level of energy it once had but I think it is going to be a fixture for the foreseeable future. Where else are they going to go? The only alternatives are white nationalism and going back to the neocon plantation. I don’t see them doing either one.
CR: A big part of the charm of your writing is its conversational style and amusing asides. Example: “Everyone thinks they have the worst blacks. In a way, they are all right.” For most of us on the dissident right, our influences are intellectuals such as Charles Murray and Michael Levin. It shows in our prose. Who are your major influences?
TL: My favorite writers are Oscar Wilde and Raymond Chandler. I like the old Victorian wits like Wilde, Shaw, and Chesterton. My sense of humor is very informed by the English. I grew up on Benny Hill and Monty Python. I also like the kind of loose street smart lingo you hear in old 1930s movies. What I aim for is a mix of sharp English wit with a sort of American looseness.
But all this is very intuitive and not conscious. It’s not like I am constantly asking myself “What would Oscar Wilde say about this?” Sometimes it is hard to distinguish what is an influence from what is an inspiration. Perhaps Person X is influencing me or perhaps I gravitated to Person X in the first place because I recognized something about them that was already within me. There is a writer that has come out in the last year or so and the first time I read them, I thought “Man, this guy sounds like me.” And I am pretty sure this guy is aware of my existence. But that doesn’t mean I think this guy is ripping me off. It’s probably more likely that he saw my writing and thought “This guy has a similar sense of humor to mine. If he can do it, so can I.”
Again, it’s all very intuitive. Some of the stuff I write, I have no idea where it comes from. I will sometimes read old stuff I wrote and think “How did I come up with that?” My talent is a mystery to me. I’m actually just as curious to find out what I am going to say next as everyone else.
In terms of style, I write the way people talk. Something when people meet me IRL after only having known me from online (or vice versa), they will say “you talk exactly the way you write.” Another guy who writes the way people talk is Andrew Anglin of The Daily Stormer. When you read his stuff, it feels like you are in the room with him. David Cole also writes the way people talk.
In writing, flow is very important to me. I mumble to myself all the time and people think I’m crazy when they see me do it but that’s when I am writing. I’m making sure the words flow right. Sometimes I might say “going to.” Sometimes I might say “gonna.” Each has a different flow to it. Or “maybe” and “perhaps.” “Perhaps” has a more percussive quality while “maybe” is more legato. Which one I use depends on which one flows better within the context of the sentence. It’s all about cadence. If you are writing with cadence, you should hear a voice in your head as you read it. Like David Cole. When I read David Cole, I hear his voice in my head as I read it.
I’m not sure how much of these nuances actually survive the editing process. I don’t read my work after sending it in. I learned long ago that being edited sucks and it will always piss you off. It will never not piss you off. Even changing one word can disrupt the rhythm of a sentence. I’m quite autistic about things like that. Most people probably wouldn’t even notice the difference but I notice, damn it! So I don’t look at the finished product after sending it in. I’m just happy to be published.
CR: You recently started writing about film. Just about every American spends a lot of time streaming movies and TV shows, and yet it’s often hard to find anything worth watching. Could you recommend a few things?
TL: Kevin Brownlow’s documentary series Hollywood. The 1960 BBC series The Great War. If you’ve never seen Sunrise – Song of Two Humans, you have to. I like 1930s movies. Shanghai Express, The Petrified Forest, and There’s Always a Woman. I have a soft spot for Red Dust. There’s too many to mention. I don’t think Cary Grant ever made a bad movie. Pick one of his at random and you will probably enjoy it.
I don’t like recommending movies to people because then if someone watches it on my say-so and doesn’t like it, I am now responsible for wasting however many minutes of their life. So let me add a disclaimer. Buyer beware: I have terrible taste in everything.
CR: In your story of racial awakening, you ended with, “It wasn’t until I discovered race realism and the writings of John Derbyshire that it started to dawn on me just how hopeless the race situation really was. This was around 2004. Now here I am.” However, your byline didn’t appear until recently. How did you keep yourself sane between 2004 and 2016?
TL: Who ever said I was sane?
CR: In private, how do you talk about race? Do your neighbors and colleagues have any idea what you really think? How do you approach normies about race?
TL: I don’t talk to my co-workers at all. Or at least not any more than I have to. I have an odd sense of humor which has gotten me in a lot of trouble in the past. When I look at my co-workers, all I see is landmines. Or sometimes I might befriend a co-worker and then find out later that they are a sociopath. Then I have to keep being friendly with them because if they suspect that I know that they are a sociopath, they will try to ruin my life. I think Sartre was on to something when he said that Hell is other people.
I have always been open about my views on my normie social media. Before I started doing “serious” writing, I spent a couple years using my normie Facebook as a one-man Daily Stormer. I would post articles and give my own commentary about it. I got very little engagement but I knew people lurked because if my logic was ever less than 100 percent airtight or if I failed to preemptively address certain arguments, some idiot who never engaged with me would come out of nowhere, jump in the comments and tell me so. Or sometimes I would see a post from one of my friends that sounded like something I said got the hamster in their head running around in his little hamster wheel.
There are reasons very specific to me that I am able to “get away” with it. I was already known as something of an eccentric. There was a time when I had been an open white nationalist for a couple years and there were still some people I knew who weren’t certain if I was joking or not. They thought it might have been some comedy bit I was doing.
I generally have a higher-than-average threshold for social disapproval. I can handle being a social pariah for a few years. Time will exonerate me. Someday, they will understand. They might not ever agree with me but they will understand.
CR: Do you have any final thoughts?
TL: Instead of a final thought, I will give you a random thought. Black people are like French art films with subtitles: no one actually likes them but people think they look smart pretending to.
CR: Free advice?
TL: Don’t take yourself very seriously but be serious about what you do. A lot of people in this movement do it the other way around.