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Eagles of Death Metal Go Alt Right

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Back in 2010, I, along with my friend Alex Knepper, wrote about the prospective rise of the Alternative Right movement – a political organization of well dressed and well presented white supremacist who bring all of the hate, free of swastikas, shaved heads or all the usual turn offs of that ideology.

Alex’s article is up still at Frum Forum, a website of former Bush advisor David Frum. As one friend told me, I not only was right but more right than I thought I’d be about all of this. The world is changing very fast and it would take a profound change in human nature for the response to that change not to include a bit of reaction.

It’s much worse that I thought it would ever be. The forthcoming nominee of the Republican party blatantly flirts with white nationalists on his Twitter account, retweeting their material with abandon and refusing to condemn when pressed on it. Jesse Hughes, the lead singer of Eagles of Death Metal, who survived the Paris attack by ISIS terrorists, took a clear turn for the right after that attack – saying that French gun control laws made the attack worse. It’s apparently worse than that – he gleefully did a recentinterview with Taki’s Mag, a prominent white nationalist magazine with direct ties to the Alternative Right movement. Prominent white supremacist Richard Spencer was an editor there. Apparently he now supports Donald Trump too.

My mom was in France during the Paris attack. I have very serious anxiety issues – something that I had to keep a lid on during that event. Like Jesse, I have also seen death up close – my fiancĂ© passed away from a mix of anorexia and drug use. Unlike Jesse, I am not ignorant and looking for the easiest explanation of my fear of a twisted, complex world.

To look at white supremacists as the solution to the threat of Islamic fundamentalism takes some serious leaps of ignorance. In only recent years, David Duke, a white supremacist who obtained notoriety because of his endorsement of Donald Trump, was campaigning with Muslim radicals about "the Jewish threat" and in Syria,no less. Adolf Hitler invited the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem as a guest on numerous occasions. If white supremacists are now freaking out about Islamic fundamentalism, that’s only because they see an opening for the fear that brings people like them to power.

In the interview, Hughes relives some of the horror he witnessed. It is hard not to empathize as he describes witnessing the horror he did. I have no interest in defending Islamic terrorists – maybe some on the Left do – but if Hughes’ trauma is going to lead him to some place like Taki’s mag, I can’t help but wonder if he thinks he would have gotten the same warm reception from Taki’s if, for instance, he had survived the 2011 terror attack in Norway by Anders Brevik, a nationalist terrorist in Norway who killed pretty close to the same number of people as the Muslim terrorists Hughes witnessed? In addition, he seems to cling to guns as an answer - would he still do that if it had been an explosion that he had witnessed, one detonated quickly before anyone could reach for a firearm?

Hughes’ interviews are classic reaction. He has been dropped from festival shows as a result of his comments, which included an accusation that the venue itself was in on the attack. He admits that he has been plagued with non-stop nightmares, something I can certainly relate to. It makes sense to him and it makes sense he’d be that way. He wants something more concrete than Muslim terrorists, who were killed and are being killed, to blame things on. Nevertheless, it's "cathartic" for him, as the writer says and Taki's is willing to talk bluntly about this, something he desires, whereas either out of political correctness or a deeper fear, the mainstream media never would.

Reactionary politics is usually a boisterous response to fear. One friend I discussed this with said that Hughes wants answers and, in the face of horror, bigots are the only ones willing to have the conversation he wants to have. We don't really discuss the existence of jihadists openly - perhaps out of fear of what questions it would raise about ourselves. The combination of both fear and ignorance is at such a fever pitch in American society that many could end up like Hughes – looking for the easiest answers available because it’s simply easier to digest. Be wary of where that could lead us.


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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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