Consuming Our Identity

Thousands of young, mostly White, men and women descended upon a hotel in Baltimore a few weeks ago. They went seeking an expression of who they are, and to unite in the real world, rather than remaining online, where many had met and started to organize.

No, these young people were not identitarians; they were bronies.

Bronies, that oh so millennial phenomenon, of young men who watch and seem to find meaning in a young girl’s television show, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This is but the latest in the market-driven choose-your-own-adventure narrative many young Whites engage in. Bronies are a more extreme, or maybe just more eccentric, version of a widespread consumer behavior. From Dallas Cowboys fans to Apple fanboys to partisans of the Marvel comic-book movies, almost every American engages in some kind of tribal brand loyalty.

But for Whites, especially millennials, choices made in the market have come to define their very being in a way their immediate ancestors would have found perplexing. Take, for examples, the incessant debates of Star Wars vs. Star Trek, or the almost religious devotion to the Harry Potter series, and we begin to see a pattern.

For many of our youth, especially our young men, identity has nothing to do with family, friends, or even nation, but consumption. To the Marxists, this is a sign of “false consciousness,” which subdues and re-channels natural class loyalties, especially amongst the working class, towards frivolities that act as both opiates and profit-making schemes for an oligarchical ruling elite. A classical Marxist reading of our era in this sense would be half right, for the real “false consciousness” is how market mechanisms are used to sublimate the identities of young Whites away from their ethnicity and towards manufactured consumer identities.

Of course, the drive to see one’s identity reflected through consumption is part and parcel of the egalitarian ethic that rules our age. At least amongst Whites, from SWPLs to rednecks, we find a consumption-driven identity that is made possible by the near constant marketing of products as not just utilitarian in nature but as “lifestyle” choices. In this way, what we consume becomes bound to who we think we are, and the prevalence of social media only encourages this, with every man turning into his own marketer.

The leveling mechanisms of the market have been long known to the dissident right. Sam Francis, in a 1991 address “Equality As a Political Weapon,” noted this phenomenon amongst the corporate wing of the ruling elite:

But equality is no less useful for large corporations, which require a nationally homogenized market of consumers that can be manipulated into buying their products and which find abhorrent and dysfunctional the persistence of local variations in their markets caused by smaller, localized competitors or class, ethnic and regional diversities of taste and demand.

That being said, what we see marketed to young Whites in many ways is different than how our system markets to others. From popular entertainment to various products, young minorities are encouraged to “embrace themselves”—so long as that means being a good consumer. But even this de-fanged identity is more than that is allowed for us in the public space.

Becoming who we are will inevitably mean rejecting who the system tells us to be.