We here at Radix are happy to bring you an interview with that noted social media scourge the Duck (or @jokeocracy as he was known on Twitter). His tweets have triggered leftists from the Washington Post to USA Today. In addition to this, he has contributed posts at dissident websites such as Chateau Heartiste. He and Radix’s Hannibal Bateman discuss his recent “Twitter martyrdom,” his thoughts on the platform, the media as well as some of his intellectual influences.
Hannibal Bateman: Could you talk a little about your latest Twitter ban and what you are looking to expose with it?
Duck: I’ve seen a lot of signs that Twitter is planning to purge a wide swath of the alt-right and other pro-Trump populist nationalists. The hashtags that fail to autocomplete were the beginning of it, and there have quietly been suspensions and shadow bannings. I've heard rumors from people I believe that Twitter is internally assembling lists of undesirable accounts for future action against.
Twitter is in a lot of trouble for a lot of reasons (see here), but management is ready to blame "harrassment" and "targeted abuse" and "hate speech" which are actually the only things keeping the platform exciting and relevant.
I suspect that Twitter is going to drop the hammer on thousands of pro-Trump accounts at the same time it banishes the alt-right so they can brand it as "cleaning up hate speech" but it may be timed to disrupt Trump's support before a crucial primary date.
I saw this coming and I didn't want my account to just be disappeared silently in the night. I decided I would go out in style and have fun getting myself suspended. I decided to go for it on a Sunday so I'd have the maximum chance of not being suspended right away, and Twitter firing a group of executives at the same time was an opportune coincidence.
I started tweeting at journalists describing the execution they'll receive at the hands of President Trump, and I asked my followers to nominate journalists for roasting. It went on all day Sunday and into the night, there are a few I missed but I managed to cover most of the journalism-industrial complex with amusing execution fantasies. Technically I didn't actually threaten anyone, I just described their future legal execution at the hands of the Trumperor once the Thousand-Year Trumpenreich commences, but Twitter isn't much for nuance.
They didn't actually suspend me until Twitter support got to the office at 8:40 am Monday. They've since communicated to me in an email that my original 12-hour suspension is permanent and my account will not be restored.
HB: Where do you see the future of online organization for those of us with rather "outre" right opinions? (Or/and is there a future for it at all?)
D: The current social networks are based on advertising revenues and the climate that advertisers want will never be compatible with transgressive opinions. Reddit has the same issue, and so does Facebook.
It's questionable whether a social network can be run under another business model, but I expect advertising revenues will crash even further. I think the future of open discourse is probably a platform that hasn't been invented yet, ideally something distributed and un-censorable could be built.
HB: Do you think the anonymity these platforms lend themselves to is ultimately a boon or a crutch for a movement looking to make actual dents in the media/information complex?
D: It's certainly helpful to be pseudonymous in an age of regular economic defenestration, I'm sure the establishment would prefer if we used real names so it could exact vengeance on us.
The chan culture has adopted norms of complete anonymity which are arguably even better at eliminating the morality signaling that left wing behavior is based on, I wonder if Facebook is so disgustingly full of signaling because of its real name policies? It seems that anonymity is inherently anti-establishment, whatever that establishment may be.
I also think there's a major misconception around anonymity. Many people seem to go by the assumption that anyone anonymous or pseudonymous is just some loser tweeting from his parents basement but in my experience most of the people who zealously guard their true identity do it because they're accomplished people with a lot to lose.
That said, there is certainly a need for some people to be willing to shed their anonymity and assume leadership roles under their own names, and I hope we do see that happen more and more as time passes and people feel like they aren't alone and can find ways to withstand the heat.
HB: How important do you think trolling will continue to be as a way to disrupt the sort of liberal narrative hegemony we've been seeing for so long?
D: Trolling is and has always been a way of speak truth to power and tweaking the establishment. Back in the 60’s trolling was a tool for hippies to attack The Man, and very little has changed since then except the identities of the hippies and of The Man have mostly swapped.
HB: Back in the 60’s there was a radical group of Marxists known as “situationists” who essentially sought to carve out spaces for radical leftist politics in everyday interactions that would send a sort of ideological jolt through spaces. In a way, I think our trolling is doing something similar only from the right. Outside of Twitter, what sort of actions can shitlords take to interrupt these narratives on a day to day basis?
D: I think comedy is an essential aspect of persuasion that is often overlooked by the right, but the times have never been more fertile for right-wing comedy. Comedy is essentially about transgression, and the left has become unable to engage in real transgression anymore given their position as the arbiters of establishment taste.
This leftist abandonment of the field of comedy is a huge opportunity for the right to establish a major front in the culture wars, and right now I think this opportunity is being squandered. The resistance against the Left spends millions of dollars on electing useless candidates and political signaling but those things are downstream from culture. An edgy hard right wing comedy show that pulled zero punches and was done professionally with a real budget would probably have more effect on the national political climate than all the policy papers by all the right-wing think tanks in the world put together.
HB: If going offline is what is needed, what sort of organization do you think is most important?
D: I don't think people should go offline as a replacement for Twitter, I just recommended reaching out in real life and other venues because I think Twitter will soon purge a lot of accounts and I'd hate to see people lose touch with their Twitter friends entirely because of Twitter's cowardice.
HB: Do you think the sort of SJW mob mentality has seen its zenith or will it only get worse from here?
D: It’s going to get much worse, we're in an 1859 type situation here, the polarization of America has rarely been more entrenched. War is coming.
HB: 2015 was a big year for growth in both "alt-right" and "NRx" circles throughout the internet. Do you think we should expect the same in 2016, or will there be a retrenchment?
D: 2016 is going to be the Year of the Shitlord. More and more people are fed up with the current state of our nation's discourse, and I think this year many of the right wing anonymous voices will emerge from the shadows, to put their names behind their words.
I'm personally working on some projects to help make 2016 our finest year, but it's too soon to give any details. In a few months I should have something amazing to announce, so stay tuned to this and other alt-right news sources. I'll make sure it gets covered widely.
HB: How do you see the role of the sort of petty media mandarins we see on social media, from the journalists to various other functionaries? As mere "Outer Party" members disseminating the Cathedral (or Synagogue if you prefer) line or do you think they actually have a more central role to the hegemonic narrative they support?
D: The Cathedral is frightening because it's just a set of blind incentives to signal leftist holiness without anyone actually being in charge of it. It would be a lot more comforting to believe conspiracy theories about a shadowy cabal running the world for their own interests, but the awful truth is that no one is in charge and even the people we view as being on top are mostly unable to materially affect the direction of the leviathan.
Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better, we live in what are possibly the most interesting times in history.
HB: Which journalists or outlets would you love to lose the most legitimacy, and why?
D: Gawker is, of course, the worst, and they seemed to be on the verge of death until this recent investment from a Russian mobster, I mean, oligarch. We call them oligarchs when they have a billion dollars. We'll see what happens there but I guess Nick Denton must be pretty desperate to take that kind of money.
The Buzzfeeds and Voxes of the world are probably the next tier down, but America will never be totally free until the New York Times building is a funeral pyre. It would probably help to drive a few tanks into Harvard Yard while we're at it.
HB: In your opinion, how has the rise of Donald Trump galvanized what has come to be known as the "alt-right" on Twitter?
D: Trump recognized that the white working class had no voice in today's American politics, and he's become a rallying point for everyone who feels that the establishment needs to be torn down. His specific beliefs and policies are for the most part unimportant, he serves as a Schelling point for a deep anti-establishment feeling that has grown strong in the absence of any other permitted outlets to vent that emotion.
I generally support Trump but I don't think he will win the election, I believe the establishment will do anything in its power to prevent his victory. I think the establishment will massively overreach and the blatant theft of the 2016 election could be the trigger for Civil War 2.
HB: What are your thoughts on Trump's retweeting of various "controversial" accounts and how it has affected the media narrative of his campaign and how his supporters see online see him?
D: Trump is playing the media like a master, I've never seen anyone this skilled at trolling. He skillfully manipulates the media into bringing ideas into the Overton Window from the right. Without Trump, no one in this election would be talking about immigration, and he even caused the memes of "alt-right" and "white genocide" to be repeated by major news organizations.
HB: How irrelevant do you see the current crop of media elites on the Right? (I'm thinking NR, the Weekly Standard, and others).
D: They’re still somewhat relevant but they're not actually on the Right, they're just another part of the establishment that helps redirect dissatisfaction into harmless political activity.
HB: If you could exercise the same sort of narrative power over liberal and "cuckservative" journalists as they do over "alt-right" or "NRx" views now, would you? And why if you would?
D: I am a very militant supporter of free speech, but not for communists. I think any sensible society would have communists executed as a clear and present danger to civilization itself. Feminists and other types of cultural marxists are just another kind of communist.
Our nation is a progressive theocracy and I don't believe a nation can exist without a shared myth, so when we tear this one down we'll need something to replace it with, probably some kind of nationalism.
HB: Why did you decide to start an anonymous Twitter?
D: I saw things that happened to various people like Brendan Eich and Justine Sacco and I wanted to comment on these and other situations from an anonymous vantage point. I was also a follower of the terrific @ALLCAPSBRO and wanted to try my hand at anonymous twitter comedy, so I made an account with a duck avatar to try my hand. I never expected to gain so many followers (I had over 9000 when my account was finally suspended forever) and become so popular, but it was a hell of a ride and I enjoyed going out in a blaze of glory like that. It was quite a rush and I feel like I understand the psychology of suicide bombers a little better after that experience.
HB: What have been some of your main intellectual influences? and how did those lead you outside of the mainstream?
D: I was a standard-issue Mises & Rothbard reading anarcho-capitalist libertarian when I first discovered people like Steve Sailer and the late Larry Auster. They led me to the paleocons and via Auster I stumbled on Mencius Moldbug and all of his old books. These days I generally label myself as a neoreactionary but I try to follow a philosophy of "no enemies to the right". We can disagree on a lot but if you're an enemy of the establishment left I want to count you as an ally, right-wing infighting has never served our side well. We can fight after the Left is safely buried.
HB: What has been your biggest surprise since getting into all of this?
D: The number of people who secretly hold non-PC ideas is tremendous, the left presents itself as having a monopoly on ideas but the cracks are showing.
HB: Finally, do you have any advice for aspiring Twitter/internet shitlords out there?
D: We live in a society and a culture that opposes truth, so once you acquire the truth you can't live your life in the same way anymore. What we say matters but what's more important is the example that we set as we 'Live Not By Lies'. A shitlord is a modern dissident and the truth is our greatest weapon.