I Was Never Red-Pilled: The Case Against the Metaphor

Those on the alt-right often talk about being “red pilled.” Although the term is popular in our circles, I was surprised to see that the concept even has its own Wikipedia page, which refers to the choice between “embracing the sometimes-painful truth of reality (red pill) and the blissful ignorance of illusion (blue pill).”

I’ve always instinctively hated this analogy. Recently, I’ve begun to think about why and have come to realize that it concedes way too much to the conventional wisdom. More importantly, I think that it is bad marketing, and would urge that we stop using the phrase altogether.

First of all, to say one has been red pilled means that the alternative, the blue pill, has some plausibility. One never says “I used to expect free ice cream in the mail every day, but now I’ve been red pilled and accept that’s never going to happen.” It’s an absurd statement, because if you ever believed such a thing there is something wrong with you.

As long as I have given any thought to these issues, I cannot recall ever believing that all races and both sexes are genetically interchangeable. Every native Norwegian looks completely different from every Congolese, and neither would ever be mistaken for a Korean. Somehow, we are to believe that these isolated populations, that bred only with one another for thousands of years and diverged so much physically, are exactly the same on the inside. It’s an absurd assumption, even before you get to data on things such as crime rates and IQ and look at the record of historical achievement.

Blank slate feminism is even more absurd. We are supposed to accept the idea that humans are the only mammalian species without behavioral differences between the two sexes, and believe this despite all lived experience and the logic of evolutionary psychology. Just as in the case of race, you do not have to delve into the scientific literature about sex differences (although you should anyway) to understand the absurdity of elite wisdom.

The other thing that the red pill analogy concedes to liberalism is the idea that its vision is somehow appealing. I find a world where there are no behavioral differences between my mother and father, son or daughter, horrifying. I’ve overheard women brainwashed by Sex and the City talk openly of sleeping around, and found nothing appealing about this. Similarly, the denial of IQ and other hereditary differences between individuals and races tells us that every human accomplishment owes nothing to the inherent capabilities of the great creators, but only to historical accident, which some time long ago determined that some groups would be advantaged while others would be oppressed. Little wonder that communists were so full of hate and killed tens of millions of people. While they dreamed of a utopian future, the cost of their fantasies was an intense hatred of everything in the past and present.

Until recently, every civilization in human history believed in sex differences, and few would have denied that race or ethnicity mattered. The idea that diversity is a societal strength would have struck most of our ancestors as completely bizarre. Yet these views were considered common sense, not some difficult truth that individuals had to struggle towards. This shows that there is nothing inherent to our ideas that make them painful truths; it’s all a matter of perception, created by current social conditions.

Why, then, has the red pill analogy had memetic success on the alt right? The answer lies in the fact that we are social creatures. The only reason that our beliefs seem like hard truths is because publically accepting them makes one a social pariah. People don’t even like privately believing socially unacceptable things, as doing so creates a psychological distance between them and most of their peers.

Many of you probably found accepting the ideas of the alt-right to be difficult and mistook the fear of social ostracization for pain stemming from accepting truths that are inherently harsh.

From a more objective perspective, giving up religion, with its promise of eternal bliss, should be much harder than accepting human biodiversity(HBD). Compare losing a celestial paradise to accepting that blacks will never be good at algebra. But nobody says that they were “red pilled” and became an atheist, because not believing in God carries no social sanction in educated circles.

All of this helps explain why the red pill analogy is bad marketing. It concedes that the other side has views that are realistic and pleasant. We convey the message that joining our movement is something difficult, and implicitly remind people that they’ll be socially ostracized for expressing support for our views.

Leftists understand the concept of social proof. Because humans have a desire to fit in, Hollywood tries to convince them that all the cool people are socially liberal, sexually free anti-racists. It’s why the media talks about all the outrage being generated after a public figure makes a politically incorrect remark, instead of presenting the comments in a neutral manner. This also explains why a great marketer like Trump talks about his supporters composing a “silent majority,” even though the evidence suggests that they are neither.

We should likewise do our best to emphasize the ways in which people through their actions show that at some level they know the truths of which we speak. For example, no normal father would be happy with his daughter becoming a slut, or attending a majority black school. We should stress the similarities between our beliefs and those of different cultures and previous generations, not portray ourselves as a group of outcasts who arrive at positions that all psychologically normal people reject.

Smart political marketing involves presenting your movement in a relatively positive light and exaggerating the support that your ideas currently have. The red pill metaphor does neither. Worst of all, it reminds people of the possibility of social isolation, which they inherently fear much more than they do any abstract scientific or political argument. Our views are well grounded in science, having a natural appeal and the potential to create a happier and healthier world. Our memes should reflect what is best in our vision, not emphasize the most powerful psychological obstacles to our ultimate victory.