By Harold Rook
When it comes to the political extremes, American history has tended to favor moderates on the left and right, with the Constitution serving as the binding document that is meant to create a system of checks and balances. Contemporary history, however, has placed this in jeopardy; there has been a rise in a radical leftist element, a mixture of democratic socialists, communists, and anarchists, as a response to the campaign and presidency of Donald Trump. American values such as freedom of speech are typically disregarded, wherein anyone to the right of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a dirty, evil racist promoting capitalist enslavement! However, though not as open, there has been a simultaneous rise in the alt-right. Under the guise of a new conservatism, proponents of the alt-right promote such “American” ideas as white nationalism and open antisemitism. These racial demagogues cemented their putrid status when they marched in Charlottesville, yelling “Jews will not replace us!” For a while, it seemed like enough of America was aware of just how awful this movement is, with the de facto leader of the movement, Richard Spencer, being publicized as the neo-Nazi that he truly is. However, this was only apparent; there has been a sudden rise in an alt-right insurgency, interrupting recent conservative events to perpetuate the illusion that the alt-right as simply “America First” policy as opposed to overt racism. This group of recent alt-right insurgency have adopted a name: Groypers.
So where exactly did these demagogues come from? What even is a “Groyper?” Like all abominations, Groyper originated from the completely wonderful website, 4chan, where message boards have been co-opted by the alt-right. Groyper was originally the name for a Pepe the Frog character variation, a fat toad with the face of the frog used as an alt-right symbol. Its status may have remained some weird offshoot of a racist symbol, dying to obscurity, if not for one Nick J. Fuentes, a self-described “American nationalist.” Fuentes, when not insulting Muslims, Jews, homosexuals, African Americans, denying the Holocaust, peddling conspiracy theories, and other wonderful activities, runs the deceptively named YouTube channel “America First.” Though he has operated his channel and promoted racialism for years, Fuentes recently directed much of his energy towards attacking mainstream conservatives, in what he describes as the “Groyper War.” In what can be described as a coordinated plan to hijack events, Fuentes calls for his supporters, called “Groypers,” to purposely ask unassuming questions such as referencing the Dancing Israelis, a 9/11 conspiracy theory claiming that Israel was complicit in the attack, challenging speakers to debate the “true conservative” Nick Fuentes, or furiously asking why politicians aren’t taking a stronger stance against anal sex (by God, I truly wish I was joking about this garbage).
As you might suspect, there are two goals that these Groypers wish to achieve. The first is to simply create shock and awe: drawing attention to themselves and their movement through infamy, lacing each question with childish attempts to gain relevancy. However, there is a second, and far more dangerous, reason that this is happening. By branding himself as a “true conservative” fighting for an “America First” pseudo-policy cloaking white nationalism, Fuentes and his army of Groypers are attempting to repeat what happened in 2016: the rise of a younger alt-right generation within American politics. Yet rather then remaining relatively isolated and directly yelling for a white ethno-state, Groypers inject themselves into mainstream politics, framing themselves as innocent citizens concerned with “America First” policy. It is through this disguise that Groypers are attempting to achieve their second goal: introduce blatant white nationalism as a legitimate brand of mainstream politics, radicalizing an already volatile political environment. It isn’t like this is a secret; for every Groyper question asked towards TPUSA’s Charlie Kirk, for every antisemitic conspiracy asked to Representative Dan Crenshaw, and the challenges to debate a “real” conservative towards Ben Shapiro, Fuentes proclaims victory on Twitter. This is an optics battle, and Fuentes knows this, carefully dancing around his white nationalism.
White nationalism has no place in American politics, be it as neo-Nazis screaming for an ethno-state or white nationalists hiding their motives behind supposed “America First” ideas. Yet what makes this so concerning is that Groypers are not the main problem, but the symptom. Political intensity has only increased since 2016, amplifying the far extremes of the political spectrum. This is not the only force American citizens should be worried about, with mobs of leftists also pushing a radical, unamerican narrative. Both extremes promote a radical doctrine that alienates the basic freedoms we cherish. Why should we jump to these extremes, abandoning the principles we stand by? We shouldn’t. We should stand tall for our principles, see our fellow man as human, and work to heal the clear divides that exist.