The Real Danger.
I had a brief moment about 15+ years ago where I thought Jim Goad was an interesting thinker and writer, while also thinking he was an asshole. I've long since doubled-back half of that; his book was largely full of half-truths and dishonest distortions designed to portray an American history that doesn't resemble our actual history, and I was a dumb, angry young man who was easily influenced by anything I considered "out of the mainstream" at that time - though, he's most definitely an asshole.
I'm not proud of myself during that period (for an awful lot of reasons), but like many dumb, angry young men, I (mostly) grew up, and (totally) grew out of the idea that saying something offensive automatically equals saying something interesting or profound.
Unfortunately, an awful lot of dumb, angry young men never grow out of it. This story makes the case that he's one of the ground zero faux-intellectuals responsible for the current alt-right. It's an interesting profile, but be warned that it's chock full of pretty awful shit.
Part of what makes Jim Goad so frustrating, and so genuinely dangerous, is that he's legitimately a very, very good writer, and he's exceptionally good at making compelling arguments. Richard Spencer and Milo and Gavin McInnes are all pretender-clowns who are, mostly, fucking morons. But Goad's the real deal. If he truly is making a big comeback, we just might be fucked.
He's also an entirely different class of dangerous than most of these racist idiots are. He's much smarter, he's much more persuasive, and he's much less afraid of the consequences of inciting hatred and violence than these other dim-witted frauds. Richard Spencer can't even wear a fucking blazer correctly, let alone make a compelling case for race-based solidarity and supremacy. But Goad makes the kind of devil's argument case that cracks the door for a lot of easily-influenced young men. That he's making a comeback very legitimately concerns me in a way that the others don't.
When the current "alt-right" started to rise, at first, I couldn't actually take them seriously. I mean, Gavin McInnes started a group that includes anti-masturbation as a serious requirement. Milo is the Michael Alig of the right. Richard Spencer was a fucking vintage clothing dealer. These weren't serious, intellectually substantive, or compelling figures.
So, at first, I mostly wrote them off, primarily because I'd seen the real face of this kind of seductive, nationalistic hatred, and it was Jim Goad, and these other pretenders couldn't come close to being as alluring as his writing was. Spencer wrote his dissertation on Nietzche and managed to get him 100% wrong, but Goad knows Nietzche well enough to quote him at length and understands how to pervert his work. Spencer's a follower when it comes to that kind of thing, not a leader. So I figured they'd fall apart and fade out.
I was too optimistic, apparently.