Caleb (@FaradaySpeaks) is a young American man who streams discussions about his past as a member of the alt-right on YouTube, ironically the platform which exposed him to the movement in the first place. His breakout video ‘My Descent into the Alt-Right Pipeline’ is a genuinely moving impromptu piece laying down his raw emotions after the Christchurch massacre, where he recognised so much of the movement that once dominated his life in the manifesto and livestream of the murderer.
Caleb’s journey to becoming ‘one crumb of a poisonous fucking cookie’ began with his entry into self-help content on YouTube. The alt-right grew concurrently with the rise of the ‘manosphere’, and the theme of masculine self-empowerment is the start of the pipeline for so many people.”
Caleb interestingly describes his radicalisation process like that of the ‘sales funnel’ system used by marketing professionals. Shocking and increasingly less ambiguous content is used to filter out the less attentive members of the movement, leaving a purified base. The core then becomes a community of sorts, though struggle sessions are still constant in order to ensure that no ‘cucks’ have made it through.
I managed to speak to him briefly:
You describe your entry point into the alt-right as going from viewing benign self-help content to Stefan Molyneux videos thanks to YouTube’s infamous recommended videos sidebar. How important do you believe the sidebar algorithm is to radicalising people online?
Faraday Speaks: The sidebar and algorithm are extremely important. They drive the content on the platform and help people discover more creators with often more in-depth or radical views. You can’t search for what you don’t know.
Which talking points really related to you as a young man and hooked you into the movement? Do you believe that much of the alt-right share similar experiences of alienation as you describe in your videos?
FS: What hooked me in was being able to understand reality objectively. I wanted to simplify the world into an algorithm I could run my life on. This was preferable to the chaos of my life. Race Realism, Mass Immigration and other talking points seemed like logical conclusions. But the talking points of structuring your life and finding purpose were intoxicating.
Can you remember having any ‘in too deep’ moments as you delved further into the movement, when you realised that there was a serious step-up in terms of severity of the ideas that you were consuming?
FS: Charlottesville was a terrifying moment because I realized that radicals were on my side of politics. Whenever I found Contrapoints and simultaneously was watching Jared Taylor I started to realize how deep I was. This scared me and I started to seek out evidence to disprove them. I found that evidence of course.
The Youtuber Contrapoints began your deradicalisation process: what did she get right about combating alt-right arguments and speaking to you on an emotional and rational level? How can we learn from or imitate her approach?
FS: She spoke clearly and precisely about the alt-right. She was very exact in her language. She made caveats such as ‘Now I’m not saying all right-wingers are alt-right’. She also speaks with empathy towards the young people who fall into these bad ideas. She gives space to feel like you are not attacked.
Do you view Sargon of Akkad as a member of the alt-right? At the moment he is running for European Parliament and is very strongly pushing back against the label.
FS: Hmmm I wouldn’t say so, although he does spend a lot of time around them. He is a right-wing reactionary who shares many views with the alt-right. He appears to believe in biological essentialism, defends hate speech under the pretence of protecting free speech, and has attacked the left his whole career.
They definitely share some common goals.
When you were most immersed in the alt-right did you feel a sense of community and belonging, or was there still internal hostility between members? Did you feel like part of an exclusive club?
FS: I was never part of any group or inner circle but what I did feel was a solidarity with red-pilled folk online. I felt a disconnected parasocial community with them like one might feel with their fellow countrymen. I did feel like I was a part of an exclusive group. I felt like I was enlightened and knew the real truth most people did not. I think we all felt that way.
Do you view the alt-right as essentially a US phenomenon or a global thing?
FS: It’s very American but the larger philosophy is global.