I have known for some time that I would have to write this letter. However, now that I put pen to paper, I find it difficult. It is probably hard to believe that someone who often has too much to say is now having trouble expressing his thoughts. Nevertheless, I am finding it difficult to find the right words. There is at once too much to talk about and also too few things to say that might properly put a coda on my work over the last three years. It is true that this letter marks the beginning of my hiatus and not an end to the project outright. Still, my departure marks the first distinct stopping point, an ending of sorts that I don’t know how to characterize. For the time being, my hiatus will be open-ended. However, I am almost certain that I will return even though I cannot make promises about when.
I understand that such an open-ended message will strike people as unsatisfactory. Such a departure will not provide the closure that most regular viewers naturally want after a channel winds down. If I have learned anything from my time on YouTube, it is that people expect narratives. And it is natural for people to want both a story concerning my own departure from YouTube as well as the general state of the platform, for whatever small impact I have had on it.
I understand that across the last two years (and in the last six months in particular) voices on the right have been falling silent. This trend has been hard to miss, and as much as people like myself would want to believe that it owes directly to corporate de-platforming campaigns, the decline in right-wing content online has just as much to do with burn out and personal exhaustion.
There are hard truths about being an activist on the right, especially an online activist. Advocating for non-mainstream non-progressive ideas has never been lucrative. This combined with the disapprobation of our contemporary cultural elites, the threat of doxxing, and the general instability of dissident movements have been enough to send many creators packing after only a few years in the fray. In short, the collection of these circumstances has resulted in exactly what the progressive establishment has desired since 2016, the self-censorship of voices who want to express views to the right of mainstream approved opinion.
While I think there remain a large number of great content creators active in the online right today, it is also true that there is a growing unease within the movement. I know these circumstances will haunt my own departure from the platform. And so, to anticipate any confusion that might emerge, I would like to take the opportunity to preemptively put to bed any rumors.
I here assure my audience that I did not apostatize from my Catholic faith, my traditional outlook on the world, or my reactionary perspective on political machinations. Some errors aside, I stand behind the perspectives contained on this channel. I am not leaving for reasons of censorship, threats or consequences physical, financial, or otherwise. I am not out of ideas, and I am not suffering from of writer’s block. The reason for my hiatus is personal, and represents a positive development in my life. And, while I still consider the internet a great opportunity for people pursuing truth in our modern world, the needs of the online space are ultimately secondary to those of real life. And it is such a greater calling that compels my departure.
I am now entering a new chapter of my life. I don’t expect to be the same person when I return to making videos, and, as such, I am reserved about what I should promise viewers when “The Distributist” begins its second season. There is much work at this moment that remains unfinished, even among the videos that I thought I could complete before December. On this point, I ask my audience for pardon and patience. Many of the videos that I have talked about, may never be produced.
However, here I will digress here and mention one exception. Taking the online tag, “The Distributist” since the beginning of the channel I have talked about creating a video concerning Distributism and my approach to economics and social justice. Since this topic is large (and one that I am not an expert on), the project was always daunting. However, towards the end of this year, I was able to complete an outline and some initial writings for the series. Post-hiatus, I am left with a dilemma about what to do with this project as neither a rushed production nor an indefinite postponement seemed right.
All in all, I have decided that fitting compromise is to leave the series intentionally incomplete as a sort of promise to the audience to return. With an analogy to Homer, the series on Distributism could be treated as a sort of shroud of Laeretes: an unfinished project representing a promise, a bridge that marks either the last video of the first era of this channel or the first video of the second. But even this is speculative. And rather than making more promises about future content, I feel that I should close by speaking more about the circumstances where I leave my audience in this, year of our Lord 2019.
Our moment in history has been called, by many on the right, “Clown World”. The epitaph has been well earned, especially in the current year when it seems that there no norm, behavior, custom, or even notion of decency that is not being overturned, subverted, and reversed. While the neologism of “Clown World” has emerged circa 2018, the phenomenon of clown world has been driving our culture for years. It owes its origins to a social phenomenon in 2013 which drove the emergence of the woke progressive mainstream as well as the dissident right reaction. Clown world inspired the dissident right, but in many ways, it has also trapped it.
Most of the content that has been produced by the right in online spaces is directly or indirectly a reaction to this phenomenon of “Clown World”. What started first as disbelief, became outrage, and has now settled into a type of despondency. The world is changing, and just in ways that Progressives would like. Chaos itself is growing. And under these circumstances, it should surprise few that most thinkers on the right or the left have been unable to develop a proper response to events evolving around us.
It is true that my own YouTube channel “The Distributist” attempted to fill this gap; to make sense of “Clown World” or at least, to make more sense of it than mainstream luminaries. And while it is up to my audience to tell me how well I have done in accomplishing anything, I believe I have demonstrably failed in this task. For whatever else has been achieved in the last three years, a proper response to “Clown World” remains elusive.
It has been apparent since I started my channel in 2016 that “Clown World” would outlast our outrage. For what it is worth, I should add that “Clown World” will also outlast our despair. “Clown World” may ultimately outlast our own physical lives.
However, if right-wing ideas mean anything at all. “Clown World” will not outlast us. It was will not outlast our posterity. It will not outlast the civilization that they carry forward. And most importantly, “Clown World” will not outlast the spirituality, and dedication to truth, goodness, and beauty that drives us all in the cause of existence.
With this observation, we might understand a fundamental deficiency in the discourse of the right. There is a need live in “Clown World”. There is a need to thrive in “Clown World”. There is a need to engage with “Clown World” and find, wherever hidden, the goodness that remains.
For everything said about “boomers”, our own millennial generation shows a pronounced lack of generational awareness. For those born in “Clown World”, there will not be a feeling of displacement or dispossession. There will only be a deficit and a want for a world with a deeper spirituality. For all the time we on the right have worked to react properly to the decrepit state of our culture, how much time has been spent to preserve the discipline and the art of the past and to use that heritage to revivify the world? Perhaps after everything is said and done, this “Clown World” is an opportunity to discover what that developing a new positive vision for humanity could mean. Perhaps this is an opportunity to shine a light on a brighter possible future that could not be understood in a state of complacency and comfort. After all, whatever else is wrong in our era, I am finding complacency increasingly difficult.
Perhaps this is a late revelation. But I maintain this is an essential one. The most necessary thing that the internet could have delivered to our society has not only remained unrealized but largely unattempted. Of course, it is not hard to see why. The endeavor of discovering a positive vision for the future is difficult, perhaps nearly impossible. Still, this positive response s the only one that will really matter in the long run. For whatever else is true, our lives keep on going, and those lives contain imperative to preserve, sustain, and even to create that which reflects a greater more meaningful spiritual reality.
I understand that I leave my YouTube channel an incomplete project, perhaps even a failed project. However, if I could be presumptuous enough to follow one failure with another, I hope that on my return I can endeavor to explore and magnify the positive good in our world and provide more insight and optimism.
But once more, this is speculation. For the time being, I am putting the pen and microphone down and accepting that it is time to focus on more important things.
Among all the insanity, senselessness, and even the small indignities that surround us in this late modernity, please always remember the miracle that is existence itself. Life is exceptional. And this exceptional nature contains an imperative for all of us.
We must remember not to be angry, not to be afraid, and most of all, not to be bored.
This is the most critical time one could be alive. At this moment, wherever we find our vocation, we have a chance to participate in the creation of something new. Even if we are witnessing the death of an old order, there is something greater on the horizon. Of course, I should be cautious in saying that our generation has some millenarian role in history (as ironic as that might be given our name). Nevertheless, I believe that just as we find ourselves living inside an uncommon world, we also have an uncommon opportunity; an opportunity to act and create which would be criminal to squander with despair.
And with this, I will wish my followers good cheer and God’s Blessings.
Yours sincerely, Dave “The Distributist”