When you live under a control-based regime, your brain longs for accurate depictions of reality, because almost everything you encounter is propaganda, whether advertisers trying to trick you into buying useless products, chatty acquaintances pimping their bands and lifestyles, or outright ideological mental viruses beamed into your head by media, government and academia.
Back in the day, many of us encountered a site called In Mala Fide whose author was notoriously pseudonymous, and since that time those who thirst for pragmatic realism have followed the work of Matt Forney, an incredibly talented writer with whom we are pleased to present an interview that must have taken no short amount of time to complete. Please join me in extending a big thank you to Matt Forney, and reading his very deliberate words with a sense of intellectual curiosity.
You have been active for nearly twenty years as a writer, moving from a Men’s Rights direction to a more Alt Right perspective and now, sort of choosing your own path. How did you get into writing, and how did these different outlooks lead to one another and to where you are now?
I got into writing back in 2009 due to persistence and luck. At the time, I was graduating college and moving into an unrewarding civil service job, as well I was coming off a couple of crises in my personal life. I’d spent the past three years obsessively reading books on politics, sociology, and philosophy, and I also followed proto-manosphere/proto-alt-right sites such as Steve Sailer’s blog, Taki’s Magazine, Roissy in DC, CORRUPT.org and others.
I started a blog called In Mala Fide mainly to vent and talk about the ideas I’d learned about and thought up. I’d attempted to start blogging before several times but gave up because I wasn’t able to earn an audience. With In Mala Fide, I struck paydirt: I didn’t just earn a large audience (peaking at 50,000 unique visitors a month), but an intelligent one, one that was able to help me grow and mature as a thinker and a man. Some of the people I encountered online during that period have become close real-life friends of mine. The site has also been acknowledged by many as a formative influence on the manosphere and alt-right.
I transitioned to writing under my real name in 2012 after reading Jack Donovan’s The Way of Men and realizing that I would eventually have to stop being a pseudonymous shadow if I wanted any credibility. I was also tired of the “Ferdinand Bardamu” pen name and wanted to take my writing in a different direction. Since then, I’ve gone through several different focuses, from travel writing to sex to anti-feminism to political journalism to morality and ethics.
With regards to the different outlooks I’ve had over the course of my writing career, I’ve always been good at studying and synthesizing different viewpoints — men’s rights, white nationalism, etc. — to see the merit in them. In the In Mala Fide days, I had an excessive amount of free time at my job and spent it reading blogs and websites (because reading a book at my desk would get me in trouble), and would link to interesting stuff on my blog on a weekly basis. At NPI’s fall conference two years ago, a reader of mine told me that my weekly roundups of manosphere and white nationalist/alt-right articles were a big influence in driving the growth of the alt-right, because they helped connect segments of the Internet that had overlapping ideas but little contact.
Can you tell us what your worldview is comprised of today? What are your philosophy, religion, political direction and general existential outlook?
I describe myself as a nationalist, full stop. Labeling in the social media era is more about group identity and posing than actual belief: for example, see how “alt-lite” personalities like Paul Joseph Watson used to describe themselves as “alt-right” when it was fashionable, then dropped the branding after the Heilgate incident. The same can be said for anime-watching teenagers who claim to be “alt-right” despite also being Satanist furries or whatever (and claiming I’m not “truly” alt-right even though I started writing before they entered puberty). I describe myself as a nationalist (or more generically as “right-wing”) because it encapsulates my beliefs — white identity, ethnic pride, putting family and nation first — without the baggage that other labels such as “alt-right” have accumulated.
Economically, I have libertarian leanings, but libertarianism as a complete ideology is unworkable because it cannot address the fact that our world is already post-capitalist, as James Burnham described in The Managerial Revolution. It’s because of managerialism that corporations are now enforcers of leftist orthodoxy and Silicon Valley has done an end-run around the First Amendment: big business and government are essentially fused at the hip. At the same time, I’m utterly opposed to socialism, because socialism breeds weak people who are more focused on anal sex and smoking pot than being productive, which is obvious to anyone who’s spent time in a left-wing area.
I used to consider myself an agnostic or apatheist, but I’ve gradually warmed to Christianity for many reasons, one of which is its importance as a unifying force in European and American life. I’ve realized over the past year that a large amount of whites’ problems are self-inflicted, due to our fixation on pleasure and comfort above all else. It’s evident in the mass acceptance of homosexuality, transsexuality, and the 31 flavors of gender in white countries, evident in our cowardly rationales for mass immigration (we “need” immigrants because whites can’t be bothered to have children to prop up failing social welfare programs with their taxes), it’s evident in the way we stick our heads in the sand when the third-world immigrants we import openly hate us and try to kill us.
While the churches of the West have become deeply corrupted (as evidenced by an Argentine communist becoming pope), it’s also true that the only white countries that are actively resisting globalism — such as Poland and Hungary — are overly Christian ones. Atheism is a social experiment that has failed miserably. Ultimately, I believe that a shift towards right-wing and nationalist politics is insufficient on its own to preserve white and European societies; some sort of spiritual revival needs to occur in order to stem social decay. The events of the past two years have (depressingly) borne my predictions out.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve also become more comfortable in admitting that I don’t know as much as I thought I did. Young people are always overconfident in their knowledge and abilities: I can’t look back on some of my In Mala Fide-era writing of mine without cringing a little. This overconfidence is driving a lot of dysfunction in the alt-media (my term for non-mainstream right-wing commentators, including the alt-right and alt-lite) landscape, as people make snap decisions based on incomplete information. For example, see Richard Spencer’s completely pointless and unnecessary anti-war protest in the wake of President Trump’s Syria strike in April. It’s because of this that I’ve pulled away from commenting on day-to-day politics.
Did you always want to be a writer, and how did you break into writing professionally? If you could do it again, would you do anything differently?
I’ve obsessively written privately since I was a kid — journal entries, short stories, the like — so expanding into blogging and online writing was a natural extension of what I was already doing. As Jim Goad put it, “If I don’t work, I’ll starve. If I don’t write, I’ll die.” I started out in college as a journalism major primarily because I wanted to write: a really dumb move, and I ended up transferring out of the program a year later after uncovering widespread plagiarism among my colleagues.
While I switched to majoring in English after that, most of my important writing experience and work came from studying and reading on my own and networking with like-minded people. I spent most of my teenage years reading books by the likes of Philip K. Dick, Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski; it didn’t help my sad social life, but it paid off as an adult because I knew what separated good writing from bad. I also owe a great debt to Mark Ames and John Dolan; as dumb and pathetic as they’ve become, they were my gateway to understanding the mechanics of good writing and honest journalism.
If I were to do anything differently, I’d have studied how to monetize my writing much earlier. I started In Mala Fide basically as a hobby, and had I figured out how to make money doing it sooner, I’d have been able to get my career going earlier. Alternately, I would have skipped going to college entirely, or majored in something useful like engineering.
You had quite a following as “Ferdinand Bardamu,” but changed direction to write under your real name. What encouraged you to go in that direction? Did it coincide with your desire to write about more than manosphere themes?
As I mentioned above, three years into In Mala Fide’s existence, it felt like I had outgrown the “Ferdinand Bardamu” pseudonym. I started the blog during a time of upheaval in my personal life and it felt like I was being forced to write in a voice that was no longer authentically mine. To paraphrase my friend Trevor Blake, when you need to cross a river, you build a bridge, but you don’t take the bridge with you when you get to the other side. I didn’t feel the need to keep using a name that was tied to a period in my life that was ancient history by that point.
Moreover, while I recognize the value of pen names (and encourage anyone who wants to write in this day and age to use one), the danger with them is that you can develop an unhealthy divide between your private and public lives. Internet anonymity has the side effect of encouraging defective personalities to develop elaborate fantasy lives in pursuit of narcissistic supply. See: all the manosphere dweebs who brag about “spinning plates” and having multiple LTRs, yet still have time to post on r/TheRedPill twenty times a day. When people like this get doxed, it usually ruins their lives, because the gulf between what they claim to be online and who they are in real life destroys their credibility.
Writing under my real name with my real face keeps me accountable. My friends and family know I’m a writer, and I can’t lie or pump myself up online without them calling me on it. While there are haters and critics who will try to attack me for my beliefs, I don’t care because almost none of them are actually reading what I write, but skimming it and filtering it through their own skewed perspectives. For example, I love it when people claim I’m not really an “alpha male” or a “PUA,” because I’ve never once claimed to be either of those things. I’m just a writer who observes the world and tells people what I think.
Do you think there is a particular style in which people have to write for the web, and does it dumb down content ever? It seems to me that you are frequently rebelling against this style… do you have any tips for people who want to push the envelope?
I’m not good at fitting into cliques, and past a certain point, to become more popular you need to join an online clique. That means adopting their look, their lingo, and their beliefs, even the dumb ones. This is plainly evident with what the alt-right has become, with Macklemore whoosh haircuts, gay electronic dance music, and speaking in terms like “normie” and “fashy” now required if you want to be one of the cool kids. Same thing happened with the manosphere years ago: it went from normal guys talking about how to get girls and trying to understand modern sexual dysfunction to nerds spazzing out over “N-counts” and the “feminine imperative,” making it impenetrable for mentally adjusted people.
I think a large part of this is due to the fact that when movements or subcultures become popular, they inevitably attract defective people who want to use the movement/subculture as a substitute for a normal life. While there’s nothing wrong with turning online relationships into real-life friendships — many of my closest real-life friends are people I’ve met online now — there’s something wrong with entirely substituting organic meatspace relationships. I blame social atomization.
The shift to social media as the primary form of online communication has also seriously dumbed down online discourse. When I was starting out eight years ago, Twitter was still relatively obscure and Facebook was basically for keeping in contact with friends. Smartphones were still relatively new. The primary means of spreading ideas back then was blogs and websites. Fast-forward to today and social media companies have a stranglehold on communication. This not only conditions people against deep thought — how much nuance can you put into a 140-character Tweet? — but also rewards mindless attention whoring, due to the Skinner box-like environment that social media provides.
This is evident in how the alt-right and the alt-media in general has melted down over the past year. The constant drive for social media re-Tweets, likes and one-ups drives people to do and say provocative things solely for attention. I’ve also noticed a disturbing trend among young alt-righters and alt-leftists: they’re utterly incapable of communicating in anything other than memes and one-liners. I think this is the result of exposure to social media and smartphones at a young age combined with a lack of meaningful real-world relationships. They’ve sustained brain damage from constantly repeating memes and quips from whatever clique they claim allegiance to. It’s so bad that teenagers aren’t even dating and having sex anymore, because they’d rather fish for attention on Instagram or whatever. The adults in the alt-right and these other movements aren’t providing them with any masculine guidance or leadership, either.
I’ve always strived to grow my audience — egomania is part of being a writer — but I’m not going to blatantly spread falsehoods just so I can fit in with an online community of people I’ll never meet and probably wouldn’t want to. While I’ve engaged in attention-getting stunts in the past, I’ve gradually realized that doing so is self-defeating, because I just end up attracting morons who I can’t stand and who don’t appreciate the nuances in my writing. As a friend put it, when you get together with dysfunctional people who have dysfunctional ideas, you end up with dysfunctional results.
As for people who want to push the envelope, I recommend you don’t get too invested in any online community or political movement. As Common Filth puts it, do not put your faith in man. Get off the computer and interact with people in real life. Hang out with your friends. Get laid. Take up a hobby, like playing the guitar or chess. Gain some perspective. Life isn’t as bad as mental defectives on Twitter claim it is. Stay out of online echo chambers and your view on life — and your mental state — will be much healthier.
How relevant do you think men’s rights is these days, or has it been eclipsed by the overall struggle against false equality?
Men’s Rights is dead and decomposing. I was a men’s rights sympathizer years ago due to the fact that they were one of the few groups that was bringing attention to divorce law, false rape accusations and other major injustices against men and families. However, feminists massively overplayed their hand during Obama’s second term, and the UVA rape hoax, Emma “Mattress Girl” Sulkowicz and other massive blunders have woken up much of the population to their perfidy. We now have a Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who is basically implementing the men’s rights program by rolling back overzealous feminist rape policies and more.
Moreover, the men’s rights movement (as well as Men Going Their Own Way) was subverted by the left years ago. Stealth leftists such as Dean Esmay and Bar Bar infiltrated men’s rights organizations such as A Voice for Men and began pushing the lie that men’s rights’ was “beyond” politics and that there was “no difference” between the left and the right, despite feminism being part of the left’s political program. This lead to absurdities such as Esmay accusing the victims of Muslim-led rape attacks in Germany last year of being “liars” and Paul Elam declaring that he would vote for Hillary Clinton unless Trump pledged to legalize marijuana. Men’s rights was effectively blunted as a political force because of this.
Finally, feminism itself is receding in importance in white countries due to the rise of demographic-driven racial identity politics. Feminism is largely a preoccupation of upper middle-class white women: concerns over “manspreading,” “mansplaining,” and nonexistent rape epidemics on college campuses don’t register with black or brown women. As white countries become less white, feminists will gradually lose political power.
We’re already seeing this in Europe due to the migrant crisis: feminists have been ignoring the rapes that Muslim men commit against European women and attacking right-wingers who bring attention to the problem. In the Netherlands and Sweden, Muslim populations have formed their own ethnic interest political parties, like Michel Houellebecq predicted in Submission. Hillary Clinton was the last gasp of white feminism in American politics: future leftist leaders will be non-white and will exclusively engage in racial identity politics.
You have been critical of the Alt Right of late, and so it makes sense to ask: where did they lose the narrative, and what should they be doing instead?
The alt-right focuses on material problems and ignores the fundamental spiritual maladies that have led to whites’ current predicament. As I mentioned above, whites are fixated on pleasure and comfort above all else: to quote Common Filth again, they want to be “veal wrapped in cotton.” Virtually every problem that the alt-right lays at the feet of other groups stems from whites’ own spiritual emptiness, and even if the white ethnostate were to be established tomorrow, it’d tear itself apart in less than fifty years as the same problems reemerged.
For example, the alt-right is correct to criticize Jews for their disproportionate involvement in movements that erode public morality and social cohesiveness. Thing is, the Jews didn’t invade our countries and impose themselves on us at gunpoint: we invited them in. The first country to emancipate the Jews was France in 1791, in the throes of the French Revolution, the birth of leftism. Nobody forced the French to liberate the Jews: they did it on their own. In 1791, the French also legalized homosexuality, again without any prompting from the Jews. Filmic pornography was also invented by whites. Jews are merely exploiting character traits that whites have embraced on their own. The merchant cannot sell what the goyim will not buy.
Similarly, the whitest cities and countries in the U.S. and western Europe are degenerate fleshpits right now. Seattle, one of the whitest major cities in the U.S., elected a homosexual mayor who was forced to resign after he was caught molesting children. Portland, Oregon, is full of bluehairs, feminists, homeless junkies, and the biggest wastes of white skin on the planet. Iceland, which has no Jewish or non-white population to speak of, is the chlamydia capital of the world, is aborting babies in record numbers, has a culture revolving around having casual sex while blackout drunk, and elected a radical lesbian as prime minister.
The alt-right has done nothing to address these spiritual problems and is arguably making them worse. When Richard Spencer is enthusiastically endorsing universal healthcare, a furry is moderating AltRight.com’s Discord server, and so-called intellectuals are claiming that “intolerance of homosexuality is Jewish,” there’s a major problem going on. As I mentioned above, social media and smartphone addiction has also rendered many young people — including alt-righters — incapable of genuine thought. This is evidenced whenever any right-winger criticizes the alt-right, even if the criticism has nothing to do with politics: “Don’t punch right!” “Don’t counter-signal!” “Don’t purity spiral!” It’s no different than when SJWs whine about being “tone policed” whenever people accuse them of being histrionic.
If the alt-right wants to recover, they should stop acting like the white version of “WE WUZ KANGZ” and start addressing the spiritual maladies of white people. Cast out the homosexuals and other reprobates from their ranks and start encouraging spiritual and philosophical growth. Instead of staging big, ineffectual public events like Charlottesville, focus on building connections and affecting change in their local communities, which are supposed to be the most important part of any person’s life. Yes, the alt-right should bring attention to the problems caused by racial diversity, but they should do so with an eye to exorcise the demons in whites’ souls that led to these problems to begin with.
The alt-right also needs to accept the fact that Christianity will be an unavoidable part of social revival. I have sympathy for neopagans and I’m interested in Greek and Roman mythology, but the only faith traditions that work are ones that are already rooted in peoples’ traditions and communities. Most whites have some connection to Christianity through their families and communities, but vanishingly few have a real, organic connection to Odinism or pagan traditions. Christianity provides meaning to peoples’ lives, a moral framework that is time-tested, and a system of social organization that binds people without reliance on government. Moreover, religious Christians are by far the most receptive audience to identitarian and nationalist ideas (as shown by Trump’s popularity among evangelicals and Catholics and nationalist governments in eastern Europe), making the alt-right’s anti-Christian attitude self-defeating from a practical perspective.
America is changing, and so is Europe. Where do you think things are going? What should people do to encourage this change, and to shape it toward positive ends?
I believe we’re on the verge of a great shift in political perception: what Jim Donald calls a “left singularity,” a period when the leftward drift of politics ends. I don’t know what ultimate form that shift will take. However, it’s clear that the status quo of corporate liberalism cannot last much longer. The problems of diversity, sexual deviancy, social atomization and economic decay have made life for many whites intolerable, which is what fueled both Donald Trump’s election victory and the Brexit campaign. Similarly, non-whites in many Western countries have become belligerent and openly antagonistic towards whites.
We’re likely going to see major upheaval in countries such as Canada and France which are desperately trying to maintain the corporate liberal status quo. For example, Emmanuel Macron, who was feted as the “centrist” antidote to the evil racist Marine Le Pen, has seen his approval ratings collapse after implementing the austerity programs he’d been pledging to implement during the campaign. Islamist terror attacks will be met with vigilante responses and political violence between leftists and right-wingers will become commonplace. The latter is already happening in the U.S. Some countries will be able to stem the worst of it by electing nationalist governments, while others are doomed.
My advice to people who want to aid nationalism and fight leftism is to keep their heads down and work on improving their personal lives. As Jordan Peterson puts it, clean your room. Cultivate your friendships, find a wife or husband, consider having a family. Work on making your local community stronger. If you’re not in a white, right-leaning, Christian community, find one that you can integrate into. Disengage from social media and the 24/7 news cycle; it’s out of your control anyway, so focus on what you can control. If you must get politically involved, keep it on the local level (think city council or school board), where you can do the most good.
How do you think the Right — those on the Alt Right and other non-mainstream forms — can protect itself from the Great Erasure led by Google and other large companies?
I recommend that right-wingers stay away from pointless social media and real-life publicity stunts, such as Charlottesville or the umpteen million dramas that are playing out across the alt-media right now. All attention will accomplish now is earning you the ire of the left’s electric eye without any guarantee you’ll have a positive impact. Focus on cultivating clear thought, purity of soul and real-life networks: past a certain point, seeking fame is detrimental to the quality of your work.
In many ways, we should think of ourselves as living in the Soviet Union or any repressive police state, and adjust our behavior accordingly. Until such time as we can break the stranglehold the corporate left has on online discourse, we should avoid taking dumb risks that result in being deplatformed and unpersoned for little or no gain. The general population is moving in a rightward direction anyway, thanks to the left’s open contempt for whites and white men, so the gains of the past three years aren’t going to be erased simply because we aren’t trolling lefties on Twitter as vigorously as we used to.
You have a large body of work, and it is a bit hard to keep track of. What should people read that you have written, and how should they follow what you are up to now?
Everything I’ve ever written online is archived at MattForney.com, including articles I’ve written for other sites: you can find a chronological archive here. I haven’t been as active lately because I have another job that’s been taking up much of my time, but you can find everything I do there. I also host an infrequent podcast, which can be found on YouTube, SoundCloud, and my website. I’m also on Gab, though I try to avoid social media as much as possible these days. I write for Return of Kings occasionally, and I also recently joined Alternative Right as a co-editor. Along with co-editors Colin Liddell and Andy Nowicki, I’m hoping to bring the alt-right back to its original values.
I’ve written several books, but the most relevant for Amerika readers is Three Years of Hate, a compilation of the best writing from my In Mala Fide days. You can buy it direct from MattForneyBooks.com or from Amazon and other booksellers. I’m currently nearing completion of a book on the 2016 presidential election based on my first-hand coverage, as well as a compilation of my best articles from the past five years and a series of memoirs about my adventures when I was younger. Follow MattForney.com to find out more about those books when they’re ready for release.