Positive and Negative Identity: What We Are and What We’re Not

I newly returned from a vacation in Georgia, and am refreshed in a way I had not wholly expected. Part of my mood can be credited to a day of boating at Harding Lake, witnessing a very special baby’s first birthday festivities, visiting the Callaway Gardens -which feature a tropical plant sanctuary, picnic areas and a pristine-feeling tucked away chapel – or even simply general Southern welcoming and hospitality.

Certainly, my positive interactions have left me beaming. Yet, there is a certain comfort and reaffirmation one experiences in contrast. As my all-time favorite author, Hermann Hesse, once wrote, I would sooner give the happiest days of my life over the saddest precisely for the person the latter shaped me to be.

For those who know me more personally, it is repeated information that I was quite taken aback by the image of a black woman in Atlanta sporting a leopard-print tunic with side-slits up to the bra complete with a pair of black “coochie cutters.” Equally shocking was my exposure to what I confidently dub the biggest low-lives on the North American continent while stranded in the Houston airport-area. I failed to spot another white person after leaving the airport, and the third-world population serving the area clearly had criminal tendencies.

These immediate observations pose the question, often discussed and even condemned in our circles: are we members of the Alternative Right a negative bunch? Of course. We are, at least in part, reacting in opposition to the decaying world around us.

We may reflect for a moment that negativity is the absence of a quality, not necessarily an unpleasant emotion. I introduce the terms negative and positive reinforcement from my modest study of behavioral psychology in my college days. While negative reinforcement is the removal of stimulus to bring about a behavior, positive reinforcement is introduction of a stimulus to cause a behavior. The context of behavior can be removed from these terms, and we redirect back to our subject matter of political arguments which make counter current representatives appear negative.

First, let us not forget that our opponents employ both positive and negative reasoning in support of their aims. For example, pro-choicers not only argue for the supposed “freedom” and “empowerment” of women in their political position (positivity – addition), but also assert that such children spare suffering by not bearing children they will neglect or abuse (negativity – subtraction). As another example, our adversaries maintain that amnesty is desirable given that the documentation of laborers would result in more abundant tax revenue and the stopping of the cash flow to Mexico (positivity), while saving the relevant masses from a life of poverty and struggle (negativity).

The difference, then, between us and our opponents is not uncommonly that we fail to fully articulate what our positions offer. It is not always immediately clear to the public that comments such as those of the leopard-skin clad floozy or the criminal low-lives not only argue against degeneracy, but ultimately have the solution of promoting a society of decency and wholesomeness. We must do a better job of helping persuadables understand what we’re promoting. We need to help them envision a future where big families in close-knit communities strive together to live more wholesome and fulfilling lives than what Modernity can offer.

Emotionally negative experiences serve to remind one of his mission, and it is also said that a good solider fights not because he hates what is front of him but because he loves what is behind him. I am proud to assert that, in my experience, we political dissidents are steadily working towards communicating what our platform offers while also not shying away from openly stating what we are not.

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