Why Straight Edge and DIY Matters
And why its missing from online politics and discourse
The term “straight edge” is widely debated. Even the word “DIY” gets confused as something suburban moms do as a hobby. Straight edge is a subculture within hardcore punk that refrains from using alcohol, tobacco, eating meat, promiscuous sex, and recreational drugs, in reaction to the decadence and self-destruction of punk music. DIY, in the context of the punk subculture, means to own the means of production and produce without aid from anyone; that the work is all on the artist who makes it. Straight edge and DIY go together because both rely on the virtue ethics of the individual and his role modeling for others to emulate.
It’s hard to say if straight edge in punk music is still alive. The millennial generation is too busy thinking about themselves, and would rather advocate transhumanist hedonism than practice ethics in society. Hardcore is reflective of the white middle to lower classes, while the upper liberal whites continue to commodify hardcore as a vessel for liberal projection. Straight edge arose out of the 1980s when morally sounding (perhaps even racially conscious) whites decided to protect their interest and clean out bad influences in the lower class. Straight edge is militant, virtuous, and ethical. Straight edge punks confront those who would do evil acts, and uphold the order of morality for everyone. The “anti-racist action,” which would later become the “anti-fascist action,” relied on the ethos of straight edge than of radical communism in the 1980s. Many radicals have lost the ethos of straight edge, and are afraid to commit acts of confrontation with the enemy.
In a digital age where everyone has access to the internet, anyone can practice DIY and take control. But is anyone really learning about the equivalent ethos of DIY and making art now? Social media and free “content” have spoiled us and most of us don’t have to urge to create because we believe somebody us can do it for us. This is bad on many levels, as we are refusing to find autonomy and intellectual rigor. We have open-source technology and Linux, the tech to make synthesizers and hardware, and free visual programming to learn, and yet, everyone has become too lazy to take up the spirit of DIY and take ownership. We are currently living in an information age of overabundance, where we can find whatever niche hobby we like and contribute to it. DIY makes it possible, and we don’t need a publisher, boss, or state to tell us what to do. We can make our own art, and we can be liberated by our urge to produce.
We don’t have the ethos of straight edge or DIY today. People have become cowardly. They want to take the easy way out in everything. One of the most significant straight-edge groups, “Friends Stand United,” laid the foundation of radical virtue ethics, and the need to uphold moral standards. Intimidation tactics and confrontation were common policies among the FSU. Many felt they were victims of the abuse, and turned to virtue ethics as a way of redemption. The truth of FSU is that many members were ex-drug addicts, ex-Nazies, and ex-abusers. Confrontation and direct action become the only means of change.
The written work of intellectualism and liberal arts is not enough, because the artist must defend himself and approach the enemy. This straight-edge ethos is condemned today because people are afraid of the consequences. Liberalism assures us we can participate in a “culture war” by consuming on Twitter. We are safe against a world that hates us, and the only thing we can do is vote for Republican or Democrat as a subliminal manifestation of radical beliefs. Such is the belief of the middle class and their pursuit of comfort in an age of collapse.
By restraining from alcohol, we can focus on better pursuits in life. By restraining from drugs, we are no longer addicted to on-demand dopamine hits. By restraining from promiscuous sex, we treat people as humans who want to fall in love and be with someone. By restraining from eating meat, we can have healthy bodies and co-exist with other living beings. Straight edge provides the praxis, while DIY provides self-ownership. This becomes the manifestation of a better life against the downfall of white people. It is the platonic value to do better and to do the right thing.
“Punk” has suffered from the clause that the movement must resist anything. There is a cringe belief that “conservatives are the new punk,” simply because they follow the meaning that what is punk must be “dissident,” against all authorities. This is American propaganda to celebrate the liberal individual self. Theodore Adorno, Susan Sontag, and Hannah Arendt all agreed that there was something evil about humanity, and if the masses had their way, it could only lead to an authoritative government. So to be “punk,” one had to resist communism; a political system that cares for humanity and envisions the Epicurean society. Punk has to be against “Nazism,” because that’s also what America went to war against.
If one person is for it, a punk must be against it. There is more “anti” resistance than there is advocation for punk because American culture must resist anything that hurts the individual. This can be anti-consumerism, anti-corporatism, anti-war, anti-imperialism, anti-globalization, anti-gentrification, anti-racism, anti-sexism, anti-homophobia, and so on. This is the fallacy of being contrarian because there is no sincerity in punk itself. Who cares if a punk is in character to act resistant for the sake of it? Nothing is accomplished. It’s a cartoon character that can only celebrate the American state. Straight Edge and DIY will solve this crisis by demanding virtue ethics and responsible art.
Being “transgressive” for the sake of it is the same as the contrarian fallacy. The device of being transgressive can only celebrate liberalism and shock the conservatives who are too bigoted to understand supposed “sincere” subcultures outside the norm. Then there is being transgressive because it’s about an emotion, and so another fallacy is made that anti-liberalism is punk because it’s against the current regime. This can only go so far as to rely on liberal semantics to operate, thus becoming a criticism of liberalism by a liberal. Power electronics, skramz, and any noise act relies on this “anti-liberal” transgression because they are a class of white nerds that can’t compete with the authentic nature of stronger whites who are into beatdown hardcore or metal. The egalitarian nature of being punk must respect whites in all classes, and so it ties in the cultural trait of “transgressive” to satisfy this white envy.
Punk isn’t a celebration of white trash what hip-hop is to poor blacks. Unfortunately, punk is practiced by whites, and for whites, in all classes of whites. The dialogue is about white people before the conversation can begin in punk. Some punks proclaim their protest against “whiteness,” but in return, can only benefit the liberal whites that want to virtue signal and be left alone in the remote and expensive parts of New York City. “Whiteness” means the icky and bad lower-class behavior of bad whites who live outside the city and bring their middle-class ethos to the cosmopolitan whites. Whites are not given an identity and are constantly told that being “white” means being nothing. They move to similar subcultures, like punk, because it gives them a real identity of being admixture and European. The contrarian factor goes far back to the French Revolution and the work of Marquis de Sade. Liberalism needs white people to function.
The idea that there can be a “hardline” straight edge subculture could only lead to racial nationalism or ecofascism. The perfect man must accept the deep ecology of all living things, while it downplays the human as somehow evil. What happens if black people start killing animals, and the hardliners must attack the black people? Wouldn’t that be racist? Because the real endgame of hardline and deep ecology is to accept a Malthusian future where Epicurean society is limited by non-aggressive libertarian property rights, and that the demand for human expansion (think China) is evil. Hardline straight edge becomes useful idiots for white supremacists and ethnonationalists.
Graffiti is also important to straight edge. The “X” symbol is universally accepted in all punk subcultures as radicalism. Hardcore becomes “hXc,” straight edge becomes “sXe,” and Asian aesthetics becomes “aXa.” The formula follows to shorten how the word is associated with radical virtue ethics. The initials are graffitied all over town to know fellow members of the outsider subculture exist here. Nothing can stop the ever-present neighborhood of fellow “sXe” punks. Straight edge becomes a social change, and graffiti is its mark and reminder.
Straight edge and DIY are needed in this time of internet inflation. Many issues in punk that happened in 1990 are being reincarnated in 2023 and beyond. The same old cliches of hedonistic degenerates, irrational wignats, and woman-hating chauvinists have returned and entered the post spaces of what was once owned by basement show collectives. The eerie reactionary nature of being “red-pilled” and those who use 4chan slang are trying to assimilate to a previous hipster generation devoided of the internet.
Anti-liberalism is not the issue. We know race is real, that there is a difference between man and woman, that violence is natural, and capitalism is bad. These issues shouldn’t be shunned or ignored. The issue is about those who don’t know anything of the past of straight edge or the punk movement, and try to apply a cut-and-paste contrarian idea that one is now “incelcore,” or one follows Sam Hyde and his Millon Dollar Extreme cult, and that this is somehow in the tradition of being “punk.” This “anti-liberalism while being liberal” approach frames itself in the language of trying to “trigger” people. This set of semantics could only relate to the “anti-wokeness” agenda of the Republican party and the American left’s obsession with controlling the narrative. The children of these liberals are now trying to get into their parent’s interest in hardcore punk, and none of it is working. This is why we must make a true return to straight edge and DIY, and remind those who use 4chan slang are against virtue ethics.
Straight edge and DIY revolts against the semantics that liberal whites confine themselves to. Poor whites come to straight edge because they have seen their people die around them. Liberal whites are afraid to be sincere because then they would be called “racist.” The celebration of transhumanism and nonwhites taking over straight edge and DIY is another farce concocted by liberalism and the liberal whites who moved on from the subculture. This should not distract us from the faction of anti-woke Republicans who want to assimilate to the straight edge or punk standard. Democrats can’t even confront anymore and rather report someone to human resources if they discuss ideas of anti-liberalism. Republican or Democrat, both don’t belong in straight edge or DIY. The point is to attack back when someone breaks a code of ethics. Both sides fear their own shadows.
I don’t think the previous generation cares what their children do, or what semantics they use to boost an argument. There is no doubt there are some 60-year-old toadies who are still crying about the evil “Nazi shit” in 1980s punk, without any explanation, while working at The New York Times. Liberalism is the greatest threat against everything, and it is an obligation in straight edge to stop this state from killing animals, inducing drugs and alcohol to the rest of the country, and propagating the same “sexual revolution” lie of treating women as sexual commodities under the veneer of “feminism.” A clean body is a clean mind. Liberalism can only lead to suicide. The exploitation of every innocent body to the lie of transhumanism is the enemy.
Straight edge and DIY confront the enemy where there is no hero. We don’t do it out of peer pressure. We do it because it’s a calling to do good. It’s not condescending or self-righteous. Straight edge is a paternal action to make a better person out of someone. We confront because we care about others. We want to live the best life and lead by example. The opposition may cry about how evil “Antifa” is, but they will certainly change their mind when straight edge becomes that new phantom.
The confrontation should be about virtue ethics. It is honorable when correction is done. All political movements online need a bit of straight edge ethos to align truth with action. Otherwise, those who do wrong should be met with hostility. There is nothing more evil than a hypocrite. Once you meet them at an event or salon, judge their actions, and see where it goes.
This is a responsibility test for all intellects who mean what they say.