The Alt Right

The banter around the political grouping Alt-Right seems to be trending lately largely as a result of its association with Trumpism and more recently Hillary Clinton’s reference to this linkage. But what exactly is the Alt-Right?
I first became aware of the phrase Alt-Right about a year and a half ago and have since learnt much about the streams of ideas that surface in the political sphere that it dominates. What follows is a combination of my observations, realizations and opinions regarding this movement.

1. The Term ‘Alternative Right’ was first coined by the Paleo-Conservative thinker Paul Gottfried about a decade ago. However the derivative Alt-Right is more commonly used on the net. The term Dark Enlightenment is often employed synonymously with the Alt Right (read the work of Nick Land) but many Alt-Righters are not fond of the sinister implications of this designation.
2. Alt-Righters tend to be unified in their opposition to both illegal and in many cases legal immigration (which sets them apart from most conservatives). Many are hostile to liberal democracy in its current form, champion isolationism, oppose free trade and as a whole are guided by a philosophy of a rigidly defined Race Realism that is opposed to miscegenation.
3. Many Alt-Righters are White Nationalists and believe in a shared European identity that needs to be cultivated through education, political activism and ultimately the physical separation of race groups. Ingroup preference, it is argued, is followed by all ‘races’ therefore it should not be wrong if whites act accordingly.
4. The movement is very much driven by the philosophy of decline (as are some Conservatives) but their race based ‘solution’ to this realization sets them apart from mainstream conservative support. For Alt-Righters the rot has set in and Western Civilization as it stands is heading toward an abyss driven by incompetent politicians, social justice warriors political correctness and toxic liberalism.
5. Alt-Righters largely detest mainstream conservatives who they see as sell outs to a liberal establishment and thereby worthy of the crude epitaph cuckservative (a derivative of cuckold and conservative).
6. Leading voices in the Alt-Right include Jared Taylor (of American Renaissance and Richard Spencer (a promoter of the Identitarian Movement) however Alt-Righters are largely decentralized and exert most of their footprint through the internet which has proved to be fertile ground for many of its ‘techsavy’ ground troops.
7. It is incorrect to label Alt-Righters as Neo-Nazis, while some certainly align with this mindset the framework is broad enough that it includes Libertarians, traditionalists, paleo-conservatives and a host of other peripheral positions. It is not a Christian specific grouping and seems from what I have observed to contain many atheists, agnostic theists and European pagans. The commonality being an affection for European Civilization rather than a metaphysical belief system. Oddly enough many Alt-Righters are fairly liberal on social issues such as gay rights and abortion.
8. Alt Righters are very much opposed to Islam however many are not fans of Judaism and in particular the Jewish impact on Western Civilization either. In the mind of many Alt Righters the Jewish elites have supported a policy of liberalism in order to water down establishment based anti-Semitism (a thesis advanced by the controversial academic Kevin MacDonald). The Jew is seen as the internationalist whose ultimate impact on European Civilization is negative (borrowing from Henry Ford). This opinion however is not shared by all Alt-Righters.
9. Since it exists on the periphery the Alt-Right (just like the leftist radicalisms) has attracted more than its fair share of wackos, conspiracy nuts, hate mongers and marginal voices however it has several reflective thinkers who are well versed in philosophy, critical thinking and reasoned argument. Taylor comes across as such an individual as does the rising you tube star Millennial Woes.
10. Alt-Righters tend to support Trump although some have probably come to their positions from various source backgrounds (not necessarily Republican). Most are Millennials or Gen Xers but don’t necessarily hold to the same positions of nostalgia that defines Paleo-Conservatives such as Pat Buchanan.
11. While News Outlet Breitbart does at times articulate the Alt-Right position on some issues – particularly illegal immigration and Islamism – it is not seen as an Alt-Right publication by adherents to the movement.
12. Genetics plays a key role in Alt Right philosophy which views almost all issues through the prism of race as a hereditary construct.
13. While some Alt-Righters are white supremacists many are not preferring to couch their white Nationalism in the same veneer as any other type of nationalism viz. Asian, Black, Italian, Thai etc – That is the focus should be more about the in-group than the other.
14. Many Alt-Righters are anti-capitalist and most are opposed to free trade. In this respect they again differ from Conservatives. In fact on economic issues some of the anti-capitalism drivers are not too distinct from that of the Radical Left.
15. The Alt-Right is not (yet) a significant force in and of itself and would probably vanish into the political ether if it were not for the pro-Dem media and indeed the Clinton’s campaign to exaggerate their association with Trump.

As a Classic Liberal I myself take great issue with the Alt Right. Their fascination with race is wrong-headed, destructive and ultimately corrosive to Western Civilization. In a sense they are advocating a modern version of Fascism that is Utopic in structure and at odds with the fundamental tenants of Burkean Conservatism. I am not convinced that the Alt-Right is even a philosophy of the right but more a mutation of identity politics, pseudo-science and a national socialism. However they do raise some valid points about the collapse of traditional structure within the nation state, top down social engineering and the challenges to our value system brought about by ill-conceived government policy. While I wouldn’t give the movement more credit than they deserve a free and open discussion of some of these ideas (however harsh they are) should be part of our own self-reflection, not necessarily for acceptance but to increase our propensity for informed decision.

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