One of the downsides of Donald Trump being elected to the presidency is that the Alt-Right has become emboldened as a result of Trump’s surprising victory.
For instance, this portion of a New York Times article illustrates what an emboldened Alt-Right looks like:
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) November 21, 2016
Here are five things to know about the Alt-Right.
1. What are the origins of the Alt-Right? As Ben Shapiro has noted, the Alt-Right first arose out of the throes of Gamergate, where “leftist reviewers saw fit to stifle and savage any video game (or science fiction and fantasy book) that didn’t hew to radical leftist tropes.”
“As a way of trolling such leftists, many anti-SJW bloggers began using deliberately offensive language, then celebrating themselves for violating taboo,” writes Shapiro. “This has carried over to support for Donald Trump – many of these same people think that Trump’s unfortunate habit of saying terrible things is just high politics’ version of their own trolling, that he’s standing up to the regime of political correctness.”
2. What is the philosophy of the Alt-Right? The Alt-Right’s philosophy can be best described as the white nationalist identity politics. One of the Alt-Right leaders, Vox Day, has stated, “The Alt Right believes identity > culture > politics.” Vox Day has also referred to a notion of “genetic heritage.” Richard Spencer, who runs the National Policy Institute, has referred to whites as “children of the sun.” Evan Thomas, who attended a recent Alt-Right conference, said the term “identitarian” is more accurate in describing themselves than Alt-Right.
In other words, the Alt-Right rests on the belief that race is intertwined with culture and identity–basically, a form of white identity politics.
They are also anti-Semitic. As Michael Knowles detailed in the Daily Wire, the Alt-Right tends to mark Jews with the (((insert name here))) to signify their belief that “all Jewish surnames echo throughout history.” They also feel no remorse about the Holocaust.
3. The Alt-Right is not conservative. One of the pervading myths about the Alt-Right is that they’re in the same realm as conservative philosophy. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as the Alt-Right openly scorns conservatism. Vox Day has declared, “The Alt Right is an ALTERNATIVE to the mainstream conservative movement in the USA.” They also rail against free trade and object to the pro-life position. The Federalist‘s Cathy Young explains the position of Alymer Fisher at the Alt-Right website RadixJournal:
If you think you know where this is going, you’re right. Fisher argues that, firstly, the pro-life position is “dysgenic,” since it encourages breeding by “the least intelligent and responsible” women who are most likely to have abortions and who are “disproportionately Black, Hispanic, and poor”; and secondly, pro-life claims “rely on principles we generally reject,” namely “equality” and “human rights.”
He also points out that “some of the most pro-life politicians are those most excited about adopting children from Africa” and that pro-lifers “are among the conservatives most likely to denounce the ‘racism’ of their political opponents,” which makes them “the ultimate cuckservatives.” (If you’ve been living happily under a rock, that’s the alt-right slur for conservatives deemed complicit in the betrayal or “cuckolding” of white civilization.) For the record, I support legal abortion, but I shouldn’t even have to say that I’ll take pro-life “cuckservatives” over the RadixJournal crowd anytime.
The Alt-Right also promotes a more collectivist mindset, as The Federalist‘s Robert Tracinski notes that the Alt-Right “says that your most personal, individual, deeply meaningful decisions—such as whom you marry and have children with—should be determined by some larger social program based on group identity.”
“That’s why they are openly opposed to free markets in favor of economic nationalism: this is an anti-freedom, anti-individualist movement,” writes Tracinski.
But most importantly, the entire premise of the Alt-Right is antithetical to the notion of conservatism: conservatism is built on Judeo-Christian values and promotes freedom of the individual who can pursue his or her own dreams regardless of race. Conservatism spurns the notion of tribalism in favor of the individual, while the Alt-Right favors a collective form of tribalism–another form of Hobbesian theory that eventually leads to tyranny.
4. The Alt-Right is a counterreaction to the left’s race-baiting. The Federalist‘s David Marcus writes that the left has published numerous articles with headlines like “White Men Must be Stopped: The Very Future of Mankind Depends on It,” “The White Guy Problem” and “Dear White People: Here’s a List of Things We’d Wish You’d Stop Doing.” When one side constantly rails against the notion of white privilege and attempts to make whites feel guilty, the result is “a belief among a growing number of whites in the concepts of ‘white genocide’ and ‘racial realism.'” In other words, the more the left rails against whites as an entire tribe, the more likely whites will congregate in their own tribe to counteract the left’s tribalism, and the rise of the Alt-Right is a reflection of that.
Tribalism begets tribalism.
5. The Alt-Right doesn’t consider Trump and Steve Bannon as part of the Alt-Right. In the New York Times piece, Alt-Right leader Peter Brimelow is quoted as saying, “Trump and Steve Bannon are not alt-right people,” but did say that they “opportunistically seized” the issues of immigration and political correctness “to mobilize white voters.”
Spencer noted that while “white identity” is central to “the Trump movement,” the Alt-Right views Trump “as too beholden to Israel.”
“They do not see any reason to start a trade war with China, and they are not necessarily opposed to the Iran nuclear deal,” reports The New York Times.
What this means is that Trump and Breitbart may not directly align with the Alt-Right, but they share a commonality with the Alt-Right and pander to the odious movement–which will only embolden them going forward.