As one of the leading antagonists of the so-called alt-right, I’m often asked to define the movement. Like all movements, the alt-right actually has several strains – they’re an agglomeration of self-appointed radical culture warriors, disenchanted paleoconservatives, and open anti-Semites and white supremacists. They’re united by a distaste for what they consider to be “political correctness,” although they universally seem to mistake “PC” for “not being a complete ass.” And they consider any resistance to actual racism and anti-Semitism to be “cuck” cowardice and social justice warrior whining.
Many of the most public members of the alt-right are leftovers from Gamergate, the scandal that rocked the gaming community in which 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. 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. He isn’t. He’s just a jerk. And so are they, for following along. The conflation between tweeting hook-nosed Jew cartoons at Jews and fighting against the scourge of political correctness, which prevents honest discussions of serious issues, actually damages the cause of political incorrectness.
The meme magic warriors, in their ardent desire to “trigger” all of their enemies, have become accustomed to utilizing racist and anti-Semitic imagery regularly in their correspondence and comments. But it’s impossible to distinguish the “mischievous, dissident, trolly” gas chamber posters and David Duke. I know, since I’ve been targeted by all of them, including Duke. And many of the anti-Semites and racists are surely real. Milo Yiannopoulos, popularizer of the alt-right, is the same fellow who tweeted me a picture of a black baby on the day my son was born because, as an anti-Trump conservative, I’m a “cuck” – a man who likes watching his wife have sex with black men. And Milo is one of the “mainstream” alt-right guys – Fox News spent time distinguishing him from the bigots on the alt-right this morning.
Milo, along with Allum Bokhari, wrote a ridiculous piece talking-up the alt-right at Breitbart.com, which has become, according to new Trump campaign chairman Steve Bannon, a “platform for the alt-right.” They claimed that the intellectual foundation of the alt-right rested in the notion that “culture is inseparable from race.” Foreign races include non-whites and Jews, who many alt-righters believe are Fifth Column outsiders inherently connected to the international left and its agenda. They also named intellectual influences ranging from Richard Spencer (“Our dream is a new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans. It would be a new society based on very different ideals than, say, the Declaration of Independence”), Steve Sailer (“Since Jewish predilections play such a massive role in the media, it’s crucial to understand these biases”), and paleoconservative godfather Pat Buchanan.
All of these people are united by a tribal view of Western civilization: Western civilization isn’t rooted in creed, but in nationalism and European ethnicity. To that end, many of them are warm toward powerful centralized government designed to protect the tribe; they admire Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, for example, because he represents a hypermasculine defense of his own tribe. By the same token, they support isolationist foreign policy, since we must hunker down behind our walls in order to protect the tribe. And finally, they oppose the notion of natural God-given individual rights as described by the founding fathers, because all rights only adhere via the tribe.
Some more mainstream conservatives are sometimes championed by the alt-right – conservatives who oppose high levels of immigration from cultures that have no history of Judeo-Christian values, for example, are likely to be cheered by the alt-right. So are conservatives who see jihadism as a serious threat to Western civilization. But the race-centric, big government approach of the alt-right distinguishes it from traditional conservatism. Traditional conservatism, as I’ve written before, rests on the basis of God-given rights, personal responsibility, and limited government; traditional conservatism believes in e pluribus unum. Alt-right philosophy forcibly rejects virtually all of this: God-given rights accrue thanks to race-based European culture, personal responsibility only works when ethnoculture remains monochromatic (hence the alt-right’s rejection of personal economic responsibility when it comes to free trade), and limited government must be trashed in order to provide for the tribe. E pluribus unum is a fancy fiction, in the alt-right philosophy.
It’s crucial to understand the alt-right because of its newfound impact under Donald Trump. There’s a reason Trump has gone soft on anti-Semitic attacks on his journalistic opponents – as alt-righters say, he’s fond of dog whistling to them. There’s a reason alt-righters including racists like David Duke celebrate his ascendance and view it as the crowning moment for the alt-right movement. Trump may not be alt-right, but he’s certainly winking at them, and they know it.
Their philosophy, however, is totally foreign to conservatism. It supposedly champions Western civilization, but in pretending to do so, it tears away at its most foundational principles in favor of a white tribalism that provides an ugly counterpart to the left’s racial divisiveness.