There’s lots of talk about the “Alt-Right” in the media these days.
Thing is, every pundit I look to on the Left seems to know precisely what that phrase means… without actually defining it clearly.
I suspect most of them are simply projecting whatever they want onto it. Very few, if any at all, have actually rolled up their sleeves and worked to understand the true cultural implications of this rise of the Alt-Right.
It’s not easy to pin down.
Even the few people I’ve spoken with who identify as “Alt-Right” have difficulty pinning it down to one thing.
And, as one member I’ve interviewed suggests, as you’ll see in a moment, that’s mostly by design.
So, to try to make sense of this new cultural phenomenon, I set out to get some answers. I’ll present to you my findings in a moment.
Before we get to what the Alt-Right is, though, it seems appropriate to first point out that, in many ways, the Alt-Right is very much a creation of the Left.
(Cue the gasps!)
Of course, nobody likes hearing that they’re partly responsible for creating precisely what they hate the most, but on a very real level, it’s true.
Just as the Leftist media was blindsided by the fact that Trump had so much support, they’ve also been completely oblivious to the Frankenstein they’ve been helping to slowly build over the years.
As one Alt-Rightist I interviewed yesterday, Colin Grunwald, has written: “The Alt-Right is the Left’s Godzilla. They tried to nuke all opposition to the Left but it just made us stronger and forced us to take comfort in the bosom of other marginalized groups — censorship has funny a way of strengthening taboo beliefs.”
It’s not that difficult to understand, though: What you resist persists and what you feed grows stronger.
Let’s take the latest example…
The media has turned the recent National Policy Institute’s absurd meeting in D.C. into an international sensation and its mouthpiece — Richard Spencer — into a bonafide celebrity.
As NPR pointed out: “About 300 people — split nearly evenly between conference attendees and protesters of the conference outside — were on hand at the downtown D.C. event.”
That’s 150 people. And although the meeting was about one-tenth the size of the average American high school prom, judging by the coverage alone, one on the outside looking in would be forgiven to think the NPI had people throwing up ‘sieg heils’ in every zip code in America.
But, no… 150 people.
“To put that into context,” David Harsanyi writes in The Federalist, “there were well over 150 people at thousands of individual churches and temples across the DC area this weekend praying for peace on Earth. In this country, you could pull together 150 people for a meeting about anything, actually. Thousands of ‘UFO enthusiasts’ got together in the Arizona desert last year in hopes of not being mass abducted by space aliens.
Yet, the media had to make sure everyone felt afraid that a Jewish man and an Asian woman who calls herself “Tia Tequila” did the ‘sieg heil’ at a conference center in the nation’s capital.
Because, of course, narrative matters far more than perspective.
Such is the irony of mass, centralized media. They often manifest things they don’t like into reality by giving them the very thing which makes them grow — attention. Sometimes they do it in the name of spreading awareness because they’re genuinely afraid. Other times, though, they do it because, again, it fits their narrative (namely, in this case, identity politics, which, to the Left’s horror, is now being embraced by the Right). Oftentimes, it’s both.
“The finer points of the media,” Cody Wilson, inventor of the 3D-printed Liberator pointed out in a recent interview with Reason magazine, “is that they don’t wait for the actual terror of the event to happen, they jump into the situation and complete it themselves in this nervous anticipation.
“Take the Liberator, for example. Once the Liberator was finished, no one waited for terrorists to bring it onto trains, journalists smuggled it onto trains and then took the pictures and put them up on the Daily Mail.
“Same thing in Israel, journalists snuck it into Israeli Parliament. Incredible. This was predicted in the media theories of Jean Baudrillard, they don’t wait for the organic natural event to complete itself. They’ll jump into the void and make it happen. So the media cannot help themselves. If I can get something 80% of the way, they will take it to its completion. And then a bit further than that. They can be depended upon to do this.”
Hence, the growth of the Alt-Right.
“Why would the Los Angeles Times,” Harsanyi ponders, “give the GQ treatment to a guy who ‘heils’ victory and quotes Nazi propaganda onstage in German, as Richard Spencer did? I suppose it’s the same reason every major publication gave David Duke, who was polling at 3-4 percent in his Louisiana Senate race all year, their undivided attention. (What am I talking about? We’re still hearing about Duke on a daily basis.) It’s to create the impression that they matter.”
“Surely,” Harsanyi goes on, “one story letting us know a former Klansman with no constituency is a Trump fan would have sufficed. After all, the father of Orlando ISIS shooter, also fan of the Taliban, was a Hillary supporter. White supremacists like Trump in the same way Hamas liked Barack Obama. Is ISIS or Hamas a bigger or smaller threat than the NPI? Does it matter? Or is it just a way of connecting candidates — all worthy of criticism — with support they have no control over?”
But, of course, none of the glamorous coverage of the NPI and Richard Spencer actually sheds much light on what the Alt-Right truly is and how it was created — which is, it seems, far more complicated and multifaceted than the media would like everyone to believe.
So let’s dig in. What is the Alt-Right?
“I am a member of the Alt-Right,” Grunwald writes on the Liberty Machine blog. “This stands for ‘Alternative Right’ meaning the alternative to the fake Right we see paraded on FOX News — otherwise known as ‘Cuck-servatives’ or RINO Republicans (Republican in name only). Hillary Clinton however decided to out us as paranoid conspiracy theorists and racists in an effort to attack Trump, as many Alt-Rights support Trump. The Alt-Right may or may not consist of:
-Anarcho Capitalists (me)
-Conspiracy Theorists (me)
-Religious Conservatives (not me)
-“Race Realists” (not me) <— this is the group Hillary is targeting
“Why all these disparate groups under one tent? Because the Left banned us all from everywhere else. We were censored at every opportunity public and private alike. Alt-Rights debate any topic, conspiracy theory or ideology rigorously. Since there is no censorship naturally certain divergent marginals have joined the movement.
“Truth be told,” Grunwald goes on, “there are some ‘racists’ (trolls) in the Alt-Right — we don’t attempt to deny their presence or censor them however it does not mean we agree with them, we just allow for them to speak their mind (I find their arguments distasteful and unmoving personally).
“Think of it this way — for the last few decades the Left has taken over academia, media and recently politics too while completely shutting down and shouting down all opposition. Did the Left think think all their enemies and all that anti-Left sentiment just disappeared? No, it went somewhere. It went into seedy chat rooms and conspiracy web sites while granted a new voice on alternative podcasts and YouTube videos.”
Remember: Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
You cannot make a viewpoint you dislike disappear by shouting it into submission. It will, as we see now, simply go underground and grow in ways that will scare its opponents. And parts of it, due to the fester of the unexpressed, will develop extremely distasteful and ugly positions, often simply out of resentment.
The Alt-Right, it seems, is here to stay. And the Left would be wise to understand the role they played in its rise.
And in order to do that, they must attempt to understand what the Alt-Right really is — and, more importantly, why it is at all.
Yesterday, as mentioned, I interviewed Colin Grunwald, a member of the Alt-Right. Obviously, just because I, as a journalist, engaged him in conversation does not mean I agree with everything he says.
It’s a pity this needs to be said, but, unfortunately, these days, it does.
Empathy, after all, doesn’t mean you should only seek to understand those whose cause you are sympathetic to. It also means listening to those you disagree with, too. Otherwise, it’s just faux empathy, wrapped in an agenda.
That said, here’s what I learned.
What is the Alt-Right?
with Colin Grunwald
CHRIS: OK. So the term is still fuzzy to me. What is the Alt-Right?
GRUNWALD: I am wondering on what “level” you want an answer because there are several different answers to your question as well as parallel narratives when it comes to the Alt-Right.
It isn’t just one thing or one movement… or a movement at all per se…
CHRIS: OK. Well, first, does the NPI and Richard Spencer, in your opinion, represent the Alt-Right?
GRUNWALD: The short answer is no, I don’t think the NPI or Richard Spencer represents the Alt-Right. At best he/they represent a branch of it.
It’s hard for humans to understand a movement that is strictly defined by what it is against as opposed to what it is for.
So I would say the following…
The Alt-Right can only be defined by certain common threads among its various branches. I will list them…
1. A complete disdain for Marxism, Cultural Marxism, Leftism and Progressivism (all of these are considered various forms of attempting to implement communism by the Alt-Right). Oh, and socialism too.
And by disdain I don’t just mean a disagreement, but like pretty much a desire to completely eradicate and eliminate the threat.
So that’s what it is “against”.
However there are other themes as well which I will list…
2. An understanding that life is brutal, tribal, chaotic and difficult. It is not just a “fun ride”. By whimpifying men and society in general through cushy “matriarchal” thinking, we’ve all been taught that life is basically good and humans are all part of this egalitarian experiment called “The West” which has “diversity” as its greatest core value.
We reject this notion and further reject the notion that Anarchists have that removing the government will automatically pave the way for peace and prosperity. While I think most Alts are generally anti-government or at least highly suspicious of it (many like myself embrace decentralization and small nation states)…
We are not willing to toss away national borders that could be used as a prelude to invasion and sectarian violence. Additionally, Right Libertarians like myself want welfare ended for migrants and refugees, at the very least, with hardcore expectations attached to them of which there are currently none.
The base state of human behavior is essentially animalism not “peace and love.” In the absence of capitalism and growth, sectarian and racial violence are the norm, not the aberration. Libertarians and Anarchists that are left-leaning refuse to acknowledge this and instead are selling “Socialism Light.”
Culture is the backdoor for marxist philosophy to creep in because culture and economics are actually vitally linked.
Lastly, regarding the NPI and Richard Stevens — they are running with the national socialist model which is sadly reactionary and yes, quite racist too. I don’t embrace this model.
CHRIS: OK. So you said the Alt-Right can be subdivided into two camps. Can you elaborate?
GRUNWALD: Sure. Cultural Supremacists (me) and Racial Supremacists (NPI and Stevens).
The racial supremacists, in my opinion, broke the cardinal rule of the Alt-Right which is never to let your enemy’s define you. Because he went out and basically said that the Alt-Right is White Nationalism and National-Socialism and attempted to speak for everyone, he and the NPI broke the cardinal rule and are essentially running with their own branch which I do not and will not ever support.
Primarily because National Socialism is still socialism which is violent collectivism and is antithetical to Westernized Democratic Societies based on negative-only rights.
While I concede that our Westernized system was in fact founded by white males, I do not wish to live in a racially homogenous society.
I DO wish however for the Left to get a big fat black eye and shut up once and for all about racism/sexism/homophobia/xenophobia/anti-semitism/etc. and just let people work out their differences individually using the NAP and other ethical codes which must be taught now to replace the “positive rights” activism the Left has brainwashed people into thinking represents true “justice.”
CHRIS: Got it. Thanks for talking with us.
[Ed. note: What do you think? What’s your take on the Alt-Right? Email it: Chris@lfb.org.]
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today