Alt-Right Agonistes

Some months ago, Communist Party USA chairman John Bachtell endorsed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders for president. The announcement received little fanfare and one is hard pressed to find any mention of it in the conventional press. Though the story continues to get a bit of play in conservative news sources, it’s mentioned mainly as a lament over the lack of fair play from the media.

2000px-SMirC-worry.svg_Why doesn’t the press care about Hillary’s far-left endorsements in the same way it obsesses over Trump’s approval from sketchy characters on the right? To ask the question is to answer it.

Consider: While David Duke’s endorsement of Trump is still touted as “defining,” Bachtell’s endorsement of Clinton passed almost without comment—or even notice. Just this week, Trump’s running-mate Mike Pence was still taking questions about Duke from members of his own party during a visit to Congress. Many #NeverTrump conservatives have happily borrowed the Left’s charge of secret racism against Trump, while passing over Hillary’s endorsement from Bachtell and, indeed, her own endorsement from a Klansman. Some of these purported conservatives are happy to play ball with the Left if they can take the field as the team of “good conservatives” while selling out as probable “deplorables” other rival conservatives who merely differ with them in their choice of presidential candidates or in their more manful refusal to play the Left’s game of “find the racist.” Since these conservatives don’t like Trump and proving they were right about his inability to win is everything, it’s “any weapon at hand,” as we at American Greatness have noted on other occasions.

Leaving aside the virtue signaling of the Good-Boy Right, the conservative reaction to media hypocrisy is a familiar and tired lament. Aren’t they tired of the decades-long game of pointing out to Leftists their hypocrisy and bias? The Left doesn’t care if it is rational or consistent. It cares only about power.

So fringe elements of the Left are safely dismissed by all of the respectable people. Why? Well, because all of the respectable people say they should be dismissed. Not a problem. Nothing to see here.

At the same time we are led to believe by the Leftists and their enablers on the Right that right-wing fringe elements say something sinister and disturbing about conservatives generally. The enabling Right re-package this line in exchange for status and policing rights in their intellectual ghetto. The #NeverTrumps sidling up to the Left for political expediency think they are buying indulgences for the future. But the Left will get back to denouncing them as racists when it suits them. Count on it.

Yet missing from all this conservative outrage over the imbalance in the media is this realization: The Democrat Party is now so Left that it has absorbed anything that might be called “alt-Left.” This is the real reason why you don’t see references to it in the mainstream press. The closest thing to an “alt-Left” is the Occupy Wall Street movement and Black Lives Matter, both of which are  beloved by the media and feted by Democratic politicians. Occupy may have looked (and smelled) fringy, but the Democrats accepted the movement’s premises from the start. And you need only recall Democrats’ fawning apologies for saying “all lives matter” to understand how quickly and thoroughly Black Lives Matter colonized liberal thought.

Now take a look at CPUSA’s website. It’s hard to distinguish American Communist rhetoric from Democratic Party talking points. And as a matter of fact, in the comments section you will find old-school Reds grousing about their movement shilling for the Democrats. The response from the CPUSA apparatchiks is entirely sensible. Why not shill for the Democrats? It’s working.

Has it ever occurred to the professional right, always so vigilant against the charge of racism, that the mere existence of an “alt-right” is clear evidence of the difference between “white nationalism” and American conservatism? They’re awfully eager to disavow and denounce and distance themselves from people who seem to depart from the conventional wisdom. And like the scapegoat that bears the sins of the many they are identified and driven into the wilderness never to be heard from again.

But why give these people undue attention at all? Why lend credence to Clinton’s mendacious narrative?

Most of the people who now occasionally read alt-right material are not the hateful racists or nihilists of Hillary Clinton’s imagination; they are disillusioned conservatives looking for a more muscular defense of the country and the ideas that they love. That they now find themselves flirting with some of the darker haunts on the Internet speaks to the failures of conservatism. Instead of pointing a finger of disgust and blame at them, it would be well for conservatism to spend some time in front of a mirror.

The reflexive hysteria from the “respectable” right in response to Clinton’s allegations only magnifies the power and reach of the worst elements of the alt-right. And for what? It’s not as though conservatives who play the disavowal game will earn any lasting credibility with the Left. If anything, they’re bringing even more attention to an unworthy fringe that has more in common with the Left than with the notions of limited government and the rule of law that characterize historic American conservatism. It may even occasion some of our more spirited young people to wonder whether there’s something more to be found in the verboten liquor cabinet of the alt-right. High-proof alcohol beats lite beer every time.

Soon after Hillary delivered her “alt-right” speech, many respectable and well-meaning conservatives began circulating a very creepy article from a fringe journal celebrating abortion as a way to keep the surplus population of minorities in check. The article was passed around as a warning to Trump supporters  that getting mixed up with the Republican presidential nominee was tantamount to inviting people like the author of that detestable essay to the table. I can’t tell you how many times that article appeared with a “tsk, tsk” in my news feed and in my inbox from friends concerned that I was throwing in with people like this. Me? Why? I’ve been on the record as opposing abortion even longer than I’ve been engaged in the active study of politics. And one of the reasons I have opposed it from the beginning is that abortion has its roots in the Leftist and Progressive eugenics movement. To my well-meaning friends, I suggested they forward this to their abortion-defending Leftist friends. They might learn something about the disgusting places their logic leads. Heck, even Jonah Goldberg was able to chronicle the ways that racist ideologies inspired progressive policy ideas on abortion. Surely my smart friends know better.

Do people really think this phenomenon of an alt-right is new or that it was brought about by the rise of Donald Trump? It is not new and Trump did not inspire it. In fact, the Left started the identity politics game and now they’re shocked that some white people, in response, want to play it too. It’s hard to get that genie back in the bottle. But no serious person is looking to the alt-right fringes for guidance and no serious candidate for office is soliciting their support. Not even Trump.

The growth of alt-right material and the movement it seeks to begin has to do, primarily, with the growth of social media and technology. And it feeds on denunciations from weak-sister, concern-troll conservatives who fear for their respectability. Nut cases like the author of the aforementioned evil article have always been out there. They just have a bigger platform now—like everyone else with a smartphone. In this respect they are no different than the “alt-Left” including Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and the CPUSA.

But, again, there is no “alternative-Left” to speak of since it actually has a presidential candidate promoting its agenda.

Meanwhile, death-wish Republicans and conservatives take it from the Sharptons, Jacksons, BLM protestors, Clintons, Bidens, Obamas and Warrens of the world when they are insulted in the vilest of terms. When the only appropriate answer to some of these charges has been an obscenity beginning with F and ending in you, we have instead called for “dialogue” and civility. But the people leveling these charges against ordinary Americans are unworthy of dialogue because dialogue is not one of their objectives. They lie. They seek only power and they don’t care how they get it. If that helps minorities, great. If it hurts them . . . oh, well. It’s all in the service of “the cause,” which always boils down to Democrat power.

That’s what you get when you assume that your side is, de facto, good. They believe they are standing on the “right side of history” in an age when “debate is over.” They trap us with our reasonableness and our ability to be offended by their insults to our dignity every time.

What if we just didn’t care what they said about us? What if, instead of trying to answer their absurd charges, we laughed? This is the conclusion of more than a small number of young conservatives. And who can blame them?

This new generation of conservatives is disgusted with our lame movement. It doesn’t win anything. It doesn’t even stand up for the people it purports to represent. It folds. It collapses. It moans.

Given that, and the degree to which we have allowed Progressivism to unleash identity politics without a manful response, is it a wonder, really, that some unwelcome sirens begin to have some appeal to the young? Is lashing out at the sirens or at these young people the better part of wisdom? Or might it not be smarter to offer something better?

If we can blame liberalism for what’s happened to the black family and to so many unassimilated minority families of other backgrounds, it is fairly clear to me that much of the blame for the decay of lower to middle class white families falls to conservatives. Did we think that the rot would stop with Democratic constituencies? And why didn’t we care harder about what Democrats were doing to them in the first place? What did we do to stand up for their interests and for the thriving of their communities? Negotiate for infinite tax cuts? Demand free trade at all costs? Shrug our shoulders when they were patronized or insulted as racists? Accept the premises of identity politics for minorities while telling lower class whites that they need to check their “privilege”? Whimper when the schools were turned over to incompetents and radicals and then put our own kids in private schools? Allow the universities to rot and tell our own kids to just go get business degrees?

We didn’t defend our country. We whined about it while we looked out for ourselves.

About Julie Ponzi

Julie Ponzi is Senior Editor of American Greatness. She holds an M.A. in political philosophy and American politics from the Claremont Graduate University. She was an Earhart Fellow and a Bradley Foundation Fellow while studying at Claremont and also earned a Publius Fellowship from The Claremont Institute. Formerly the Director of Academic Programs at the Claremont Institute, she also taught American politics at Azusa Pacific University. Her writing has appeared in the Claremont Review of Books, The Online Library of Law and Liberty, The Columbus Dispatch, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The Washington Times. She was also a regular and long-time contributor to the Ashbrook Center's blog, No Left Turns. She lives in California. You can follow her on Twitter at @JuliePonzi

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10 responses to “Alt-Right Agonistes”

  1. Remnant conservatives prefer to tell working and middle class whites to “vote for us, we hate you.” It’s a difficult narrative to peddle these days. As a group, remnant conservatives are so used to jumping through flaming hoops they make circus poodles look bad. Beltway Republicans culturally appropriated Stockholm Syndrome from Sweden some time ago.

  2. Take a good hard look at David Brooks. For in 20 years from now, that is what Ben Shapiro will sound like.

    • Brooks, Goldberg, Stephens, Shapiro, etc. all what I call Kristol’s Insidious Minions.

  3. I suspect the message of the Alt Right upsets a lot of people because it invokes what terror management theorists in psychology call “mortality salience,” namely, reminders of vulnerability, failure and death. Look up terror management theory and see the experimental support it has – you will see human behavior in a new light once you absorb the theory’s implications.

    Specifically, people have finally started to wake up from the fantasy world of the Radical Enlightenment in the 18th Century. This sweeping social experiment – based on pseudoscience about equality, democracy, feminism, human fungibility, the mind as a blank slate, cosmopolitanism, borderlessness, mass immigration, miscegenation and trying to erase the biological distinctions between men and women – has come crashing down around us because it conflicts with man’s nature. “Social progress” can never happen because human nature doesn’t change; and “social justice” remains forever beyond reach because society’s losers, misfits, kooks, weaklings, defectives, scolds, utopians and degenerates have conflicting grievances that they can’t reconcile, especially when it comes to dividing up the shrinking pile of spoils produced by generations of white people’s labor.

    In other words, the Alt Right has rediscovered and articulated for our generation the essential tragedy of the human condition. It has become the voice of experience, wisdom and maturity in a world full of delusions that we can no longer sustain. I have my doubts as to whether Donald Trump has really stumbled across this perspective, much less that he knows what to do with it. But thanks to the inadvertent attention he has drawn to the Alt Right, American politics in the 2020’s could look radically different from the nonsense that has damaged the United States for the past few generations.

    • Interesting! But Alt-Right is surging because of developments outside of political theory or philosophy.

      Big advances in genetic research have placed a floor under the previously easy to marginalize “race realists”. There is now scientific basis for a firm “no” to the disparate impact architecture the Left is building within our institutions. Previously, it was a “no” of preference.

      Secondly, the Alt-Right is very young. These kids, both white *and* non-white, have been educated under an explicitly pro-racial framework. The framework may be anti-white, but it takes approximately 10 seconds for white kids to realize, wait a second, the race affirming logic also applies to me. And more than a few non-white kids agree. Kids by nature think in terms of the positive, the affirmative, what lies ahead. There is no lament regarding demographic change. But there is also no “race blind” idealism. It’s not what they’ve been taught.

  4. Excellent Julie. You nailed it again with concision.

  5. The alt-right is still being defined. yes, there are some part of it that are white nationalist. But there are other I believe larger parts that are there as anti-SJW. There are large parts of it that are anti-globalist. There are large parts of it that are there because the alt-right FIGHTS instead of tut tut to everybody. It is emerging that there are at least two large veins of alt-right thought, alt-white and alt-west. Really, most of us just want to save western civilization.

  6. We didn’t defend our country. We whined about it while we looked out for ourselves.

    just as was foretold more than a hundred years ago.

    “It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s

    rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent.

    Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves any-

    thing. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the

    progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount

    of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What

    was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted

    principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to

    resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its

    timidity, and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be

    denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is

    merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards

    perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always

    advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its

    savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, in-

    deed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of

    expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk

    nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being

    guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always — when about to enter a

    protest — very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to

    stop, that its “bark is worse than its bite,” and that it only means

    to save its manners by enacting its decent role of resistance. The

    only practical purpose which it now subserves in American politics is

    to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to

    prevent its becoming pursy and lazy from having nothing to whip.”

  7. People need OWNERSHIP – the secure feeling that the fruits of their labors (hard work and sacrifice) will be theirs to command, not stolen and redistributed.

    White males have many reasons to be angry. What we are left with in terms of future? Laughable.

  8. Julie misses one important idea.

    The establishment right has no interest in winning. They are happy being the Washington Generals. Being the heel. They get paid if they lose. They get jobs as lobbyists. The Kochs and other right wing oligarchs take care of them regardless of what happens wrt ideology.

    I have seen no proof that any of their ideological posturing actually means anything on the job.