Recently, I wrote a piece at this website detailing my own experiences with the political movement known as the “Alt Right,” and explaining why its trajectory since its high water mark in 2016 has made me regard it as a stillborn mess. Moreover, I predicted that the movement would degenerate even further into obscurity and ignominy, as President Trump’s mainstream nationalism removed its one comparative advantage over other movements.
In fact, I argued, President Trump’s success at mainstreaming nationalism would eventually create a schism that would separate the alt right from him permanently:
Like communists who accused FDR of being a fascist because he left the American capitalist system intact, so too will the Alt-Right eventually brand President Trump a Social Justice Warrior because he failed to usher in the world of “The Man in the High Castle.”
Which brings me, at last, to the case of Robert Bowers. Along with apparently being the human equivalent of a rabid, man-eating cur, the Pittsburgh shooter is notable for another reason: he was an Alt Right sympathizer who hated President Trump from the get-go.
Why? Because Trump was a “globalist,” according to Bowers, rather than a nationalist. Bowers evidently believed that America could not be made great again, unless Jews were ethnically cleansed from the country entirely. Trump, who has a Jewish daughter and multiple Jewish grandchildren, obviously was not going to accede to this, and so Bowers despised him as a usurper of true nationalism. In other words, Bowers did exactly what I predicted the Alt Right at large would do, and it led him down the path of barbaric, soul-searing slaughter.
Make no mistake: This affair is the end of the Alt Right. It’s all fun and games when Nazism (or ironic imitation of it) is seen as a meme-driven online phenomenon with no real world consequences. But when people have died as a result of one man’s absorption into Alt Right echo chambers, that tolerance will evaporate. Many will likely be tarred unfairly as a result: The free speech absolutist social network GAB—which, contrary to media belief, is not a white supremacist company, even though Bowers maintained an account on it—has already felt the sting of this phenomenon. So have people who have criticized George Soros, or argued against letting in huge swathes of unvetted refugees, thanks to the irresponsibility and political opportunism of the media.
But, even if the “Alt Right” lives as a smear, it has died as a movement that can get a hearing in the public square. In the final irony of the Alt Right’s existence, it died by the hands of Robert Bowers, and will share a grave with 11 innocent Jews.
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