Jeffrey A. Tucker – The Prehistory of the Alt-right

Reading “How I Left the Left” is a solid reminder that there’s not much intellectual heft remaining on that side of the fence. If an ideology sets out to isolate the locus of evil in people’s very identity, it is pretty well spent. This, in addition to the failure of the socialist model everywhere it has tried, explains why the Left has suffered so much at the polls and now faces a serious backlash in campus and public life.

Here we have a lineage of non-Marxist, non-leftist brand of rightist but still totalitarian thinking.

With the failure of action comes reaction, and now the Western world is dealing with something far less familiar to most people: the rise of the alt-right as the alternative. It is attractive to some young people due to its taboo-breaking, rebel ethos that so easily inflames teachers and protectors of civic conventions.

The movement is more than that, however. It has a real philosophical and political history, one that stands in violent opposition to the idea of individual liberty. It has been largely suppressed since World War II and, because of that, most people assumed fascism (and its offshoots) was gone from the earth.

As a result, this generation has not been philosophically prepared to recognize the tradition, the signs, the implications, and the political application of the ideology so many are stumbling to embrace.

Here is a prehistory of what we call the alt-right today, which is probably better described as a 21st-century incarnation of what in the 19th century would have been called right-Hegelianism. I’m skipping over many political movements (in Spain, France, and Italy), and clownish leaders like George Lincoln Rockwell, Oswald Mosley, and Fr. Coughlin, to get right to the core ideas that form something like a school of thought which developed over a century. 

Here we have a lineage of non-Marxist, non-leftist brand of rightist but still totalitarian thinking, developed in fanatical opposition to bourgeois freedom.

1820: Georg Friedrich Hegel published Elements of the Philosophy of Right, which spelled out the political implications of his “dialectical idealism,” an outlook that departed dramatically from the liberal tradition by completely abstracting from human experience to posit warring life forces operating beyond anyone’s control to shape history. It turns out that the politics of this view amounted to “the state is the march of God through the world.” He looked forward to some age in the future that would realize the apotheosis of State control. The Hegelian view, according to a 1952 lecture by Ludwig von Mises, broke into Left and Right branches, depending on the attitude toward nationalism and religion (the right supported the Prussian state and church, whereas the left did not), and thereby “destroyed German thinking and German philosophy for more than a century, at least.”

1841: Thomas Carlyle published On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and The Heroic in History, which popularized the “great man” theory of history. History is not about marginal improvements in living standards by using better tools, but rather about huge episodic shifts brought about through power. A champion of slavery and opponent of liberalism, Carlyle took aim at the rise of commercial society, praising Cromwell, Napoleon, and Rousseau, and rhapsodizing about the glories of power. “The Commander over Men; he to whose will our wills are to be subordinated, and loyally surrender themselves, and find their welfare in doing so, may be reckoned the most important of Great Men.” Carlyle’s target was Adam Smith and the Scottish Enlightenment generally. Hitler’s biographers agree that the words of Carlyle were the last he requested to be read to him before he died.

1841: On the continent, meanwhile, Friedrich List published The National System of Political Economy, celebrating protectionism, infrastructure spending, and government control and support of industry. Again, it was a direct attack on laissez faire and a celebration of the national unit as the only truly productive force in economic life. Steven Davies comments: “The most serious result of List’s ideas was a change in people’s thinking and perception. Instead of seeing trade as a cooperative process of mutual benefit, politicians and businessmen came to regard it as a struggle with winners and losers.” Today’s economic nationalists have nothing new to add to the edifice already constructive by List. 

1871: Charles Darwin left the realm of science briefly to enter sociological analysis with his book The Descent of Man. It is a fascinating work but tended to treat human society as a zoological rather than sociological and economic enterprise. It included an explosive paragraph (qualified and widely misread) that regretted how “we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment… Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.” At the very least, he suggested, we should stop the weak from marrying. This is the “one check” we have to keep society from being taken over by inferiors. Tragically, this passing comment fired up the eugenicists who immediately began to plot demographic planning schemes to avoid a terrifying biological slide to universal human degeneracy. 

1896: The American Economic Association published Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro by Frederick Hoffman. This monograph, one of many of the type, described blacks as intractable criminals who are both lazy and promiscuous, the influence of whom in national biology can only lead to a decline of the race. Their mere presence was considered an existential threat to “uncompromising virtues of the Aryan race.” Such views were embraced by Richard T. Ely, the founder of the American Economic Association, and came to dominate the academic journals of this period, providing academic cover for Jim Crow laws, state segregation, business regulation, and far worse. 

1904: The founder of the American eugenics society, Charles Davenport, established the Station for Experimental Evolution and worked to propagate eugenics from his perch as Professor of Zoology at Harvard University. He was hugely influential on an entire generation of scientists, political figures, economists, and public bureaucrats, and it was due largely to this influence that eugenics became such a central concern of American policies from this period until World War II, influencing the passage of wage legislation, immigration, marriage law, working hours legislation, and, of course, mandatory sterilizations.

At this point in history, all five pillars of fascist theory were in place. 

At this point in history, all five pillars of fascist theory (historicist, nationalist, racist, protectionist, statist) were in place. It had a theory of history. It had a picture of hell, which is liberalism and uncontrolled commercial society. It had a picture of heaven, which was national societies run by great men inhabiting all-powerful States focused on heavy industry. It had a scientific rationale.

Above all, it had an agenda: to control society from the top down with the aim of managing every aspect of the demographic path of human society, which meant controlling human beings from cradle to grave to produce the most superior product, as well as industrial planning to replace the wiles of the market process. The idea of freedom itself, to this emergent school of thought, was a disaster for everyone everywhere.

All that was really necessary was popularization of its most incendiary ideas.

1916: Madison Grant, scholar of enormous prestige and elite connections, published The Passing of the Great Race. It was never a bestseller but it exercised enormous influence among the ruling elites, and made a famous appearance in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Grant, an early environmentalist, recommended mass sterilization of people as a “practical, merciful, and inevitable solution of the whole problem” that should be “applied to an ever-widening circle of social discards, beginning always with the criminal, the diseased, and the insane, and extending gradually to types which may be called weaklings rather than defectives, and perhaps ultimately to worthless race types.” Hitler loved the book and sent Grant a note praising the book as his personal bible.

1919: Following World War I, German historian Oswald Spengler published The Decline of the West, which met with huge popular acclaim for capturing the sense of the moment: the cash economy and liberalism were dead and could only be replaced by the rise of monolithic cultural forms that rally around blood and race as the source of meaning. Blood beats money all over the world, he argued. The interminable and foggy text broods with right-Hegelian speculations about the status of man and predicts the complete downfall of all lovely things unless the civilization of the West dispenses with its attachment to commercial norms and individualism and instead rallies to the cause of group identity. The book kicked off a decade of similar works and movements that declared freedom and democracy to be dead ideas: the only relevant battle was between the communist and fascist forms of state planning.

1932: Carl Schmitt published The Concept of the Political, a brutal attack on liberalism as the negation of the political. For Schmitt, the political was the essence of life, and the friend/enemy distinction is its most salient feature. Friends and enemies were to be defined by the State, and enemy-ness can only be fully instantiated in bloodshed, which should be real and present. Mises called him “the Nazi Jurist” for a reason: he was a party member and his ideas contributed mightily to the perception that mass death was not only moral, but essential to the preservation of the meaning of life itself.

1944: Allied troops discovered thousands of death camps strewn throughout Nazi-captured territories in Europe, created beginning in 1933 and continuing through the duration of the war, responsible for the imprisonment and death of upwards of 15 million people. The discovery shocked an entire generation at the most fundamental level, and the scramble was on to discover all sources of evil–political and ideological–that had led to such a gruesome reality. With the Nazi forces defeated and the Nuremberg trials underscoring the point, the advance of fascist dogma in all of its brooding, racist, statist, and historicist timbres, came to a screeching halt. Suppression of the ideas therein began in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States, creating the impression that right-Hegelianism was a mere flash in the pan that had been permanently doused by state power. 

The same year as the death-camp discovery began, F.A. Hayek published The Road to Serfdom, which emphasized that it was not enough to reject the labels, songs, slogans, and regimes of Nazism and fascism. Also necessary, said Hayek, was the rejection of the ideas of planning themselves, which even in a democracy necessarily led to the end of freedom and the rise of dictatorship. His book was met with critical acclaim among a small group of remaining classical liberals (many of whom were involved in the founding of FEE two years later) but was otherwise denounced and derided as paranoid and reactionary by many others.

For the duration of the ensuing Cold War, it was the fear of communism and not fascism/Nazism that would captivate the public mind. After all, the latter had been defeated on the battlefield, right? The genesis and development of rightest totalitarianism, despite the earnest pleadings of Hannah Arendt, fell away from public consciousness.

Liberalism Not Yet

Look at your progenitors, Alt-right: do you like what you see?

The Cold War ended 25 years ago and the rise of digital technology has given liberal forms of political economy a gigantic presence in the world. Trade has never been more integrated. Human rights are on the march. Commercial life, and its underlying ideology of harmony and peace, is the prevailing aspiration of billions of people around the world. The failures of government planning are ever more obvious. And yet these trends alone do not seal the deal for the cause of liberty.

With left-Hegelianism now in disgrace, political movements around the world are rooting around in the pre-war history of totalitarian ideas to find alternatives. The suppression of these ideas did not work; in fact, they had the opposite effect of making them more popular to the point where they boiled up from below. The result is what we call the Alt-right in the US and goes by many other names in Europe and the UK. (The transition from the 1990s to the present will be the subject of another essay.)

Let us not be deceived. Whatever the flavor – whichever branch of Hegel we choose to follow – the cost of government control is human liberty, prosperity, and dignity. We choose mega-states, strongmen, national planning, or religious and racial homogeneity at our deep peril.

For the most part, the meme-posting trolls who favor stormfront-style profile pics on their social accounts, and the mass movements calling for strongmen to take control and cast the other from their midst, are clueless about the history and path they are following.

If you are feeling tempted toward the Alt-right, look at your progenitors: do you like what you see?

What is the alternative to right and left Hegelianism? It is found in the liberal tradition, summed up by Frederic Bastiat’s phrase “the harmony of interests.” Peace, prosperity, liberty, and community are possible. It is this tradition, and not one that posits intractable war between groups, that protects and expands human rights and human dignity, and creates the conditions that allow for the universal ennoblement of the human person. (For more on the history of despotic ideas in the 20th century, I suggest Mises’s epic 1947 book Planned Chaos, now available in epub.)

The last word on the correct (freedom-loving) path forward was framed by the great English historian Thomas Babington Macaulay in 1830, a statement that would be loathed by every fascist in history:

“It is not by the intermeddling of an omniscient and omnipotent State, but by the prudence and energy of the people, that England has hitherto been carried forward in civilization; and it is to the same prudence and the same energy that we now look with comfort and good hope. Our rulers will best promote the improvement of the nation by strictly confining themselves to their own legitimate duties, by leaving capital to find its most lucrative course, commodities their fair price, industry and intelligence their natural reward, idleness and folly their natural punishment, by maintaining peace, by defending property, by diminishing the price of law, and by observing strict economy in every department of the state. Let the Government do this: the People will assuredly do the rest.”

Jeffrey A. Tucker


Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

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50 Responses to Jeffrey A. Tucker – The Prehistory of the Alt-right

  1. Driftforge

    This was linked previously, and is pretty basic bitch academic tar and feathering.

    If you want a better understanding Vox Day, or the discussion we had here at Catallaxy previously.

  2. Muddy

    Where is this backlash? The rise? I may not be the snappiest-dressing academic in the faculty lounge, but I still feel that this alt-right labelling is made-up.

  3. Stimpson J. Cat

    All Left Bowtie Spinning Fake News.

  4. Stimpson J. Cat

    The last word on the correct (freedom-loving) path forward

    Tell me more about this correct path forward.
    Is it a great leap?

  5. bobby b

    Good article.

    But I think you are misunderstanding the scope of the term “alt right.”

    There’s a common misperception that “alt right” necessarily involves racist impulses, or even race-based impulses. In fact, it has grown in usage to encompass most non-traditional expressions of conservatism.

    I think your theme would be better served if you used a different term in place of alt-right, one that calls out specifically that narrow set of groups which you address in your article.

    As in your last article at Catallaxy Files (which I thought was very good), you are smearing many people who are looking for an alternative to the traditional Right by conflating them with white supremacists, which they are not. There is a white supremacist component to the alt-right, but it is by no means even the majority of that group.

  6. Snoopy

    The alt-right are simply conservatives without the webbed feet.

  7. .

    Driftforge
    #2470408, posted on August 16, 2017 at 10:36 am
    This was linked previously, and is pretty basic bitch academic tar and feathering.

    No.

    Sad.

  8. Rococo Liberal

    Complete tosh. Totalitarians can only be leftists.
    The left right axis is a measure of how much the state is the centre of life, a measure of the size of government.
    The extreme right would be liberatarians who believe that the State is unnecessary.

  9. thefrolickingmole

    His last quote reveals the absolute weakness of assuming the left totalitatians are a spent force.

    Where do we see the following happening.

    Our rulers will best promote the improvement of the nation by strictly confining themselves to their own legitimate duties, Bullshit they will, they seek control to perfect people, “Knowing” one more law will bring paradise.

    by leaving capital to find its most lucrative course
    RET anyone? Sin taxes, and the NBN?

    commodities their fair price
    See above.

    industry and intelligence their natural reward
    Such as publicly funded greivance courses leading to working for the government which will stipulate a degree as the employment standard?

    idleness and folly their natural punishment
    “Equalidee” and the insatiable greed of the gimmedats springs to mind.

    by maintaining peace, by defending property
    We are still in butfuckistan when we should have wrecked it and left, with a promise to do it again if they were silly, no nation building bullshit. And property rights are a joke, with government quite happy to legislate value or entire industries away.

    by diminishing the price of law
    Yes, Im sure we have a lean, mean justice machine which operates for the good of everyone.

    and by observing strict economy in every department of the state.
    Is my study trip to Costa Rica booked yet flunky??

    I have great sympathy for what hes laying out, but hes espousing the doctrine of the eunuch, pure but sterile in the world as it currently stands.

    Hence it comes about that all armed Prophets have been victorious, and all unarmed Prophets have been destroyed. Niccolo Machiavelli

  10. Joe

    What the Alt Right is
    In the interest of developing a core Alt Right philosophy upon which others can build.

    1. The Alt Right is of the political right in both the American and the European sense of the term. Socialists are not Alt Right. Progressives are not Alt Right. Liberals are not Alt Right. Communists, Marxists, Marxians, cultural Marxists, and neocons are not Alt Right.

    2. The Alt Right is an ALTERNATIVE to the mainstream conservative movement in the USA that is nominally encapsulated by Russel Kirk’s 10 Conservative Principles, but in reality has devolved towards progressivism. It is also an alternative to libertarianism.

    3. The Alt Right is not a defensive attitude and rejects the concept of noble and principled defeat. It is a forward-thinking philosophy of offense, in every sense of that term. The Alt Right believes in victory through persistence and remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition, and the lessons of history.

    4. The Alt Right believes Western civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its three foundational pillars: Christianity, the European nations, and the Graeco-Roman legacy.

    5. The Alt Right is openly and avowedly nationalist. It supports all nationalisms and the right of all nations to exist, homogeneous and unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration.

    6. The Alt Right is anti-globalist. It opposes all groups who work for globalist ideals or globalist objectives.

    7. The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.

    8. The Alt Right is scientodific. It presumptively accepts the current conclusions of the scientific method (scientody), while understanding a) these conclusions are liable to future revision, b) that scientistry is susceptible to corruption, and c) that the so-called scientific consensus is not based on scientody, but democracy, and is therefore intrinsically unscientific.

    9. The Alt Right believes identity > culture > politics.

    10. The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means.

    11. The Alt Right understands that diversity + proximity = war.

    12. The Alt Right doesn’t care what you think of it.

    13. The Alt Right rejects international free trade and the free movement of peoples that free trade requires. The benefits of intranational free trade is not evidence for the benefits of international free trade.

    14. The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.

    15. The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.

    16. The Alt Right is a philosophy that values peace among the various nations of the world and opposes wars to impose the values of one nation upon another as well as efforts to exterminate individual nations through war, genocide, immigration, or genetic assimilation.

  11. Roger

    Complete tosh. Totalitarians can only be leftists.

    Franco combined religious and social conservatism with the socialisation of the means of production directed by his totalitarian regime. Was he of the Left or the Right?

    Historically, the Left-Right spectrum denotes fundamental attitudes to social and political change rather than the power and size of the state per se.

  12. Macspee

    On ya Geoff.
    The political spectrum should be looked upon as a horseshoe shape. On each end are the extremes of the left and right and closest to each other – in the middle as far as possible from both are libertarians.
    Better still, the libertarians are not on the same page.
    Oh, and why are weapon carrying, face covered, abuse shouting, rock throwing professional protestors looking for a fight and seeking to shut up the other side never criticised?

  13. John

    I have no truck with neo nazis or white supremacists. But this piece just doesnt gel. Having read Jonah Goldebergs masterly tome “Liberal Fascism” , the left/progressives were all over eugenics (still are thru Abortion) . Like Goldberg I see little difference between the Left/BLM/ Socialists and “National” Socialists. In the end they are both statist, predujiced, militarist and authoritarian.

    However the failed Obama who had promised to bring Americans together but merely supported Occupy/BLM and let his leftist/nazi trolls loose on the nation seems to have pushed many into the arms of the Alt Right.

    The same can be seen in Europe. The leftist/statist twits who run the EU are only interested in free movement of people and the destruction of the nation state. There is going to be trouble as there is in the US. I am not taking sides but just looking to what will come.

  14. Utter piffle and tosh from a bow-tied academic isolated in an Ivory Tower. The complete overlooking of the Fabian Society and their adoption of eugenics as a key platform wins Tucker the Walter Duranty Trophy.

  15. A Lurker

    I perused about two paragraphs of this missive and thought to myself ‘I’ve read this rubbish before’.

    If Jeffrey A. Tucker had dedicated as much energy in critiquing the violence, intimidation, totalitarianism and bullying behaviour from established far-loony-Leftist groups such as Antifa and BLM as he does here to the infant alt-Right, then I might pay him more heed.

    However this just comes across as a wanky intellectual in love with the sound of his own voice.

  16. Behind Enemy Lines

    Having been a student of political philsophy for many years, I’ve long since grown sick of Tucker’s variety of wordy, obscurant rationalisation for inaction and capitulation.

    We are going through an extended cycle of political repression, and we’re not going to vote our way out of it.

    The left have succeeded in their march through the institutions. Goverments change office but the left remains in power, and the polity ratchets ever leftward. The left knows that most people are sheep and will comply with whatever the bureaucracy tells them to do. This has finally freed the left to wage open war on the few amongst us who are of a more determined conservative (not cuckservative) perspective. The left does this through the implied force of government; by punishment through the insitutions; and with quasi-official street violence whenever anyone on our side of politics tries to stand up in person for what remain of our rights.

    Now that the left have consolidated the ability to impose political violence on us without sanction, Tucker’s pure-hearted and traditionally liberal approach becomes a mere fantasy. A fantasy which once appealed to me very much, but which is simply unavailable to us so long as the left remain in place.

    The so-called Alt-Right (which is actually a pretty broad church) appears to be the only part of our side who fully understand that the institionalised left has succeeded in becoming permanently unanswerable to voters, and will have to be dynamited out.

    These are the objective facts of the present political situation. In the face of that, it is moral and intellectual cowardice to pretend that war is not being made on us, or that we can quibble-osophise our way out of this situation with essays like the one above.

    So: lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. (Not necessarily in public or on sites like this.)

    Meanwhile, Tucker, it’s worse than folly to condemn the only people who are fighting to get the boot off of your face.

  17. Roger

    The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian.

    What of equality before the law?

    The Alt Right believes identity > culture > politics.

    I suggest religion > culture > politics.

  18. Macspee

    This is not an essay about the left, although heaven knows the right and alt-right are manifestations of the same authoritarian mind set, nor a history of the Fabians or their cohorts either. Let’s not get pedantic in our (your) desire to rubbish anyone who advocates a free society and rolling back government from our lives.

  19. cynical1

    why the Left has suffered so much at the polls and now faces a serious backlash in campus and public life.

    This guy needs to get out more.

    A few nerdy nazi types is almost manna from heaven for the left, not a much vaunted “backlash”.

    Witness the Trump trial.

    Where the fuck was Obama’s trial when policemen were being assassinated?

    As for Australia, “backlash” is confined to trying to stop the state funded media from being Marxist propagandists.

    And failing miserably.

  20. Me thinks many people read Alt-Right as Ult-Right.
    It’s Alternative, not Ultra.
    Any academic who conflates the Alt-Right with National Socialists is a buffoon who doesn’t know what he is talking about.
    It’s Alternative because (in the USA) people are sick of the Jeb Bush Paul Ryan Mitch McConnell type establishment righties. Nothing to do with National Socialists.

    Similar in the UK and other parts of the West. People are sick of the Globalist pro mass Immigration old “conservative” parties.

  21. There’s a fatal flaw in this argument.

    Id left and right are opposites, as they surely must be, then the extremes of left and right cannot, by definition, have any commonality.

    But they do. Central to both is central control, which requires control over others.

    Thus, they cannot be opposites, except to be opposing sides of the same totalitarian coin.

    This is fundamental. It is flawed logic based on the idea that, because Hitler is their sworn enemy, then he must be opposite. But rivals are not by definition opposite. They are wrong.

    Rafe is right. The left’s attempts to paint all opponents with the same brush by calling their enemies opposites irrespective to be of their differences mean that we must distance ourselves from both, to step back such as to show that they are closer to each other than they can ever be to lovers of freedom. The false narratives of the left must be fought every time it is used. The freedom = nazi meme must be defeated for freedom to survive.

  22. C.L.

    What is the alternative to right and left Hegelianism? It is found in the liberal tradition, summed up by Frederic Bastiat’s phrase “the harmony of interests.” Peace, prosperity, liberty, and community are possible. It is this tradition, and not one that posits intractable war between groups, that protects and expands human rights and human dignity, and creates the conditions that allow for the universal ennoblement of the human person.

    Decoded, what this means is we can achieve ‘peace’ by vilifying, robbing and legally shooshing white Christian heterosexual Westerners.

  23. Driftforge

    What of equality before the law?

    A deeply rooted evil.

  24. Warty

    Though I agree with the underlying thrust of your argument, that the middle way is preferable in more ways than one, I still have a few questions about this alleged ‘Alt Right’.
    For a start, I was taken aback by the various reactions to an opinion piece I wrote for the Cat yesterday (entitled ‘Charlottesville’) in that it provoked a veritable uproar, with very strong opinions for and equally virulent arguments (the bulk responding to each others’ responses) against the ideas fuelling the confrontation at Charlottesville. A good many of the responders had far more intimate knowledge of the riots than I, and some with video clips to support their arguments.
    But secondly it highlighted the extent of the divisiveness in America: this is one polarised society, and that’s an understatement. I may be naïve, but the feeling is that it is nowhere near as bad here in Australia, despite the presence of AntiFa, BLM and their ‘Alt Right’ opposites.

  25. Warty

    So, some inner confusions for me: I’m puzzled by the modern phenomenon of people using pejorative terms to label their opponents, like ‘Alt Right’ only for those so labelled to adopt the term as a badge of honour. Some of the respondents to the ‘Charlottesville’ opinion piece happily identified as Alt Right.
    The second was more an inner conflict, in that I strongly identified with the Alt Right cause, felt there was a need for a proportional response to the BLM and AntiFa stance and yet abhor the violence. I know that violence begets violence and will ultimately tear the country apart, but feel Cultural Marxism needs to be turned back, before a country like America (or Australia) loses any sense of national identity. To me globalism will ultimately have an Orwellian outcome, contributing to the demise of the individual. This in itself is a definition of totalitarianism in itself, never mind any fine touches the Alt Right might contribute in that direction. I hate it the way the radical left of today is utterly intent on shutting down any sort of rebuttal.

  26. Warty

    Administration after administration has been building on the socialist state unleashed by LBJ, and the thought of yet another Obama yet in stilettos gave rise to a Donald Trump, and exactly the in-your-face brand of Donald Trump we landed up with (and that’s not necessarily a criticism). It seems it would need an industrial strength sewerage pump to drain a Washington swamp, something way beyond the capacity of a Ted Cruz or an ineffectual Jeb Bush: either of those would have simply compounded the problem. But my contention is that a DT arose, largely due to the fact that time and careful effort had not been put into developing a serious conservative narrative and more particularly getting it out there to counter the unquestioned, unchallenged faux authenticity of the other.
    My conclusion is that it is not too late to develop a conservative narrative, despite DT and despite the Alt Right, and despite my refusal to condemn either.

  27. .

    Driftforge
    #2470551, posted on August 16, 2017 at 12:43 pm
    What of equality before the law?

    A deeply rooted evil.

    What the fuck!?

  28. Driftforge

    Warty — I think you have touched on something quite powerful underlying the reaction to the alt-right: No sane person wants to get to the point of unbridled civil violence, and the alt-right presages that. It stands as an unmistakable signal of societal failure, over decades, even centuries. Failure by leadership to act in the interests of its people. Failure by leadership to act to retain coherence and morality amongst its people. To fail in ‘leaving capital to find its most lucrative course, commodities their fair price, industry and intelligence their natural reward, idleness and folly their natural punishment, by maintaining peace, by defending property, by diminishing the price of law, and by observing strict economy in every department of the state.’

    Far from those words being anathema to the alt-right, they touch on the very reason the alt-right exists. The alt-right is not fascist, despite the occasional adoption of fascist symbology for effect (it immediately discredits the author of the above article that this has not been realised). The alt-right exists because government has allow the parasitic consumption of capital; has interfered in the pricing of the economy; has failed to maintain peace and exact a full toll on those who subvert the state; has failed to protect the nation’s property from foreign possession; has made access to law expensive and unjust; and become unwieldy in its unaccountable largesse.

    And thus it fall to the people at some point to take up their own cause, to raise up their own champions. And not all realise this at the same point. Some, even many of those on the alt-right realised this only when every other alternative was removed from them, the systems of the Cathedral fully arrayed against them.

    And yet as you say, for those looking on, it is very hard. The very institutions that bind us together when our underlying order is strong and healthy result in an overpowering aversion to the consequence of their failure. Yet that failure is upon us, and the alt-right rises.

    FWIW, I suspect you will see a sharp reduction in nazi symbology. You will see the growth of crusader motifs, and American motifs. You will see a greater selection for discipline.

    Aside: the discipline the alt-right showed in Charlotville was quite remarkable. Despite somewhere around 80% of them being armed, despite being forced from a licensed gathering into the feral arms of the alt-left by the police, despite someone in that moment firing a starters pistol… not a shot was fired.

    Had things not been that disciplined, the furore over the young lad who skittled a number of the alt-left leading to the death of that woman would be nothing to the response that occurred.

    They were strategically outmanoeuvred, but tactically remarkably sound.

    End aside.

    But yes, allow the inner conflict. It shows more than a touch of integrity that you feel it. But know that it is a process of passage, and that at some point you will either reach the point where you choose to act, or choose not to. Not that all action will take the form of the alt-right, nor that what the alt-right ends up when the bulk of people make that choice will bear much similarity to what it remains now.

    My suggestion: Build capacity for governance; Become Worthy.

  29. Driftforge

    What the fuck!?

    Go fishing, get bite.

  30. .

    Yes well if you play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.

  31. @SeditionaryI

    Warty, if I may, the Alt-Right or any such group can only exist as long as those on the Left keep moving ever more so. The Alt-Right is a reaction to and the culmination of very real social forces in the US of A and the West as a whole. To understand them you have to find an appreciation for the American experience as it relates to those not just on the Right but those on the near Left who’ve been left behind as the Left went to ever greater extremes.

    The Alt-Right is a handful of seeds, containing the rational and extreme reaction to the very real threats they collectively see. The Alt-Right in reality began when it became possible for many Americans to see beyond the media, this produced more and more people who could point to the horizon at what the Left had in mind for America and have evidence of substance to back it and themselves.

    The arrival of Antifa and BLM hastened the collectivism of those people as they saw what was once on the horizon manifest itself in the here and now, burning down cities and dominating the public space with violence, violence directed at everyone that wasn’t Left enough.

    As much as what the Alt-Right is in many ways remains absolutely repugnant, it remains necessary, because the threats to them are threats to all of us. The Left don’t just want to impose upon us, they want us gone, they want everything we built gone, everything we believe gone. The removal of statues is the physical manifestation of what the Left believe. The Alt-Right are perhaps just those brave enough to testify to what they see as a very real existential threat.

    But there is always a right way and a wrong way to do things, and Charlottesville was the wrong way of doing things.

  32. Decoded, what this means is we can achieve ‘peace’ by vilifying, robbing and legally shooshing white Christian heterosexual Westerners.

    Pretty much. Always retreat. Perpetually retreating. Preserving nothing.

  33. Fisky

    What is the alternative to right and left Hegelianism?

    It is found in the liberal tradition, summed up by Frederic Bastiat’s phrase “the harmony of interests.” Peace, prosperity, liberty, and community are possible. It is this tradition, and not one that posits intractable war between groups, that protects and expands human rights and human dignity, and creates the conditions that allow for the universal ennoblement of the human person.

    In practice, nearly all “liberals” are siding with the violent thugs of antifa. Liberalism, state neutrality, pluralism, these concepts are all dead.

  34. Stan

    It is a bit deluded to think that “the Left has suffered so much at the polls and now faces a serious backlash in campus and public life.”

  35. Louis Hissink

    Given Karl Marx coined the appellation capitalist, does anyone know who coined Alt-Right ?

  36. Louis Hissink

    The Left can’t figure it out because their minds seem to live in an alt-universe, but their bodies in our universe, so all they are left with is basic animal reaction. They know how to recite their hymns, (do I issue a trigger warning?), and mantras but not how to make sense of what they are mouthing, since they don’t know how to think, only what to think.

  37. iampeter

    Good post and needed too as so many have a very rose-colored view of the Alt Right.

    My only quibble (and its the usual quibble) is suggesting that far left and right are somehow equivalent. If you’re presenting political alternatives, they have to actually be alternatives at their polar opposites.

    The fundamental alternatives in politics are basically freedom and force, which is the true difference between right wing and left wing. And even if the Alt Right were just nationalists, they would be yet another group of collectivists and belong on the left along with the others.

    Having said that, the Alt Right are far worse than merely nationalist

    Key quote: “… they all agree on one thing, equality is a dangerous myth. The Alt Right is united in rejecting the current dogma that all races are equal…”

    It’s just the old school left, of the primitive racist variety. Vile stuff.

    Lots of Conservatives who have given up and believe the ideas associated with freedom are concepts which “are all dead”, have turned to the alt right as the last, sad and evil refuge.

  38. thefrolickingmole

    equality is a dangerous myth

    So Western culture, laws and social mores are equal to Ethiopia or Pol Pots?
    I have no time for race based theories much beyond a few physical characteristics at the margins, but there are definite cultural traits which are key to a functional society.

  39. @SeditionaryI

    Stan, the Left don’t even need to win at the polls, the GOP couldn’t repeal or replace Obamacare even with holding a majority in both houses and the White House after campaigning to do that very thing, because they’re terrified of what the Left will say about them. The Left runs the narrative and owns the institutions of culture, the rest is mere trinkets.

    Louis, the Left don’t need to think, they just need to keep the gates open long enough for their vote herd to surpass any possible opposition.

    Peter, to say that the Alt-Right and the far Left are opposite is not to say that they are equal, it is a reference to where they sit opposed within the political spectrum. No-one can accurately say at what point does being on the Right make you Alt-Right, but we can see that the Alt-Right does include those at the very limits of what people would call Right. If you were to say tbat the Alt-Right is anyone on the Right who isn’t an institutional Conservative, Liberal or Libertarian then the Alt-Right would be anyone and everyone who is actually on the Right. That is because the institutional Conservatives, Liberals and Libertarians are now well and truly Left of Centre.

    To use an example, Dave Rubin, a gay, married, pro-choice, pro-legalisation Liberal, is not far enough to the Left in the US of A to not be considered on the Right because he supports gun ownership, free speech and personal responsibility and is against race collective politics, and of-course he refused to de-platform Conservatives.

    If the above is true, then no matter how absurd the extremes get what the Alt-Right has done remains vital, as it has forced people to take a look at what is going on around them. The Alt-Right has made “Red Pilling” possible, it has redrawn the Centre, and essentially begun the process of perhaps dragging institutional Conservatives back to the Right, which needs to happen.

  40. It’s time to disavow labels of all kinds. It merely enables the left to do guilt by association.

    I.AM.ME.

    I am not a Trump. I am not a Clinton. Or an Abbott, a Turnbull or a Shorten.

    I am me.

    I am not responsible for what white people did, black people did, Christians, Muslims, joos or anyone else did.

    Only this way can the nazi and KKK memes be banished to where they belong, in the dustbin of history.

    Individual responsibility, individual actions and outcomes. Those who believe in freedom must reject group identity as much as groupthink and therefore identity politics.

    I am not left. I am not right. I am me. And my rights start and finish with me. You can not kill me. You can not rape me. These are the most fundamental of all rights. My rights end wherever they trample another’s rights, and vice versa.

    This should be the start point and the end point of all discussions. That does not put me anywhere on a spectrums than being at the ideal point, and everything else being suboptimal.

    Let others argue against the merits of such. And in doing so, all labels fade into irrelevance.

    Align yourself with groups at your peril. Be yourself. Make everyone else argue against that standard. The rest is a distraction.

    Stand above it. As an individual. This is the basis for the concept of voluntarism, which is the essence of the individual, and all rights.

    Involuntarism is the enemy. Individualism and collectivism become irrelevant when considering the voluntary choices we make to belong to things other than ourselves. The selfishness of the individual dissipates into nothing when framed within the concept of voluntarism.

    Voluntarism defines what we can be judged by, not what we can be restricted to. The right of the individual is sacrosanct. Rights are as much about boundaries as what actions we can take. We have independence of thought compared to all others, hence freedom of thought. This is the essence of Voluntarism, the essence of freedom. They are one and the same.

    Rise above it all. Leave the controllers and central planners to fight amongst themselves as the involuntarists that they are. Only through this, can you rise above it and preserve true freedom.

  41. Warty

    Driftforge, I couldn’t agree more.

  42. Yohan

    The alt-right now means white nationalism. Until late 2016 it meant ‘alternative right wing’, which was essentially paleo-conservatism. This is why Steven Bannon and Breibart referred to themselves as alt-right in 2015.

    It was the idiotic sieg heiling by Richard Spencer & co that associated it entirely with white nationalism.

  43. Yohan

    The media heavily associated the alt-right with Richard Spencer after heilgate, specifically so they could attack Trump and Bannon, because Bannon had once said Breitbart was a platform of the alt-right.

    This is how you get the absurd narratives that Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka (both ultra-zionists) are white nationalists and anti-semites.

  44. Warty

    As I suggested, SeditionaryI, the move to the left had been developing momentum since LBJ and his essentially socialist policies. And as you rightly say the Altright is a reaction, at times a lashing out. But if one can say the left had been developing momentum, it had also been working surreptitiously ‘underground’ from the mid 1930s when the bulk of those from the Hamburg School fled Nazi Germany and infiltrated US campuses. Their ideas very gradually took hold, drop by drop in a sense.
    I’d like to see a effective study on the issue, and I’m sure they’re out there, but the sense of family and national solidity of the 1950s may have been a little more hollow than the films of the era seem to depict. Hollywood was already moving to the left, and currents of polarisation were just under the surface ready to explode with the advent of the civil rights movement.
    From the 60s onwards the left had been increasingly capturing media attention, eventually giving rise to a sense of low-key, festering conservative resentment. Trump and the 2016 presidential election finally gave them a voice, untutored though it may be (and I don’t mean that in a patronising sense) but it is still undeveloped and raw, and as yet only captures the attention of the sympathetic alternative media.
    On the other hand many feel this same alternative media is proliferating and itself gathering momentum. Why else did Trump revert to his original position on Charlottesville and once again blame both sides, at the same time telling the fake news MSM he had probably examined some of the footage in greater depth than they. That unfiltered footage was only available on the alternative media.

  45. @SeditionaryI

    Warty, you’re probably closer to the truth than you realise, especially when it comes to the Socialist undercurrent that has dragged American politics and culture ever further Left. And that could never go unchallenged, and many see the Alt-Right as a means of challenging the status quo even if they don’t necessarily believe in all of the isms involved on the Right.

  46. .

    It was the idiotic sieg heiling by Richard Spencer & co that associated it entirely with white nationalism.

    Pretty hard to get away from though. The left trashed paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians in the same way before, but it was on even weaker grounds.

  47. Yohan

    Pretty hard to get away from though. The left trashed paleoconservatives and paleolibertarians in the same way before, but it was on even weaker grounds.

    Yep. Even the slightest association with the Nazism or National Socialism is utterly toxic, and the media will milk it until eternity.

  48. .

    Schadenfreude for me though. The establishment is now owned by the alt right and is being tarred with the same brush. The establishment conservatives joined in the pile on before. Now they are copping it too.

  49. J.H.

    There is no “Alt Right”…. That whole term is just a False Flag by the socialists. They infiltrate and agitate. Socialism is the ideology of deceit.

    There is no Left or Right “wings” with liberalism…… and what the Yanks call liberalism, is actually Socialism…. The Ideology of deceit has done well in America redesigning language to control the thinking so as to suit its own ends.

    as for “Wings”? Only Socialism has these leathery appendages fluttering over the open grave of its foul ideology.

  50. Iampeter:

    The fundamental alternatives in politics are basically freedom and force, which is the true difference between right wing and left wing. And even if the Alt Right were just nationalists, they would be yet another group of collectivists and belong on the left along with the others.

    I think you mean coercion rather than force, but leaving that aside, nevertheless, how does nationalism constitute force?

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