Sean Edwards

The American Resurrection

What Is The “Alt-Right,” And What Does It Say About American Politics?

Alt Right

“The rise of the Alt-Right forces us to ask some poignant questions, if for no other reason than self-discovery.”

Several years ago, I was flying home on a long flight with some friends, when I fired up the second Twilight movie to pass the time.

About halfway through, I took my headphones off, and with a “dead-in-the-eyes” look, I stared at my friend sitting next me.

He asked, “What?”

“This movie is terrible,” I replied.

He saw what I was watching, and while chuckling asked, “What did you expect?”

Opening my hands to speak, I said, “I have to believe there is something worth redeeming about this movie.”

He laughed and replied, “Sean, that’s why I love you. You have hope even when there is no hope.”

I’m sorry if you liked the Twilight movies. You’re allowed to. But I did not.

The movie had several issues (for me), but I couldn’t stand the female lead. Something about her bugged me.

When I got home, I watched a humorous YouTube critique of the movie.

The video described the female lead as a character who lacked any distinct personality. The critic argued this was done on purpose so the predominantly female audience could overlay their own personalities onto Bella. In this way, they could more easily insert themselves into the story.

And the critic was right! That was one of the things I did not like about the movie. It lacked character depth. The main characters didn’t have definitive personalities.

This phenomenon happens in other areas as well. It is easy for us to overlay our own ideas onto undefined concepts.

Take the Alt-Right for example.

What Twilight and the Alt-Right Have In Common

When the term “Alt-right” first started popping up, I didn’t know what it was. And I think very few people did.

But some started throwing it around like a dirty word equating it with racism and bigotry.

In many ways, the term has become the “Bella” of the political world.

Since most didn’t know what the “Alt-Right” was, it was easy to overlay our own ideas (and dare I say prejudices?) onto the term.

Many people started calling the “Alt-Right” white-nationalists, and since we didn’t have anything to reference their claims against, it was easy to believe.

Then, when Trump announced that Bannon would be his Chief Strategist, the term exploded, and people really freaked out.

Based on the news coverage, I was very concerned as well.

However, I’ve learned over the years to take the media with a grain of salt.

Not because they’re malicious, but because reporters aren’t experts on every subject, and it is easy for them to get things wrong.

So, I decided to investigate the “Alt-Right,” and see for myself who this Bannon guy was.

Just a heads up, I am not an investigative journalist. I don’t know the trade.

So, my amateur study is probably incomplete. But, I believe it is thorough enough to start defining the “Alt-Right.”

What Is The “Alt-Right”?

The “Alt-Right” stands for Alternative Right.

Apparently, these are conservatives who feel like the conservatives in Washington D.C. have left them behind.

It’s hard to pin the Alt-Right down. They are a widely disparate group. It’s a big tent that holds a lot of people with a lot different ideas.

Some of them are white-nationalists, but not most of them.

According to Colin Grunwold, a self-proclaimed member of the Alt-Right, the movement is mostly defined by what they’re against, rather than what they are for.

So let’s start there, and put the big rocks in first.

1. Those in the “Alt-Right” reject virtually every form of Marxism, socialism, or welfarism.

A hallmark of leftist, progressive politics is an optimistic view of humanity and the world.

I personally love this about the left.

However, their optimistic outlook usually involves some form of socialism. In fact, socialism requires the belief that people are basically good and self-less (otherwise the philosophy cannot work).

The Alt-Right does not hold this view.

To quote Grunwold:

“[Those considered “Alt-Right”] have an understanding that life is brutal, tribal, chaotic and difficult. It is not just a “fun ride”… 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.”

He goes on to say: “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.”

They believe the nature of the world rejects some basic tenets of the left: mainly that everyday people are good and can be trusted.

To the Alt-Right, capitalism and limited government are the only ways to ensure peace among people.

They reject the idea that government can build a utopia, and don’t want other people’s values forced on them.

As a side note, I did not get the impression that the Alt-Right thinks the world is bad and that life is going to be hard no matter what.

They believe life can be amazing, they just don’t trust the government to make it happen.

2. The Alt-Right is extremely anti-establishment.

Most of those in the Alt-Right believe politicians are crooks, and that Congress has been purchased by big business and left-leaning media outlets.

They feel rejected by establishment republicans. They feel the GOP has accepted too many tenets of the left and no longer represent their interests.

To them, the GOP has given up too much ground on issues, and has thrown the Alt-Right under the bus to save face with the mainstream public.

Therefore, they resonated with Trump’s message to “drain the swamp.”

3. They resist all forms of the Politically Correct culture.

This is the big one.

According to many who identify as Alt-Right, they feel shutdown by the left. Instead of engaging with the Alt-Right about issues, they feel like the left has shamed and slandered them by calling them bigots.

Instead of being allowed a seat at the table, the Alt-Right feel like both the right and the left refuse to talk to them.

Instead, they’re written off as xenophobic racists. Their opinions don’t matter. Their voices don’t count.

Most people in the Alt-Right do not believe they are racist. And some of them are minorities themselves.

So, the accusation of racism not only makes them angry, it tells them the establishment has become disconnected from the people.

This is huge. People in the Alt-Right feel as though they’re being judged, convicted, and exiled before they’re allowed to speak.

They feel like they can’t ask certain questions without being ostracized by both the right and left.

For instance, the left holds diversity and cultural equality in high regard. If you question that, those in the Alt-Right feel that you’re often labeled a bigot.

People in the Alt-Right want to ask, “Why should we value cultural diversity so much? By what criteria have you determined that we should embrace and celebrate other cultures as highly – if not higher – than our own?” And they feel like they don’t get an answer, but an insult.

People in the Alt-Right want to ask, “Why should we value cultural diversity so much? By what criteria have you determined that we should embrace and celebrate other cultures as highly – if not higher – than our own?” And they feel like they don’t get an answer, but an insult.

However, it’s a valid question. If we value something, we should be able to say why.

Some people in the Alt-Right see their position as very similar the left. The only difference is whose culture we value.

According to some of those in the Alt-Right, the left appears to value other cultures by default, and without question.

This brings up 2 issues I’ve observed.

First, according to some in the Alt-Right, we are being forced to accept (and celebrate) other cultures without any proof that those cultures deserve acceptance or celebration.

They want to ask, “Why should I value this other culture? What about it makes it worth celebrating or adopting?”

But, the PC culture doesn’t allow those kinds of questions. If you question a culture’s value (and even more so if you reject it), you’re deemed a close-minded bigot.

Secondly, according to those in the Alt-Right, not only are we supposed to accept other cultures without question, but it appears to that the left wants us to value other cultures over American culture.

The Alt-Right perceives that the left feels embarrassed by American culture, and elevates other cultures as “better,” or more virtuous.

By contrast Alt-righters value American culture without shame. They love America, and they want to protect American culture, just as the left wants to protect other cultures.

Someone in the Alt-Right might think, “Okay, so you’re allowed to celebrate other cultures, but we can’t celebrate ours?”

Even though I don’t consider myself Alt-Right, I can appreciate these questions.

5 Types of Alt-Right, As Described By An Alt-Righter

Again, the Alt-Right doesn’t have official policy positions. They don’t have official values. And they don’t all agree. This is a grassroots movement.

However, the 3 elements above seem to run through most Alt-Right positions. But, there’s more to it than that.

Grunwold broke the Alt-Right into 5 groups. Obviously, you don’t have to fit into these categories to be Alt-Right.

1) Anarcho-Capitalists
2) Nationalists
3) Conspiracy theorists
4) Religious conservatives
5) “Race Realists” – The racists

Anarcho-Capitalists: These individuals believe in unbridled capitalism and extremely decentralized government.

They aren’t necessarily anti-government (what most people assume “anarchy” means–it doesn’t). They tend to support highly localized, and sometimes overlapping and even competing municipalities.

It is an interesting political philosophy, but it isn’t racist. In fact, anarcho-capitalism assumes society operates based on peoples’ abilities, not their ethnicity. So you could argue that anarcho-capitalism is incompatible with systematic racism.

Nationalists: Nationalists want to put their country–and their people–first. Period.

These individuals are not racists. When people hear “nationalist,” fascist images come to mind. But nationalism doesn’t have to be defined by ethnicity. Nationalism simply means prioritizing the interests your nation over the interests of others.

Bannon described himself as an “economic nationalist”:

“I’m an economic nationalist. I am an America first guy,” Bannon said. “And I have admired nationalist movements throughout the world, and have said repeatedly strong nations make great neighbors. I’ve also said repeatedly that the ethno-nationalist movement, prominent in Europe, will change over time. I’ve never been a supporter of ethno-nationalism.”

Ethno-nationalism is nationalism based on race, i.e., true, systematic racism.

Economic nationalists love America more than other countries. And they want to preserve American culture. They don’t care what color your skin is or what religion you are.

Even though nationalism and racism can be bed partners, nationalism in and of itself isn’t racist.

You may not be a nationalist, and you may not like nationalist policies, but you can’t call nationalists racists for being nationalistic.

Conspiracy Theorists: I was surprised that Grunwold put this on the list.

I know many conspiracy theorist who are not Alt-Right. But these themes that can be present; they don’t have to be.

I think this is self-explanatory. They believe there is a conspiracy to keep the little guy down. But, there are people in every political party that believe that.

Religious Conservatives: Grunwold didn’t give a detailed definition of this term, but I assume he refers to people who want to “restore Christian values.”

That’s a lot of people. Most of whom I would not consider Alt-Right.

However, if you’re a religious conservative who holds the above tenets, then you’d probably be very comfortable around those in the Alt-Right.

Race Realists: According to Grunwold, this was the group Hillary and other pundits identified as the Alt-Right. These are the racists.

They believe that one race (usually white people) are genetically superior to other races. Meaning, people who are not white are incapable of accomplishing the things white people can.

They are less intelligent and morally inferior. Meaning they value “lesser” and sometimes evil things compared to the virtuous desires of white people (or whomever).

This is bad stuff.

Furthermore, my friend Cody Libolt (IfWeWillLive.com) pointed out the ugliness of the term “Race Realists.” It implies that that they are being realists concerning race, i.e., racism is real.

It also implies that the rest of us aren’t being “real” and are living in a daydream, where all the races can peacefully coexist.

This is tribal brutality at its worst. But according to Grunwold, the “race realists” are a tiny fraction of the Alt-Right.

Here’s a summary of the Alt-Right so far:

  • They strongly oppose any form of socialism or Marxism.
  • They are strong nationalists. They believe America is the best, and don’t want other cultures forced upon them. They don’t care what color your skin is, and they don’t care if you bring your culture here, they just don’t want it forced on them.
  • They oppose the PC culture of the left, and the “pandering” to the left by the right. They feel shutdown by politicians who’ve discredited them in the media through name calling.
  • They feel abandoned by establishment republicans for not representing their interests (and sometimes throwing them under the bus to save political face).
  • Some of them are white-nationalists (racists).

How Does Breitbart Fit Into All Of This?

From what I can determine, Breitbart highly values the freedom of expression. If you post a racist comment, that represents you, not Breitbart. And they aren’t going to moderate it.

It is easy to see how people who felt censored through name-calling would flock to a site that didn’t censor them. Especially one that leans pretty far to the right.

You don’t have to spend very much time on Breitbart to tell it is very conservative. But after spending 30 minutes or so on the site, I can’t say its racist.

They had several favorable front page articles about minorities and women. One in particular examined solutions to the wage gap between minorities and white people.

I had to ask, “Would a racist news outlet have articles like that?” Maybe if they were trying to pull the wool over our eyes. But that seems unlikely.

Like I said, it is clearly conservative; I’m not saying it is a bastion of objectivity.

Breitbart made headlines when one of their executives called it “the platform of the Alt-Right.”

For people who believe the Alt-Right are white nationalists, Breitbart just become enemy #1.

Bannon, who used to be a part of Breitbart, has said many times he doesn’t support racism, and thinks it is terrible … but he believes in freedom of expression.

In this context, you could see why Breitbart become the platform for the Alt-Right. All the other news outlets rejected them.

And you can see why Alt-righters would camp around a site that didn’t ostracize them.

Who are the Alt-Right according to Breitbart?

When I was on Breitbart, I found an article called, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right,” and I found it quite interesting.

Allum Bokhari & Milo Yiannopoulos (the article’s authors) broke the Alt-Right into 4 groups.

These classifications are a little different than Grunwold’s, but they help fill in some of the gaps.

The Intellectuals: These are thinkers who argue heady philosophical and sociological subjects.

They aren’t afraid to question some of our most cherished values. Many of them are more than willing to put modern democracy under a critical microscope.

They are encouraged to “strip away self-censorship” and explore ideas divorced from the divisive rhetoric of mainstream media.

Obviously, this is going to produce some ideas that don’t fit the norm of society.

And it is easy to vilify something we don’t understand.

The Natural Conservatives: Many people consider these people racists. But, that’s not fair, and it depends on your definition of racism.

These people want to protect American culture.

Some of them want to limit how many other cultures can enter the country (by tightening immigration), but most simply don’t want other cultures forced upon them (and then being called a bigot for resisting).

Think of small town America. I am not calling small town America “Alt-Right,” but a small town can help us visualize the motivation behind natural conservatives.

If you grew up in a small town, you may resist a large influx of people who wanted to dramatically change the culture of your home.

You may even resist such movements.

But it wouldn’t have to be about race.

It could merely be about preserving your sense of “home.” You wouldn’t care if new people came, but you wouldn’t want your traditions and customs destroyed.

Many in the Alt-Right believe the left worships at the altar of tolerance, acceptance, and diversity.

The Alt-Right is mostly ambivalent toward the love of diversity. But they feel like those on the left are forcing their love of diversity on everyone.

To them, they’re being asked to sacrifice their traditions, culture, and values out of some sense of altruistic and unearned love for other cultures.

They feel like they’re being asked to love other cultures precisely because they are not our culture. As if the definition of a good culture is one that isn’t ours.

Then, they feel like you must agree with the left, otherwise you’re labeled a bigot. They feel like there isn’t any middle ground.

Natural conservatives are like the small town inhabitants who don’t want their town’s identity taken from them.

They don’t care if people from other cultures want to live here… or even import their culture into their own home. They just don’t want their culture destroyed in the process.

I personally like diversity, so I wouldn’t want to be in a homogeneous community like that. But I can understand why they value it.

So, the left values others’ cultures, and the natural conservatives value their own culture.

But it isn’t on ethnic grounds. It’s cultural. Are you American? Or are you trying to force your values on others under the guise of “tolerance”?

Natural conservatives say, “You’re more than welcome to come to our country, just please respect the values of our country.”

I should point out that some natural conservatives do border on racism, and some would call them racists.

These people want to specifically protect white culture. They don’t think less of other races and ethnicities (they don’t make value judgments based on skin color), they just want to be surrounded by white people because they’re more comfortable with that.

Again, you could call this racist, depending on your definition of racism.

But according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, racism is “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.”

To call these people racist, you’d have to get at the root of why they want to live in predominately white areas. If they do so because they think the white race is superior, then they’d be racist.

But, if you grew up in a predominantly white area, a deluge of other languages and cultures might stress you out. You wouldn’t feel “at home.” Not because the people themselves are bad (you aren’t making a moral judgment about them), but because the environment is very foreign.

You can call these people many things (if you want…), but I’m not ready to call them racists.

The Memers: These are predominantly young people who post extraordinarily insulting comments and memes on the internet.

Allum Bokhari & Milo Yiannopoulos describe the memers as young people who mock the abuses of PC culture by intentionally using racist, sexist, and bigoted comments. They aren’t actually racist; they just hate the political atmosphere around racial issues.

The authors found individuals hurling derogatory terms at each other in one comment thread, and the same people showing genuine care for each other in other comment threads.

They say this: “Whenever such pressure arises in a society [self-censoring because of the PC culture], there will always be a young, rebellious contingent who feel a mischievous urge to blaspheme, break all the rules, and say the unsayable. Why? Because it’s funny!”

Later they say, “It’s hard to know for certain, but we suspect that unlike the core of the alt-right, these young renegades aren’t necessarily instinctive conservatives. Indeed, their irreverence, lack of respect of social norms, and willingness to stomp on other people’s feelings suggest they may actually be instinctive libertarians… [But] are they bigots? No more than death metal devotees in the 80s were actually Satanists.”

And the “1488ers”: These are the “race realists” Grunwold described. These are the racists. But their numbers are quite small.

“Anything associated as closely with racism and bigotry as the alternative right will inevitably attract real racists and bigots. Calmer members of the alternative right refer darkly to these people as the ‘1488ers.’ And for all their talk of there being ‘no enemies to the right,’ it’s clear from the many conversations we’ve had with alt-righters that many would rather the 1488ers didn’t exist.”

Why are they called the 1488ers? It comes from the first 14 words of neo-nazi slogans: “We Must Secure The Existence Of Our People And A Future For White Children.”

Then, 88 comes from the 8th letter of the alphabet ‘H’, so 88 signifies HH or “Heil Hitler.”

Allum Bokhari & Milo Yiannopoulos go on: “Not very edifying stuff. But if you want to use the 1488ers to tarnish the entire alt-right, you need to do the same with Islamist killers and Islam… Which you might well be fine with — but let’s be consistent.”

What can we take away from all of this?

The Alt-Right is a very complicated and diverse group of people.

They are loosely connected by their reaction to the left. They have strong nationalistic tendencies (albeit, not necessarily racist tendencies). They reject the GOP, deeming them fake conservatives. And they are generally anti-establishment.

The only members of this group who are racists are the “Race Realists” and/or the “1488rs.” And a bulk of the Alt-Right wishes they didn’t exist.

I am not Alt-Right, but after doing some reading, I can understand some of their positions.

I would challenge us to look at our own values. The rise of the Alt-Right forces us to ask some poignant questions, if for no other reason than self-discovery.

From my earliest memories, my public education taught me the virtues of diversity and tolerance (they also defined those terms for me, but that’s a different subject…).

Because of this education, I never questioned the value of diversity.

But if we’re going to be mature humans, we must ask ourselves why we believe what we believe.

During this study, I came up against a question I wasn’t comfortable asking: “Why should I value other cultures over my own?”

Something about it felt wrong.

During this study, I came up against a question I wasn’t comfortable asking: “Why should I value other cultures over my own?”

If I’m not alone in this feeling, then it says something about our culture.

Why don’t we feel comfortable asking questions like that?

What values have we accepted; what definitions of “right” and “wrong” have we established that makes us feel like asking these questions is wrong?

It also spawns other questions, like:

“What about other cultures makes them ‘better’ than ours (almost by default)?”

“Why can’t I be proud of American culture, and love it more than other cultures?”

And those in the Alt-Right might say, “Why can’t I ask these questions without being called a xenophobe?”

Researching this topic opened my eyes to a lot of perspectives I had not considered. And I hope you were able to benefit from them.

This study made me think about why I value what I value, and what I think of other people’s values.

And that is never a bad thing.

Now that we have an idea of what defines the Alt-Right, I think we can safely reject the notion that they are racist, and we don’t have to fear them either.

And now that we have this broad understanding, we can reference it against what we hear in the media.

No longer can the Alt-Right be the Bella of the political world (again, sorry Twilight fans…).

Thank you for reading.

——

Here are the major resources I used for this article:

An Establishment Conservatives Guide to the Alt-Right, Breitbart.com

The Alt-Right Rises, Left’s Frankenstein Claps Back, Laissez-Faire (lfb.org)

9 Things You Need To Know About The Alt-Right Movement , USAToday.com

About Sean Edwards

Sean Edwards is an author and a communication strategist. He graduated from the Western Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in history. Sean has a passion for discussing philosophy and American politics.

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28 Replies

  1. Michael C Crosby

    On point again. The sad thing is I really want to share this on my FB page but feel that I have too many friends that would look at it as an attack on them or their values when I truly feel it is just a solid example of the true divide in the country. Maybe in a month or a year I will feel emboldened to, once again, begin to express some of my opinions, but the left has made it quite clear that my opinion is crap and my thoughts are anti-something when I post them. So i’ll just keep an eye on this thread and your blog/whatever to try and gain some perspective and solace that things aren’t as bleak as they seem.

    (note: I was very vocal when the election was over that the main issue it uncovered was that all sides needed to start listening to each other. Unfortunately, for the most part, that claim fell on deaf ears when it came to the people it was actually addresses to.)

    1. Sean Edwards

      Thanks Michael, I’m glad you found it helpful.

  2. cindy

    This article is really helpful to me. We’ve lived overseas for just over 10 years now, and will be repatriating in March. Thank you so much for a well-written article.

    1. Sean Edwards

      You’re welcome Cindy, thanks for reading!

  3. Jimmy Jones

    The article while correct on something continues to act like the left is not racist and anti American culture.

    1. Sean Edwards

      Jimmy, thank you for reading and commenting. I would like to challenge you, however. I have many liberal friends who are not racist and greatly value American culture. If we are going to heal as a nation, we have to learn to see each other as we are, not as the caricatures the media portrays. Most liberals want good things for our country. They want to help the poor, lift the disenfranchised out of poverty, and make sure everyone has access to good healthcare and education. They also defend the rights of those others can often overlook. One may not agree with their strategies for accomplishing their goals, but I’d hope we can all agree that these are noble goals.

  4. Tom

    Who, or what, are the ‘tenants’ you mentioned several times? Is this some spellcheck problem? And if the alt-right rejects anything remotely socialist should those of us trying to follow Christian principles be nervous?

    1. Sean Edwards

      Well, those are valid spelling problems. Apparently I need an editor. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

      You say this: “And if the alt-right rejects anything remotely socialist should those of us trying to follow Christian principles be nervous?”

      There are a few things were need to examine. First, you appear to assume that Christians are socialists. But did Jesus preach a socialist message? Did early Christians share their wealth and give it to the poor? Yes. But socialism requires the state to orchestrate and manage production and material wealth of a nation. That means people have no control over their wealth, and there are no property rights. The state owns all, and the state corners the market on what is right and wrong, not people.

      Jesus said, “Help the poor.” He did not say, “Help the poor, and if you don’t have enough money to do it, tax the wealthy to offset the cost.” Jesus said, “Clothe the naked.” He did not say, “If you see someone who is not clothing the naked, force them to do so (at the edge of a sword if necessary).”

      This is what socialism and welfarism is. If I don’t want to pay into welfare programs, it doesn’t matter. I have to. If I refuse, government agents with guns will come after me (eventually).

      That is forced charity, which is a contradiction of terms. Charity has to be completely voluntary, otherwise it is simply a nice word for slavery of serfdom.

      The majority has determined that all people should be charitable by giving up some of their money to help the poor. That is a noble cause, but we don’t have the right to make other people charitable. We don’t have a right to their wealth. If we think we do, then we are socialists who believe the state has supreme control, and we only have rights if the state grants them to us.

      Therefore, Christians should not be afraid of those who stand against socialism. In fact, Christians should stand against socialism as well.

      Thank you for reading.

  5. Lara Berch

    Hey Sean,
    When I saw the headline of your article in my email, I thought it was going to be another Trump bashing leftist agenda speech. I unsubscribed without reading, but then thought to at least look at it. I am glad to be wrong 🙂 Thank you for not falling for the country-wide hysteria on racism and bigotry. I will re-subscribe.

    1. Sean Edwards

      Haha, thanks for giving me a second chance 🙂

  6. Matt Bennett

    Sean,

    Great article!! However, it needs to be proof read for grammar and spelling. You make some fantastic points and set a fine example of open-mindedness here, but some people who might otherwise benefit from it might dismiss it out of hand due to grammar mistakes.

    Excellent article, brother. This is the second article of yours I’ve read, and I look forward to perusing your blog further and seeing what else you end up writing in the days to come. Keep up the good work!

    1. Sean Edwards

      Thank you Matt, you’re not the only one to say this to me 🙂 Up until recently, no one cared. Anyway, I’ve already set up a person to proof-read my posts. Revamped editions of the last few posts will be up soon, and future posts should be proof-read by another person before they’re published.

      I do proof-read. I usually give my articles 2-3 read throughs before I publish. I guess I’m just bad at it!

      Thanks for reading!

      1. Brie Montgomery

        it is very hard to proof your own work. you see what you know should be there, not what really is. proof reading is a skill.

      2. Sean Edwards

        So true! But fortunately, I’m getting things edited now.

    2. Sean Edwards

      Okay Matt, this article has been updated after being proof-read. It should have significantly less typos! Lol.

  7. Karen Dillard

    Sean, I think you made a good attempt to define the alt right. The real differences between people, however, is the way they think and perceive the world. Leftists do not think in terms of all or nothingisms, or black and white. We don’t think in generalities. This is why it is so difficult to have a meeting of the minds. We are thinking differently. Literally. So, to try to define the left in terms of generalities, it becomes difficult.

  8. Tom Mack

    Oh wow! I am actually a moderate progressive and I may say I am greatly surprised to find a liberal who is actually a real journalist – albeit some grammatical mistakes – one may applaud. It is surprising to see an unbiased approach without condescending interjections – typical of smug liberalism.

    Our nation faces many issues and it seems to me been quite the norm that people have spoken without listening as of late, The art of conversation and participation in a truly intelligent dialog I had deemed long died out with our parents. Keep up the faith and good work – portrays hope.

    1. Sean Edwards

      Tom, I appreciate your kind words very much.

      I have never been called a journalist, so that’s a first 🙂

      Also, just for your information, I don’t consider myself a liberal. I side with the democratic party on many issues, but I have philosophical problems with both parties. So, I can dance at both parties, but its to the beat of a different drum.

      But, one thing I love about the Left is their optimistic view of humanity and the future.

      Thank you again for reading and commenting. I hope to see more of your thoughts on future posts.

      – Sean

  9. Asher Jacobson

    This is a very mixed bag, although, I give the author a solid C+ for making an honest effort to be fair. The big issue is conflating the 1488ers, who are self-described Hitler-lovers, with general race-realism, which necessarily implies that he doesn’t at all understand race-realism. Race-realism acknowledges the manifest reality, supported by overwhelming evidence, that the human species (sic, because the term “species” isn’t even scientific) has undergone substantial evolutionary divergence over the past 200k years.

    That’s it. Full stop. That’s *all* race-realism is and nothing more.

    At least 80 percent of the alt-right is race-realist, although there is a huge range as to how important a role race-realism plays in analyzing human society. It’s entirely possible to be race-realist and not consider it to have that much of an impact on practical experience. But to conflate race-realism with Hitler-lovin’ is just gross ignorance. The only way I can figure the author does this is that he inadvertently infers the “ought” of racial supremacism with the “is” of race-realism. In doing so, he stumbles into the same logically fallacious reasoning in which the 1488ers engage.

    It would have been nice if the author had turned to actual alt-right-types to get a handle on various strains in the (non)movement. By failing to do so, he ends up doing what the left has been doing to the right for the last century.

    If the al-right gets remembered by history then the man who is most likely to be considered its “founder” is a tech-guru named Curtis Yarvin. Yarvin is a San Fransisco Jew who was raised in a committed communist environment and who was a social democrat up until the late-90s, irrc. Sort of a non-obvious primary source for Hitler-lovin’, no? He prodigiously wrote a mammoth amount at his blog Unqualified Reservations for around eight years, ending early 2015. True, most individuals in the alt-right have never heard of Yarvin, yet most themes they explicate were pioneered at his blog. It is still up and open to anyone actually curious about the alt right.

    Two take-aways.
    a) it is simply false to say that only a small percentage of the alt-right is race-realist
    b) it is simply slander to equate race-realism with Hitler-lovin’ and, last I checked, God wasn’t too keen on slander

    1. Sean Edwards

      Asher, I appreciate your comments here. My analysis was a general overview. And I got the “real-racist” definition from someone in the Alt-Right. So, I felt safe making that equation. Seeing as the alt-right is a grassroots, wildly diverse group, there are bound to be people who identify with the same term, but define it differently. That appears to be what happened here. If the Alt-Right morphs into a more homogenous group, then maybe we can more accurately define these terms.

      I may be wrong in this, but just about everyone recognizes that humans have evolved differently, giving them slight aesthetic differences. Giving that recognition a name is weird and illogical. It would like calling people “Hair-Color Realists” because they recognize that people from different areas have different hair color, and that’s all the term means.

      Why would you label that? That has no consequence on anything. We only label things when they need to be differentiated from something else. Are you implying that some people don’t recognize that some people’s skin color is different from others? And that the term “real-racist” describes people who recognize this difference? Because I don’t think the first group exists. If we were going to use labeling logic correctly, then we’d need to label the people who do not believe there is an objective difference in people’s appearances. And we would call these people psychotic because they have lost touch with reality.

      Again, I appreciate your comments. Hopefully clearer definitions will form in the coming months.

      1. Asher Jacobson

        For starters, the term mostly used in the alt-right is “hbd”, short for human bio-diversity, not race-realism. Why? Because it’s more precise and the alt-right is yuuuuge into precision. Since you have not identified your friend and have not made us privy to the specific questions you asked him I really have no sure way to comment on what he said to you. However, my BS detector is screaming bloody murder.

        I can think of a few reasons why you may have gotten this impression from him, the most likely being that he thought admitting it would damage him personally or professionally. I interact daily with other alt-right types, of all varieties, and I can’t imagine any of them saying what you claim he said. Can you name a prominent alt-righter who has publicly made the following claim: all human evolution stopped 200k years ago with the exception of minor cosmetic differences. You can’t. One doesn’t exist.

        HBD is the position that different groups of people around the world evolved in response to their environment and that this environment created different social pressures. Those social pressures, in turn, created different selective processes in different parts of the world, selective processes affecting every aspect of biology and behavior. BTW, there probably aren’t *any* serious evolutionary scientists who hold differently. However, most of them are not going to admit this publicly for fear of having their lives destroyed.

        HBD is a done deal. The theory and evidence behind it is more solid and predictive than climate science by at least an order of magnitude. Fifty years down the road the explication I gave will be as accepted as basic foundational knowledge. And my estimate is that at least 80 percent of the alt-right holds the position of differential human evolution I explicated.

        Here’s a thought: if HBD is synonymous with Hitler-lovin’ why is it that so many non-whites openly subscribe to it? The man who coined the phrase, half(?)-jewish Steve Sailer, wrote for National Review in the early aughts and he currently blogs at a web mag run by California GOP Gubernatorial candidate Ron Unz. Are you saying Unz has been openly hosting a Hitler-lover without even realizing it?

        Your friend either wrong, misleading you, or you misunderstood him. 99 pct of HBD/race-realism is completely unrelated to Hitler-lovin’. The 1488ers are a tiny fraction of the alt-right.

      2. Sean Edwards

        This is very interesting, thank you for sharing. I’m guessing most people would be afraid to put that forward because it is dangerously close to using evolutionary science to defend the Nazi’s “Final Solution” and other forms of ethnic genocide (or enslavement). If we can prove that evolution created different social pressures that caused humans in different areas to develop different strengths and weaknesses, then we’re only a few inches away from saying, “And therefore, this race is superior.”

        By they way, “my friend” was mentioned in the article. And a link was given to the article I read.

  10. Asher Jacobson

    Another less than minor oversight is your claim that the alt-right are adamantly opposed to socialism. Sure, if by that you mean universalistic left-socialism, but most of the alt-right is pretty okay with significant wealth transfers, although they base this on social order and tranquility rather than justice.

    @RAMZPAUL who has ~30k followers on twitter and is probably one of the most prominent alt-right tweeters has explicitly stated that a minimum income is absolutely necessary for social order and stability in an era of rapidly increasing technological and social complexity. Yes, he doesn’t base it on the socialist-left basis of “justice” but to most laypeople that would look like some sort of socialism.

    1. Sean Edwards

      Asher, I have often said that the left and right are 2 sides of the same coin: they are both socialist, just in different ways and for different reasons. It does not surprise me that some alt-righters support socialist policies, it more evidence that most people don’t understand philosophy and political science. If most people saw where their political philosophies ended, I believe they would abandon their positions.

  11. Bill McHann

    I guess alt-right is a better name than neo-confederate or racist which were the words the liberals were throwing around for anyone who disagreed with them but it’s funny how they try to class everyone and put them in a little box.Most people are more complex than that

  12. Sean Edwards

    Asher, I have enjoyed your comments up until this point. They have forced me to analyze some things I have not thought about before, which I always like. However, once we drift from being critical of ideas to being critical of people, the conversation ends. If you think I’ve made a logical error, please explain it in a respectful way. Criticizing people instead of ideas, as you’ve done here, is a sure fire way to limit your influence. Once people feel as though you’ve called them an idiot for believing something, they tune out. Most people don’t like being taught by someone who looks down on them. One of the goals of this site is to create a place where people of differing opinions can respectfully engage with each other. I protect that strictly. So, if you would like to respectfully rebuff my statement, I’m all ears. But if you continue in this vein, I will no longer engage with you.

  13. Sean Edwards

    Diane, I like to think I am sensitive those issues. However, this articles intent was to dispel myth and try to establish a framework for understanding the motivation for this group. Are there people in the Alt Right who are abusive and bullys? Yes. However, I want to be careful that we don’t make the mistake that everyone who identifies as Alt Right is like that. Furthermore, the Alt Right is a highly diverse group. That’s what I’ve discovered. And it may be a mistake to put all these people under one roof. But that’s for them to figure out. Thank you for reading.

  14. Sean Edwards

    Asher, you appeared to trolling for a fight. I don’t engage with people who appear to be spooling for a argument.

    Why did I think this? Your tone was hostile, you called me an idiot, and then you falsely claimed I argued one point and attacked me for something for which I did not do. However, if I was mistaken about your intents, I apologize.

    You are correct, “Social pressures create differences, and therefore there is a superior race” is not a valid argument. But, many people would not appreciate that kind of semantic/logical argument due to the very real, very racially tense period in which we live. I was saying that people would use the first statement (evolution produced different social pressures) to erroneously support their racist positions. Logical fallacies are used to pass laws all the time. You said that many scientists and researchers are afraid to say these things publicly. I do not know the validity of that claim. But for arguments sake I’m going assuming its true. These scientists and researchers are probably afraid because they knew how such data would be used, either logically or illogically.