If Diversification of Thought is a Good Thing, why Dismantle the Alt Right?

Once realize that the Alt Right is made of many different factions with different motivations and different ideas, we realize that some of the groups are good and worthwhile, while others are toxic and can work to radicalize the others in toxicity. The ideologies can be broken down into separate parts, the majority of which are decent and benign. From there, those decent ideologies can be integrated into public discourse again through civil fashion, while the hateful ideologies can be isolated.

The purpose of isolation for the hateful groups is to prevent fundamentalization.

Fundamentalization is a process I’ve described in other areas and is not a religious term or something unique to any particular ideology. It is a process where people are able to convert others into a manner of thinking incapable of rationalizing with others who disagree. They follow darker and darker paths eventually leading to extremism. The White Nationalists (who are already fundamentalists and extremists in nature) and other such factions in the Alt Right have the ability to fundamentalize the rest of it, if those groups aren’t separated and reintegrated with the rest of public policy discourse.

The reason for this is that when decent and benign ideas are shamed, their ideas are pushed underground. They feel isolated and angered. But in the underground they discover others who are like minded and share their views with others who have more information. Then, when some great shift in society happens, such as resurgence in free speech culture, they come blasting out. This is part of what happened with the rise of the Alt Right.

The problem is that when you force legitimately fair people making arguments you don’t like underground, they don’t just meet others like them who share their ideas, but also others who have been forced underground… for legitimate reasons. Case in point, the White Nationalist groups.

The way we prevent that, we have to have open debate. People have to be invited to take part in discussions and open forums, they have to be shown respect along with their ideas. They can’t be made to feel bullied or like they are on trial with a mob at their doorstep, waiting for them to say the wrong thing. There can’t be a wrong thing to say. At that point, they feel heard and respected and will be open to accepting when they are wrong. You might even realize sometimes they have a point, now that you don’t see them as evil. Then we have the process of Free Speech, where the best ideas rise to the top, and the worst ideas sink to the bottom and we all move on from there.

So that is why dismantling is necessary. We preserve the decent ideas, as well as the bad, but separate the groups by reintegrating those that aren’t hateful into our own. This prevents them from becoming dangerous extremists through fundamentalization while preserving their ideas in a way which the general public can grow. By having open discourse with the rest of the Right and the Left, they will be able to break away from the hateful ideologies of those factions in the Alt Right, and we may be better off for including those factions I referred to earlier as benign and decent, but which have thus far been isolated and angry.

Summary on Dissecting the Alt Right

 

It should be obvious now my stance on the White Nationalists and Trolls, as well as that I disagree with much of the line of thinking of many groups in the Alt Right. As someone who would probably easily be described by some as a George Bush Neo-Conservative, by others a Constitutional Conservative, or by many of the Alt Right as an “Establishment Republican”, I wouldn’t fit well into much of the Alt Right if I tried, but I do see a need for discussion and reaching a point of mutual understanding with much of the Alt Right to prevent the sort of radicalization that will make them the dangerous force we are seeing them turn into. I’d like to believe that discussion could help mitigate the violence we saw across the country following the Charlottesville protest. Let’s be honest, there will never be an end to hate anywhere in the world, but cutting them off from attention and resources, means that they may exist, but they don’t have to affect our lives.

The New Right – The Alt-Alt Right

There’s been somewhat of an ideological civil war for something like a year and a half now, where the Civic Nationalist factions have broken off from many of the White Identity groups and White Nationalists. This is now an Alt-Alt Right, which is attempting to rebrand itself as the New Right. Furthermore, the White Identity advocates are distancing themselves from the White Nationalists, saying basically,

“Hey dudes, we’re just trying to get people to stop calling us racists and listen to some of our concerns, but you fools are legit racists.”

That said, the fracturing of the Alt Right and the New Right make clear the point that this post is trying to make. There is a great deal of diversity in the Alt Right, and much of it is composed of people who are salvageable. The fact is, I wrote this entire project for the reason of wanting to isolate the White Nationalists and it appears that a lot of that work is already being done. They are weak when they are not able to feed off the other factions through cross pollination. I believe that the other ideologies are capable of being brought into the framework of the American political sphere by dismantling the Alt Right, and leaving the White Nationalists group isolated and without representation like the 1980’s skinheads they used to be.

White Nationalism, the Core of the Alt Right

 

Whether we are talking about Neo-Nazis, the KKK, White Supremacists, or whatever, we can simply call them White Nationalists.

Modern White Nationalism came from a series of ethnic movements which began following WWII. We can argue that the KKK existed well before that, which functioned as both a white identity politics faction and a white supremacist group, but most of the justifications for ethnic nationhood that people fall back on today came about after the war. That war created the argument that the Jewish people needed a homeland to call their own which could advocate for them with the international community and provide a place of refuge to escape the historical pogroms and holocaust that dotted their history. I agree with that, by the way, but others used the same idea to make ethnic nationalist movements of their own.

Following this, other ethnic groups began to advocate for broader nationalism, such as the Arabs with the creation of Ba’athism, with its goal of creating an Arab superstate. So the trend wasn’t universally a problem with white ethnicities. Feeling a loss of power and status from emancipation and the removal of Jim Crow laws, whites rose up in various reactionary hate groups. Some advocate what they believe to be a “White Genocide” taking the arguments of globalism to much greater extremes, and expounding on the concept of white identity to the point of advocating the creation of a White State to protect the “White Race(s)” from extinction.

I said it before, but given what I’ve just written, it needs to be said again. These are not my views, but the views as best I can communicate them of the groups I’m trying to describe specifically for the purposes of isolating this group in the future.

While I’ve tried to describe these groups dispassionately because I think some of them have valid motives that can be reasoned with, I simply have to distance myself from this one as explicitly dangerous and harmful to the future of civilization. I’ve got nothing redeeming to say about these people. Their actions and rhetoric speak for itself.

What I can say is that it seems most of the Alt Right don’t approve of them either. Dubbed by many as the 1488ers, for various reasons, the White Nationalists say the same hateful things as the trolls, but literally mean it. It needs to be said that they are looked down upon as the people giving the Alt Right a bad name. Let that sink in.

The big problem is that the person perhaps most responsible for kicking off the Alt Right, at least popularizing it, is from this group — Richard Spencer. Spencer coined the term when he created a website, AltRight(dot)com to link together the various factions of the Alt Right and is also a well known White Nationalist. You can see more about that in The History of the Alt Right.

What I can say that makes me feel very good about the universe is that this faction accounts for very little of the population, but a great deal of the attention given by the media — leading all of us to be more concerned that the whole of this mysterious Alt Right, are in fact White Nationalists .

To give an idea of the numbers I am talking about, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the KKK only has around 7,000 members. That’s it, just 7,000. It’s a similar situation with other White Nationalist factions. Furthermore, most are broken up into various feuding factions, negating their influence as a movement. A proof of their influence, or relative lack thereof, is in looking at their leader, Richard Spencer explaining nearly two years ago what he believed the Alt Right was. The virtue signalling throughout seems endemic of the sort of pseudo-fascist ideals we see now apparent in the Alt-Right. Remember, he was the one got the ball rolling on the Alt Right. His video however, to this day, only has 27,000 views. Given how much influence the mainstream media gives him, it’s almost impossible for me to imagine such a low following. I could name other leading political commentators who could command more views by showing themselves eating a sandwich. For example, a video uploaded by the Conservative speaker and writer Ben Shapiro on his channel the Daily Wire about Charlottesville gained more than twice as many views in a single day. Even I have had far more views on many of my answers. The fact that he can’t get more of a real following than that, should tell us about the realistic potency of this group.

The reason I feel that this group is so important has to do to changes going on within the Alt Right and moves by this faction, which I consider “the core”. The core lost control of the Alt Right following the attempts to promote it to others and broaden it’s appeal. Milo Yiannopoulos has stated that people in the Alt Right knew about the racists, but dismissed them as some 200 crazy hillbillies from Kentucky that nobody cared about, that their numbers maybe accounted for 2–5%, but he then stated that due to media obsession with this group in particular, the decent parts of the Alt Right have fled, leaving only this group.

I think there is some truth to this. I do believe that the Alt Right was so good in rebranding themselves that it did bring on such a wave of new voices that the original White Nationalist faction was drown out by the various other groups I’ve mentioned above. I believe in this second wave came the voices such as Milo and the news outlet Breitbart, who latched on to their messages of Free Speech, Civic Nationalism, and advocacy for groups usually targeted by Progressives to promote themselves. In that way, I believe it’s possible that people like Milo and Breitbart got into bed with something they didn’t fully understand, though it is also entirely possible they simply believed that regardless of the Alt Right’s history, it had evolved away from it’s racist past.

What seems to be the case now, however is that people are leaving the Alt Right in large numbers, leaving behind the core group, which is actively working to radicalize the rest to their ideology. They are coming back together to form what many are calling The New Right.

Trolls – The Alt Right’s Denial Engine

 

We have to talk about trolls.

Trolls are people who are master provocateurs. They know how to say the right things that will cause the reaction in others that they want. They are like evil psychologists.

Trolls function in mostly online forums of the internet living out their fantasies through the act of taking joy in angering others. They are fully aware of social norms and values, and actively seek to break taboos for fun. They say the most hateful things imaginable, but don’t actually believe anything they say. They are just trolling you.

That said, the most dangerous thing about them is that they don’t believe anything they say. They might spout out something profound, only to say something enraging and hateful the next. They didn’t mean either of them. They just took delight in the reaction it caused in others. It really is a game. That’s dangerous because when you go into these groups, you can’t know if you are dealing with something that is actually real commentary or someone using incendiary language to pull others into a fight.

What makes this group important is that they know how to get attention. They literally share psychology notes, tactics, and techniques to get as much attention to their troll as is humanly possible without getting caught. Being that they don’t actually believe most of what they say, they serve as great sources of gaslighting any group the media feels they represent. Their adolescent hate speech appears in the comments section of virtually every web page and this is then used to paint everyone from the Alt Right, Trump Supporters, Conservatives, Republicans, and even many groups on the Left, as hateful people.

They are the internet’s stage 4 cancer.

Counter Identity Politics and the Alt Right

 

In a very, very large part, the modern Alt Right is a reaction to identity politics. Identity politics is where groups will seek to create a unified set of political doctrines based on one or multiple ways in which they view themselves. This includes Feminism, Black Rights, the LGBT, but also includes Military Veterans groups, and other such political activity groups built around status and advocate for change based on one unified stance on what is good for their whole group.

Where the Alt Right took issue with identity politics was that various Left leaning political action groups channeled resentment towards other identity groups they identified as oppressors, converging most often on white males. Essentially, in Left leaning circles including many Liberal cities, academia, and the media, it became normalized to casually mock white people and men, or universally hold them responsible for broad and generalized problems in society, as if these weren’t patently racist and sexist arguments. This became commonplace in Liberal circles for such identity groups to feel free to say hateful and disparaging things towards men, whites, straight people, or Christians, as they were perceived as having systemic privilege enough that such attacks were warranted and culturally encouraged. This became center stage not long before the time of this writing with the Google Memo by an engineer who spoke about the culture of Google being openly toxic to men, and his subsequent firing from the company. While obviously sexist and racist behaviors, the activists and those who agreed with them were justified as it was believed a person could not practice racism or sexism, or other such behaviors because they systematically lacked power due to the oppression of these groups, and therefore could not act on the resentment they held, even when what they were saying and doing would never be acceptable if the roles were reversed.

One case in point – F*** you, you filthy white f****!’  protesters hurl abuse at white students at Dartmouth

This “punching up”, left many whites and men, as well as the others feeling frustrated and without representation, as if the act of representing themselves itself was a criminal offense, since their privilege nullified their arguments. This angered many, but rather than abandoning or arguing against the concept of identity politics, many took the natural reaction to form identity groups themselves. Feeling unable to of doing so outside of the public debates, they did so in close off online circles where they networked with others. The argument was that if you need to form identity activism groups to defend your rights, then whites, men, and others needed to form them too. To quote one Alt Right leader, Jared Taylor “white identity” in particular as defined as “a recognition by whites that they have interests in common that must be defended. All other racial groups take this for granted, that it’s necessary to band together along racial lines to work together for common interests.”

Civic Nationalism and the Alt Right

 

Civic Nationalism is a pride movement, but one celebrating nationalism that isn’t ethnic in nature. Civic Nationalist focuses on the ideals, values, institutions, and beliefs of a culture. For many of the Alt Right groups that have spawned internationally, Civic Nationalism is a reaction to a perceived attempt by modern Left-wing philosophy to blame Western Culture for all evils of history in an unfair representation of the objective good which such societies have brought. This, they refer to as “globalism.” Some would describe globalism as the need for Western culture to correct its numerous and systematic injustices against the world by importing other cultures into it. The argument is to say that globalism’s basic assumption is that there is something flawed in Western culture and the only way to correct that flaw is to replace it with other cultures and ideas contradictory to the values of Western Culture. To many, this feels like an attack on their values, since often, it really doesn’t matter the actual cultural traits which are being important and what potential value they might have, so long as they new, different and exotic. This implies to Civic Nationalist’s that their value systems are thereby patently inferior to all others and in need of replacement by the Left.

For this reason, the concept of Civic Nationalism arose as a system of apologetical arguments to defend Western Civilization, it’s values, and its institutions. Each nation’s Alt Right may focus primarily on the virtues of that particular nation, but many Civic Nationals find a great deal of common ground with one another in the acknowledgement that the unifying “Western Culture” is a cross pollination of ideas from many nations over the course of centuries.

What differentiates this group from ethnic nationalists, such as the neo-Nazis and the KKK, is that they really don’t care what race you are, so long as you believe in the ideals of Western civilization. A person who identifies themselves as “Indian by birth, American by choice” and seeks to adapt and acclimate to American culture, is someone very much appreciated by people who call themselves Civic Nationals.

The Free Speech Faction of the Alt Right

The Free Speech Faction is the first group that draws most people into the Alt Right. They are advocates for free speech and against censorship in all forms. They are the people who will get up in arms whenever they feel that people are being unfairly treated for their views — any views, even the ones that are objectively horrible. This is the faction of “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

One group that I saw that attended the event was a group saying they were part of the Patriot movement. Besides the video I am unaware of them, and by the looks of them, they looked like a bunch of bikers, but what they said was interesting. They said they didn’t agree with the racism or the BLM or the Antifa, but they were there to fight for Free Speech, and nothing else. I was unaware of such a group and particularly unaware of it in the biker community, but they said they traveled very far for the protest, and did not communicate about them an heir of prejudicial behavior. They communicated a sentiment I am familiar with of many people I know from the South, that they did not support racism, but were against the silencing of history and were fighting for its protection.

This faction, including but not limited to those calling themselves the Patriot Movement is important to understand because they are still on the outer edges of the Alt Right, may not identify as Alt Right, and may not know that the community they are a part of is Alt Right. They just hear “Free Speech” and are like, “Yeah, I’m down with that.” It is something most of us might do, having no other sources of information. The problem is that once they enter that community, cross pollination seeds them with the ideas more central to the circle, which can get pretty nasty.

The Alt Right Dissected

My ultimate goal in writing this is to make people aware of the Alt Right as more than just the White Nationalists. There are many such individuals, but what I want is for common knowledge to exist about them so that the rest of us can parse the Alt Right, find common ground with the parts that most of us can agree with, reintegrate those factions back into mainstream political discussions, and eventually isolate out the White Nationalist factions, leaving them to wither on the vine absent a future source to recruit members and support from. I’m not Alt Right, but what I see in them is a very large and diverse group with some factions having valid arguments, and a very small group with radically terrible ideas. I’m concerned the overgeneralization of them, however, is playing into the hands of their worst elements in an effort to fundamentalize the entire movement. This is an identical process that I have communicated before with such radicalizing groups, and I see the trend as dangerous and damaging to the future of our country if we don’t make the right choices now in defeating it. Part of that process is information. For that reason, this answer will primarily be about communicating the views of the different factions within the Alt Right as best I can decipher. Parts will be uncomfortable to read, but know that they were equally difficult to research and write, in fact more so.


Let’s begin by examining the following image, because it pretty much explains everything you need to know about the Alt Right. It’s messy, it’s confusing, it’s convoluted, it’s weird, and there are parts that scare us into thinking everything else in it is terrible. But the lines within it are important. This is the best way I could break up the competing ideologies in the Alt Right, not to be representative of the relative sizes of each ideology, but of the ideologies that make them up.

General Commonalities — Disestablishmentarianism and Populism

The only thing I’ve found that seems common to all of the Alt Right is evident in the name. First, while they have a general resentment of the Left and its specific policies, the alternative Right was formed in response to what it viewed as “establishment” Right’s inability to act in what many of the Alt Right believed to be their interests or act in accordance with their stated principles. Which principles take priority differs from one group to another, but in general, they view the establishment as compromising too many of their principles in regard to either placating the Left or to big business interests as a requirement of playing the game.

Many were driven to the Alt Right as a result of the Presidency of George W. Bush, as they believed that the Neoconservative agenda was one that sought too many accommodations with the Democrats and shifted the country Leftward, while also entangling the world in what they viewed as unnecessary wars without focusing on the needs of the American culture. The Presidency of Barack Obama also saw numerous social changes that many in the Alt Right felt were direct attacks on their culture or their way of life.

For this reason, while still vehemently disagreeing with the Left, they disagreed with the way in which the Right represented itself, thereby in their mind necessitating a break from the “old” Right or Establishment Right. Seeing little chance to see real reforms done by the establishment Right, they joined the alternative one. In this thinking, they share a major vein with many who view the modern establishment Republicans, as well as Establishment Democrats, to be unable to practice the values of their constituencies, but instead have sold out to corporatist mentalities and a desire to appease uncompromising political enemies.

The general lack of confidence in the cultural cliques of government is a sentiment many are finding agreement with. It’s known historically as “Disestablishmentarianism” and has become a trend common in both the Right and Left, giving rise to the popular movements of today. Donald Trump was viewed as a completely foreign element to “the Establishment”, and in fact, the complete resentment he received from them, was an element he capitalized on in his bid for the Presidency, and continues to do so. Many people gravitate to his populist message in the belief that he will somehow be able to break-up the culture of government in Washington and “return power to the people.” They believe that by “Draining the Swamp” they will restore the Right to some ideal it has lost, and thereby dealing a major defeat against the Left.

The resentment of both Left leaning ideology and the “Established” Right, seem to be the only thing I see most of the Alt Right having in common. Beyond that they break up in many different ideologic sets, many competing ideologies, and a few that are mutually inconsistent with each other and which will be unable to exist together for long.

Understanding and Dismantling the Alt-Right

The Charlottesville Clashes of last month have inspired me to take the chance to do something I’ve had a mind to do for a while. I want to have an honest conversation about the Alt-Right.

I’ve held off because until recently I’ve known very little about them. I’m not a member and am not part of their information sharing networks. After some initial exploration to find out what they were about, I moved on to other sources. I really don’t like speaking on matters I know I don’t understand, so I left it at that. But this is an issue that is affecting the way people view and interact with the Right, the actual Right, so I felt it deserved my time to research. I’ve put a lot of research into what drives them, what their different factions represent, and most importantly, which factions the rest of us can reach common ground with and which factions need to be isolated and stamped out.

There is good and bad in there, but to dismiss everything, like with all other movements, is to invite greater hostility. It’s my belief that the current way we handle the alt-right, to label them all as racists and bigots, is working to empower them. Followers of my blog know that that sort of mentality is the kind of thing that enrages people, particularly those who haven’t deserved it. It builds chasms between people who could find a lot of common ground and pushes people towards radicalism — because the radicals don’t call them names.

“They say you’re a racist, huh? They said I was too.”

I had this same sympathy for the Alt-Right maybe a year or so ago. I got curious because I believed that most of the hysterical reporting was probably not true, as with so many other things. On the surface, they didn’t live up to the hype. That initial inspection, absent what hysteria and accusations puts you in touch with a lot of their surface ideas that many people would agree with. For example, they are strong advocates of free speech and fighting corruption in Washington, which I think most people can agree with.

I’ve heard that called “Alt-Lite” because eventually you get much deeper. At some point you come to the realization I did.

“Oh s***! These guys really are racists!”

Most of us high-tail it out at that point. I’m glad I realized this early on. I redirected to better sources, Ben Shapiro, Thomas Sowell, Dinesh D’Souza, as well as older philosophers in the Conservative field. That correction, led me into a deeper understanding of Conservatism and how the traditional Right is so much different than the alternative one, specifically the racist tones of it.

But now the alt-right is center stage, and it is my belief that the way the media portrays them, is driving more to their membership as well as helping to fantasize their core. There is a lot of misinformation that comes out after events such as Charlottesville. The story the media describes is often biased and one-sided, which is a problem because in an information rich age we live in, the other side is going to come out. When people feel they’ve been lied to, that information is being withheld, they sympathize and want to know more directly from the source.

Through this self investigation, they are introduced to the outward aspects that many can agree with— the “Alt Lite”. They find they have common ground and that the news reports must have been lying. The Alt-Right is a diverse group, with many powerful thinkers able to articulate their views. They become sympathizers. Many groups within are benign, but through cross pollination with other groups, before long, they fall closer to the core and into the hardline beliefs of the Alt Right’s more dangerous elements. The few that reach the center start adopting irrational and dangerous practices and stop hearing the views of others. This process is identical to the fundamentalization I’ve described in both the far-Left and with radical Islamic fundamentalists. Call them extremists if you like, but fundamentalism knows no religion or ideology, but is a process of converting minds and ideologies to hateful degrees.

The way we inoculate ourselves from fundamentalism is through the sharing of knowledge about them. That’s real knowledge and not more fear and hatred. It’s my belief that many who are beginning the path by growing curious about the alt-right can be turned and be better citizens by finding common ground with better ideas, like Conservatism, which I proudly stand for. What won’t work is broadly shaming them, as I’ve described already. The truth is that the Alt-Right is still a loose group of many competing ideas, even so much to the point that within them rages a civil war for the future of the Alt-Right. But painting them all as every kind of evil only serves to strengthen their common bonds and pushes more potential members to them.

The thing is, they know this. The extremists in the Alt-Right know what they are doing. They are professional provocateurs who use public outrage to their advantage. They chose Charlottesville, and protested in a very particularly way because they knew what they were doing. They trolled everyone. They use events like this week to recruit more members. Events like Charlottesville were good for the hardline alt-right, particularly when other parts of their story start reaching out which go against many of the narratives of the popular media. The violence wasn’t one-sided and that simple fact will make many people curious about them and skeptical of where they get their information. Make no mistake, I’m not a supporter of the Alt-Right, but they will grow from this because the information coming out about Charlottesville is simply missing a lot of key details.

So I want to do something very different. I want to try to surface what I think represents a good picture of what the alt-Right really is. I want to dismantle its ideologies and empower people to recognize them, debate with those who might be influenced by them, and recruit them away before they fall into the Alt-Right trap. Many on the fringes need to be brought back into the political fabric of the United States.

Like so many have said, we can’t paint with wide brushes, and “The Alt-Right” can’t become the new buzzword for “Evil people we disagree with.” That’s only going to help them radicalize more. I’m a firm believer that what lives in the dark dies in the light, so I would like to take the next week to apply my methodology to bringing light to what the alt-right actually is to help others fight it.

I hope to change the narrative to one of understanding so that people like me, the rational debaters, can do more than scream and throw rocks, as people like that only serve to empower those who wish to remain in the dark.