Saturday, August 26, 2017

Am I a member of the alt right?

Today on Facebook, someone made the comment "I just thought you were one of those alt right AFA types."

Setting aside for the moment the fact that I was "one of those AFA types" for years, graduated the AFA clergy program, and think the AFA did decades of good work on behalf of Asatru and the folk before the new leadership took things in a different direction, I'd like to talk about the alt right.

To answer the question, "are you a member of the alt right?" requires a definition of what, exactly, the term means. And despite the rather, shall we say, jaundiced definitions that are floating around out there promoted by people who most definitely do not like the alt right (many of whom are brilliantly tagged the "control left"), the question of "what is the alt right?" is a legitimate one, and one which will ultimately yield an answer as to whether or not I'm one of them.

I will deliberately eschew the labels and definitions that those who do not call themselves alt right provide, as these are by design intended to marginalize, undermine, and ultimately dehumanize (the SJW's use the term "otherize" when it's being done to them) the people who do self-identify with the alt right label. That leaves those who do self-identify as being alt right, and those few outsiders who engage in good-faith efforts to discuss the movement (interestingly, those who do so are themselves condemned as bigots, merely because they try to give an honest look at the alt right, rather than a hate-filled screed designed to eviscerate it).

Skeptic magazine recently came out with an analysis of the alt right, and although they are very obviously not an alt right publication themselves, they did a pretty straight job of describing it and its luminaries ("leaders" seems like the wrong term). That must be why waste-of-oxygen PZ Myers hates them for it.

The general impression is that the alt right is far from some monolithic bloc with a defined credo. It's not. It's a nebulous thing, centered on the idea that traditional National Review-style conservatism and Bush 43-era neo-conservatism is a disaster and barely differentiated from liberalism, with a mix of nationalism, racism and racialism (not the same thing), anti-Islamism, antisemitism, anti-Marxism/Communism, fascism, populism, distrust of big government, and a conspiracy mindset, among many other things. It's also quite aggressive, and willing to push its ideas using tactics that have been entirely the province of the left before now.

That's a huge swath of ideological positions, and the fact that not all are required complicates the question of a definition even further. Indeed, some who self-identify as alt right will argue vociferously that a given position taken by another, and held to be part of their alt right identity, is in fact contrary to the alt right idea.

The true miracle is that they all still use the label and the whole thing hasn't shattered into a zillion pieces before now. I attribute it, more than a little, to the fact that the right is much more forgiving of heresy, and it's the left that demands absolute ideological lockstep on all issues. The left embraces the idea of "I won't call myself X if person Y also does, because he believes in Z. And it's his fault, and needs to stop calling himself X." The right seems much more comfortable with the idea that they can call themselves X and it's just understood that it doesn't necessarily entail also believing Z just because some people do.

What that boils down to is, just because some people in the alt right say a given idea is part of it, doesn't necessarily mean that everyone in the alt right has to agree with that.

What fun!

It's also complicated by the fact that it's not just the alt right that we're talking about. There's also an "alt lite". It's a term that was coined (as far as I can tell) in 2014 by the Occidental Dissent blog, as a disparaging term:
They are conservatives and libertarians who have only recently immigrated to White Man’s Island. Some of these interlopers are now using The Heil Heard Around The World as an excuse to stake a claim to our freaking island.
By the Alt-Lite, I am referring to Breitbart, the Milo phenomenon, Paul Joseph Watson and Infowars, Cernovich and a few other people. A few years ago, none of these people were around. They certainly weren’t nationalists. They saw that our movement was steadily gaining ground and opportunistically hopped on the bandwagon. We’ve always known this would be a problem once our movement began to hit a critical mass.
That post is well worth reading (going on as it does about Jews, and the evils of selling stuff, and gays), but I think the split is encapsulated by this tweet by Paul Joseph Watson:

I think that's my answer. I'm not alt right. I'm alt light. I am quite definitely a nationalist, and want to see our borders secured. But I'm not a white nationalist; I don't think the United States should be a whites-only country based on our history (Europe is a different story, again, based on its history, but so are Japan, and Namibia, and Kurdistan). I love my race and want to see it prosper and endure as a thing unto itself, but I don't want to see other races kept down or anything. I think Asatru is an indigenous European faith, just like I think Shinto is an indigenous Japanese faith, and Yoruba is an indigenous African faith. I loathe Political Correctness and the Social Justice movement, and value individual liberty over collective outrage-soothing, but I'm also not blind to the existential threat Muslim migration poses to the West as a whole.

I'm okay with being on the same side as Breitbart News, Milo, Paul Joseph Watson, and others, and am willing to not be on the side of folks like Richard Spencer, but also not on the side of folks like John McCain, Charles Krauthammer, and Megyn Kelly.

Yeah, I'm okay with that.

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