Posted on April 5, 2016

The Racist Moral Rot at the Heart of the Alt-Right

Ian Tuttle, National Review, April 5, 2016

Last week, Breitbart writers Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos took it upon themselves to pen an apologia for the “Alternative Right,” or Alt-Right–the grab bag of ostensibly right-wing anti-liberal ideologies whose disciples, of late, are thrilling to the rise of Donald Trump.

The Alt-Right has evangelized over the last several months primarily via a racist and anti-Semitic online presence. But for Bokhari and Yiannopoulos, the Alt-Right consists of fun-loving provocateurs, valiant defenders of Western civilization, daring intellectuals–and a handful of neo-Nazis keen on a Final Solution 2.0, but there are only a few of them, and nobody likes them anyways. {snip}

The Alt-Right’s origin story will sound familiar: Conservatives, the Breitbart writers say, refused to defend “humanism, liberalism, and universalism” against “black and feminist identity politics” and “left-wing moral relativism.” They “turned a blind eye to the rise of tribal, identitarian movements on the Left while mercilessly suppressing any hint of them on the Right.” (Something like this tale of woe is used by Trump supporters to explain, and to justify, his rise.) This is largely false.

It’s simply nonsense to suggest that American conservatism was willfully complicit in the rise of the identity-politics Left, or that conservatives have wholly forsaken their commitment to constitutional, and generally Judeo-Christian, values. For decades, conservatives have fought against racial favoritism, against the normalization of sexual perversion, against the “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Western Civ has got to go!” ethos that animates so much of progressivism. Furthermore, it’s entirely plausible that, where conservatives have endorsed policies–high levels of immigration, for example–that have ended up undermining certain “core Western values” (the importance of the rule of law, say), it was out of a commitment to other high-minded principles also in keeping with the Western tradition.

But this is not about the Gang of Eight bill. Most on the Alt-Right do not only reject the “conservative Establishment” or some other contemporary bogeyman; they also reject the ideals of classical liberalism as such. That rejection grounds the thinking of Jared Taylor and Richard Spencer, for instance–representative “intellectuals” of the Alt-Right, according to Bokhari and Yiannopoulos. These men–the founders of the publications American Renaissance and Radix Journal, respectively–have not simply been “accused of racism.” They are racist, by definition. Taylor’s “race realism,” for example, co-opts evolutionary biology in the hopes of demonstrating that the races have become sufficiently differentiated over the millennia to the point that the races are fundamentally–that is, biologically–different. Spencer, who promotes “White identity” and “White racial consciousness,” is beholden to similar “scientific” findings.


{snip} Some want to put people in ovens; some just want an ability to “exit” multicultural society for an ethno-national arrangement. But they’re all in agreement: “All men are created equal” is not true. What follows is a 21st-century version of Blut und Boden–Blood and Soil–on one hand, or technological apocalypticism, on the other. But the two are not so different, as the Nazis understood. (And to that point, it’s telling that, as Bokhari and Yiannopoulos note, some Alt-Right thought has its roots in the thinking of Giulio Evola, a mid-century Italian philosopher whose apocalyptic vision of the world derived from his own woolly syncretism and eccentric mysticism.)