Against the Alternative Right.
Who’d have thought that in 2016, we would be discussing whether mainstream Republicans and conservatives should be nicer to white nationalists? Yet here we are.
The debate is, of course, about the “alternative right,” suddenly propelled into visibility by its fervent embrace of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy. Recently, it was the subject of a long, sympathetic article by Allum Bokhari and Milo Yiannopoulos at Breitbart.com, the Trump-loving site that some, including ex-Breitbart writer Brian Cates, have long accused of courting the alt-right. (For the record, I have had a cordial professional relationship with both authors, have been on a panel with both of them and have appeared twice on Yiannopoulos’s webcast.)
In a nutshell, the article argues that, while the alt-right does have some actual—but, worry not, utterly irrelevant!—white supremacists and neo-Nazis in its ranks, it is mostly a loose alliance of maverick intellectuals, traditionalists who feel unrepresented in the mainstream political establishment, and cheeky young rebels who post racist slurs and memes just to annoy the pearl-clutching guardians of political correctness.
While this taxonomy of the alt-right is interesting, it is ultimately—as it were—a whitewash, full of far-fetched arguments and misleading claims that consistently downplay this movement’s ugly bigotry.
Those ‘Dangerously Bright’ Alt-Right Intellectuals
Take the article’s section on the “intellectuals” behind the alt-right, which offers a respectful account of the movement’s online hubs such as Richard Spencer’s AlternativeRight.com and Steve Sailer’s VDARE. Sailer is credited with having “helped spark the ‘human biodiversity’ movement, a group of bloggers and researchers who strode eagerly into the minefield of scientific race differences—in a much less measured tone than former New York Times science editor Nicholas Wade.”