(This is a piece I wrote for some family and friends a month or two ago, to explain to them what the Alt-Right is and where it came from. They tend to be conservative in temperament, but moderate and Nice, as you find in the Midwest. So they don’t want to be associated with a movement that is too mean — and certainly not with Nazis of any sort — but they’re willing to listen to reason.)
I am the leader of the Alt-Right, and you can too. (I’ll explain that odd sentence later.)
Now that the Old Media have driven their approval ratings to historically low levels with their lies and omissions and complete failure to understand anything about this past election, they’ve decided to make themselves relevant again by attacking a small group of thinkers that has won some victories against them — the Alt-Right. This is stupid and will fail, but it means they’ve attacked some people I respect and consider friends. Since the media seem determined to make the Alt-Right a household word, I suppose it’s time to explain it.
First a little history. About 60 years ago, some liberals were unhappy with the direction of the left wing in American politics, especially its coziness with Soviet Communism, so they switched to the conservative/Republican side. Their most prominent members were writers for the Jewish magazine Commentary. Conservatives welcomed these new allies (during the Cold War, opposition to the USSR was the main issue), and because they were well-known thinkers and writers, they soon gained influence in conservative circles.
However, they weren’t really conservative, except for the anti-Communist part, so they called themselves neo-conservatives. They were still fairly liberal on social issues like abortion and guns. Their primary concerns were war — using military power to achieve their goals in other countries, especially where it could benefit Israel — and free trade and the free movement of labor, which they believed would benefit the global economy. They drew support from Wall Street and others who wanted a booming economy more than anything else.
Ronald Reagan wasn’t one of them, but by the time of the first Bush presidency, the neo-conservatives had pretty much taken over the Republican party and the prominent conservative organizations and magazines, and they solidified that during the Clinton and Bush II presidencies. They still paid lip service to conservative social issues, but their focus was war and global trade. Others on the right wing who weren’t on board with neo-conservatism began to form their own groups and organizations, and looked for a new term to describe themselves since “conservative” had been taken over.
Various names have been tried over the past few years, from Dissident Right to Dark Enlightenment, but none of them really worked. A couple years ago a guy named Richard Spencer came up with Alt-Right, short for “alternative right,” and it caught on. It seemed like a pretty good umbrella term for everyone who opposes the left wing and the neo-conservatives who claim to represent the right. So that’s where it comes from.
That means the Alt-Right includes a wide range of people who don’t necessarily agree on much else except who the primary enemies of Western Civilization are (and sometimes not even that). I disagree with some in the Alt-Right on things (including Spencer, but he still came up with a good name). But most Alt-Righters I talk to are like you and me: people who think we’ve been going the wrong direction for a while and want to get back to common-sense values, putting your family first, and governance that puts Americans ahead of foreign interests. If I had to describe us in one sentence, it would be that we refuse to lie to ourselves about what our eyes can see. We don’t let political correctness prevent us from pointing out problems or offering solutions because someone somewhere might be offended.
When I said I was the leader of the Alt-Right at the beginning, that was a half-joke. It comes from a related fight that took place recently called GamerGate, when computer gamers and creators got sick of the corruption in gaming journalism and decided to root it out with an overwhelming email and social media campaign. GamerGate never had leaders; everyone simply pitched in and did what he thought would help. So the motto developed: “I am the leader of GamerGate, and you can too.” (One thing about the Alt-Right, similar to GamerGate: we’re kind of a bunch of smart alecs who don’t take ourselves too seriously, so there are a lot of jokes, and we’re irreverent to a fault. The picture below kinda expresses the general attitude, and I cleaned it up for you.)
The truth is, I’m not a leader, just a guy writing and doing things online. On the other hand, the Alt-Right doesn’t want or need leaders, so anyone who has a good idea is encouraged to run with it and be his own leader, along with anyone who wants to join in. If someone claims to be a leader of the Alt-Right, he’s probably lying and we don’t recognize him as such. The real leaders are focused on exchanging ideas and getting things done, not posing for the camera.
So that’s the Alt-Right: ordinary people who value Western Civilization, who don’t refuse to see what’s happening to it, and who hope to come up with some solutions before it’s too late. And we’re having fun, which drives our opponents batty most of all.