According to Hillary Clinton, there’s a Vast Alt-Right Conspiracy in the land. On August 25, before a Reno, Nev. audience, she scolded: “Donald Trump … [is] taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America’s two major political parties. His disregard for the values that make our country great is profoundly dangerous.”
She does not tell us what she believes those values are.
Later she continues, describing how Trump “traffics in dark conspiracy theories drawn from the pages of supermarket tabloids and the far reaches of the Internet … [L]et´s not forget, Trump first gained political prominence leading the charge for the so-called ‘Birthers.’ He promoted the racist lie that President Obama isn’t really an American citizen — part of a sustained effort to delegitimize America’s first black president.”
I lost track of the number of times she used the word racist in her latest speech?
Furthermore, “Just recently, Trump claimed President Obama founded ISIS. And then he repeated that nonsense over and over…. This is what happens when you treat the National Enquirer like Gospel. It’s what happens when you listen to the radio host Alex Jones, who claims that 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombings were inside jobs. He said the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre were child actors and no one was actually killed there….”
Tying all this together is the “Alt-Right”: “Race-baiting ideas. Anti-Muslim and anti-Immigrant ideas — all key tenets making up an emerging racist ideology known as the ‘Alt-Right.’ Alt-Right is short for Alternative Right. The Wall Street Journal describes it as a loosely organized movement, mostly online, that ‘rejects mainstream conservatism, promotes nationalism, and views immigration and multiculturalism as threats to white identity.’”
I’d not heard the term Alt-Right until a few weeks ago.
I knew, of course, that there were people, some of them lifelong Republicans, who had started to question the main emphases of their party since the fall of the Soviet Union: its favoritism towards Wall Street / big business / corporate donors, and its promotion of overseas wars. These men and a few women had become critical of the Iraq War, for example, promoting regime change and “nation building,” or allowing corporations to negotiate leviathan trade deals behind closed doors, and outsourcing middle-class jobs to cheap-labor countries while allowing illegal immigrants in on the grounds that his “helps the economy.” None of this is news. But it has all along played into the hands of those who branded the Republican Party as a haven for wealth and privilege.
There were also those of us who accused neoconservatives (“neocons”) of losing the culture war. Neocons dominated the Republican Party by the end of the first Bush presidency. Because the culture war wasn’t fundamentally about “macro” economics, most couldn’t be bothered.
The term RINO (Republican In Name Only) had crept into our vocabularies. It referred to Republicans who invariably sided with Wall Street over Main Street, combined with an abject fear of being labeled racist. Having written a book in the early 1990s critical of affirmative action and drawing attention to its harmful effects on academia and several occupations (Civil Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action, 1994), I found out who my friends were. They weren’t mainstream Republicans. By the mid-1990s I’d figured out that mainstream Republicans wanted nothing to do with guys like me.
Soon, with the emergence of the World Wide Web as a major new medium, news and commentary sites were appearing that presented current events and ideas from points of view (libertarian, conservative) other than the approved left-liberal ones of CNN, ABC, and CBS. I wrote for some of them. Back in 2000, for example, I investigated and reported the definitive account of a black-on-white hate crime that had been spiked by all major media where I was then living. Sadly, that story is no longer up, so I can’t link to it; oddly, a follow-up has survived the gradual purge of my archive, given that the editor of that site and I had a falling out some time ago. The follow-up summarizes the main details and puts them in broad context. Honest research, when possible, discloses that black-on-white crime vastly, vastly exceeds white-on-black crime in both numbers and in its level of brutality!
If it takes an “Alt-Right” to expose these realities, then I, for one, welcome it — without endorsing every idea written by every author able to be labeled that way by the likes of the Hillary Rodham Clintons of the political cosmos. One of my discoveries, after all, is of the many “Alt-Rightists” I’d never heard of before. There are doubtless many I still haven’t heard of if obviously it hasn’t occurred to them to use that label.
What the “Alt-Right” really is, is a collection of bloggers, talk show hosts (only a few with significant reach), and online commentary sites and editors united by their disdain for an Establishment they understandably regard as elite-controlled, exclusive, censorious, intellectually dishonest, and rife with corruption. They talk about things the Establishment won’t touch, such as minority-on-white violence or whether official narratives of events like 9/11 hold up under scrutiny or whether what some call “racial biodiversity” is true, i.e., that there are real, biological differences between races. Mere interest in these will get you fired from an academic appointment or a major news outlet.
Naturally, many such folks gravitated to Donald Trump, due to his status as an outsider, his own disdain for political correctness, as well as his raising issues ordinary people care about, such as the sensible many have of “self-radicalized” ISIS sympathizers wreaking the same havoc on U.S. streets that they present wreak in Europe, courtesy of the open borders policies of the tottering European Union. It includes such figures as Stephen Bannon, editor at Breitbart.com, also an outsider obviously, now being savaged in mainstream media for a 20-year-old domestic violence allegation (the charge was dropped) and for a supposed anti-Semitic remark he made back then. I am reminded that there are two definitions of an anti-Semite: someone who hates Jews and someone Jews hate.
Other heroes of the “Alt-Right” include the UK Independence Party’s Nigel Farage, one of the brains behind Brexit who recently endorsed Trump, and possibly Marine Le Pen of France’s National Front. Such movements surely gain support every time an ISIS recruit opens fire in a Paris nightclub or plants a truck bomb killing dozens of innocent people.
To be sure, there’s a Respectable Right which for years was led (dominated might be a better word) by William F. Buckley and the National Review crowd; also those at The Weekly Standard. The Respectable Right ostracized Patrick J. Buchanan following his acknowledgement of the culture war in 1992, hit him with the anti-Semite allegation, and have tried to ignore him as he publishes massive and quite well-argued books with titles like A Republic, Not an Empire (1999), Where the Right Went Wrong (2004), and Suicide of a Superpower (2011) among others. Now, with Buckley having passed away in 2008, we have the cast of Washington Post second-raters led by George Will who left the GOP over its decision to nominate Trump. That’s the present-day journalism wing of the Respectable Right. Its political wing includes Mitt Romney, the Bushies, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Paul Ryan, and the rest of the empty suits who gave Barack Obama eight years in the White House.
Uh, respectable to whom?
To the Cultural Left, of course. Who else? Because aside from Buchanan, the late Russell Kirk, and Ron Paul (who straddles the fence between conservatism and libertarianism), the Right has collapsed. There has been virtually no consistent conservative presence anywhere near the U.S. intellectual or cultural mainstream for decades now — no body of ideas set out in any other way than in a “loyal opposition” defined by the Left!
What would such a body of ideas consist of? Belief, first and foremost, in a transcendent grounding of moral valuation that suffuses a healthy community organically and inspires the traditions and practices holding it together, prior to support for specifics like property rights and free enterprise. Trust that these traditions serve important purposes, have passed the test of time, and neither can nor should be changed to accommodate pressure groups without careful deliberation; attempts to do so create more problems than they solve. Rejection, because of original sin, of the Enlightenment view of the perfectibility of man through his own efforts. Rejection of the idea that human beings can be made economically equal without everyone except a tiny elite being equally poor and equally enslaved. Belief that in a fallen world, peace must be maintained through military strength, a province of men (not women), and that its exercise should be limited to a nation’s legitimate interests, otherwise restrained and humble to the extent others respect this.
There are probably other ideas that could be added, but I believe most who call themselves conservatives would have agreed with these at one time. They would also have observed that with rare exceptions, such notions were kicked out of mainstream journalism, academia, and government decades ago. This was the endgame of the replacement of Christian culture with materialism (Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons for the Decline of the American Republic, 2011, ch. 3).
Whether “Alt-Rightists” have thought all this through or not (most probably haven’t, especially those under 35), many outsider-writers who doubted the integrity of the “experts” found a home of sorts. It was one without institutional power or influence beyond their own blogospheric orbit … until Donald Trump came along.
Getting back to Hillary’s screed, it raises numerous questions. Are we allowed to ask, for example, when and where Trump treated the National Enquirer as Gospel? Are we allowed to question the official narrative on race that blacks are victims and whites all have “white privilege”? And given that some very smart folks with doctorates in fields like engineering and physics have raised them, are we allowed to ask questions whether there is more to those other events than a government-endorsed official narrative? Are we allowed to point out that conspiracy theory is a weaponized phrase thought up by the CIA back in the 1960s to demonize anyone questioning the official narrative of the Kennedy assassination?
I didn’t think so.
Some of us have a problem with this.
Hillary’s attempt to raze the city of Trump to the ground and sow its fields with salt will surely not be described by sympathetic corporate media talking heads as underhanded, dishonest, and not addressing a single substantive issue. No one (except, perhaps, a few readers of sites like this one) will see it as full of weaponized language and innuendo no one can prove or disprove: words and phrases (hate group, radical fringe, conspiracy theory, racist, etc.) used as verbal clubs designed to beat people into submission.
Has it occurred to either the Hillaryites or to Respectable Right types that through their combination of weakness, ineffectiveness, intellectual bankruptcy, corruption, neglect of their base, and neglect of the country’s (and the culture’s) best interests, they set themselves up for the Donald Trump candidacy?
Again, I didn’t think so. But they look silly denying that Bush the Younger’s presidency and the last two Respectable Right candidacies were anything other than disasters.
In the same way, the Respectable Right, from that time back in the 1990s when it elbowed critics of affirmative action and NAFTA aside, set itself up for the rise of the “Alt-Right” on an Internet it couldn’t control like the pages of National Review. This, of course, is to the extent the “Alt-Right” even exists as a cohesive movement. One correspondent tells me that many who identify with its sensibilities are basically nihilists content to troll official sites and make fun of an Establishment over which they consider themselves powerless, even as it self-destructs. This could change. The chances of a more unified “Alt-Right” are now somewhat better, even if Donald Trump is not elected, because as I and many others of varying persuasions have noted, the issues that empowered Trump’s rise will not go away under a Hillary Clinton presidency. If anything, they will grow stronger. They will find new and more articulate voices. Trump has never been the best spokesman for “Trumpism.”
Whatever else ensues over the next few weeks, November will witness an election of historic importance, because as we have also pointed out, this election will offer a referendum on globalist economics, open borders, political correctness — power-elitism generally — centered in Wall Street, the Establishment of international high finance, and corporate media (and academia).
A vote for Donald Trump is a vote to reject all those things, on the grounds that they are running the country (indeed, Western civilization as a whole) into the ground. A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to continue with business as usual: more corruption, more globalist-elitism, more political correctness, more war, and probably more terrorist attacks in a nation that will look more like Europe every day. A vote for pseudo-libertarian Gary Johnson, or for Jill Stein, or anyone else, might as well be a vote cast for Hillary.
The dominant narrative on the major polls says she is ahead. It is true enough that the nearly 14 million strong in the GOP base who voted for Trump in the primaries are just a small fraction of the totality of eligible voters. If Hillary Clinton wins this election, especially if she wins by a large margin, I will see it the same way Paul Craig Roberts does: proof that Americans are now, on average, too dumbed down to live in anything other than a plutocratic oligarchy. George Will and his fellow NeverTrumpsters believe the GOP should let Hillary win and try to retake the White House in 2020. I wouldn’t count on that. If she wins, signs the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and appoints two or more Cultural Leftists to the Supreme Court, the Respectable Right will be dead in the water for the foreseeable future. As for the “Alt-Right”? We’ll see what happens!
© 2016 Steven Yates – All Rights Reserved