Since the term, “alt-right,” is being tossed about in the national media and is the subject of moral concern (or perhaps, moral panic), it might be good to identify what we’re talking about or at least admit the limitations of using nicknames to describe cultural shifts and voter behavior.
Until recently, the Alt-Right meant a wide swath, including millennial conservatives and nationalists and ethno-nationalists. But some hardcore racists and fringier ethno-nationalists refer to themselves as alt-right and the media has used that excuse to label the rest racists. Both for their own reasons.
It’s the Federal Vision on the secular national level with the TRs aligning with former Evangelicals who defected to Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy. Let the reader understand.
One of the many examples of the confusion was seen when former Bush White House Press Secretary Dana Perino excoriated Breitbart.com in a way that implied it is a Nazi website.
Perino was hardly a conservative when she was in George W. Bush’s administration, but she is nearly unrecognizable now. On Monday, Perino sounded exactly like left-wing anchors and media personalities like Brooke Baldwin, Charles Blow, and Howard Dean—all of whom have falsely smeared Breitbart News and associated Breitbart News with Nazis. They did so even though Breitbart News has disavowed Nazis and has a roster of Jewish writers in addition to many people of color that is arguably more naturally diverse than the on-air “talent” they associate with in their oh-so-forward-looking and virtue-signaling media organizations.
They point out that Richard Spencer accused Breitbart of being founded in Israel (which it was, but that hardly matters to Breitbart or most of their readers).
More recently, in the Washington Post, Jennifer Delton of Skidmore College recommended that the government, media, and academia curtail the free speech rights of the alt-right the same way that Liberals marginalized communists in the 1950s. Remarkably, while smudging together ethno-separatists and anti-racists, she used a more accurate description of the alt-right:
The alt-right is a nebulous, still-developing political movement, but we know at least two things about it. One, its most prominent popularizers — Stephen K. Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos and Richard Spencer — have all articulated that they seek to destroy liberal cultural hegemony, which they associate with a bipartisan, globalizing, multicultural, corporate elite, and which, they think, is perpetrated in the United States by the mainstream media and on college campuses.
This comes close to Breitbart’s own explanation that they used to educate Perino:
As Paul Joseph Watson wrote in November of 2016, the media focus on a “tiny fringe minority” who had “no impact on the election” and just “likes to fester in dark corners of sub-reddits and obsess about jews, racial superiority and Adolf Hitler.” He said the “alt-right” that helped get Trump elected can be “more accurately described as the New Right.”
“These people like to wear MAGA hats, create memes, and have fun,” he wrote in 2016. “They include whites, blacks, Asians, latinos, gays and everyone else. These are the people who helped Trump win the election.”
RT “@PrisonPlanet The New Right vs the Alt-Right.”
—Fake News Cat 🇺🇸 (@FakeNewsCat) August 14, 2017
To the extent that Christian organizations are going to “take a stand” against the alt-right as an opportunity to gain a hearing in the wider world, it becomes a concern that Christians realize how “nebulous” this term really is. Obviously, racism is evil and ethno-nationalism is curtailed by the ecclesiastical demand for all Christians to have fellowship at one table no matter what ethnic diversity is present.
But if it is not some variant of racism and/or ethno-nationalism, what is the alt-right?
In the wider definition, we need to take recourse to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s analogy of family resemblances—in which a family can be accurately known for certain features even though no one family member has them all. The alt-right as a family is where you might find the following but no one person necessarily has them all:
I number them, but this is in no particular order:
1. Free speech absolutists
2. People who think that male and female are hard categories and that traditional gender roles, while flexible, have a biological basis and a positive social value.
3. People that believe in same-sex marriage but think transgenderism is delusional
4. Transgender people and their friends who insist there are only two genders and that gender “nonbinary” is an ideological invention.
5. People who think it is OK to investigate IQ differences among races (Bell Curve).
6. People who, though not necessarily religious believers, think there are sound psychological reasons to not be promiscuous, and thus good reasons not to promote promiscuity.
7. People who think Western values (though usually secularized) are worth defending, and that Christians are allies while mass Islamic immigration is an enemy.
8. Millennials who think other millennials are insane for being “snowflakes” and needing “safe spaces”
9. While I don’t think many in the alt-right are MRAs (Men’s Right’s Advocates), I think many admire Cassie Jaye’s documentary The Red Pill which led to her abandoning feminism (though she is still quite liberal as far as I know).
10. People who believe that, if other ethnic groups are allowed to advocate for their interests, equality means that Northern European groups can and should form for the same purpose.
Point 10 obviously shades off into ethno-nationalism and worse ugliness. But that is not Breitbart and a host of others.
Richard Spencer claims to have coined the term “alt-right.” From what I hear he wants welfare statism/socialism because that allegedly works in Northern European nations. So (like the National Socialists) he’s not “right” very much, almost exclusively “alt.” Here is a videos documenting his socialism (content warning).
Milo Yiannopoulos is alt-right. He’s a promiscuous homosexual who is pretty much a mainstream moderate republican who extols politicians like Rudy Giulianni. See this three-part interview to get an idea of his political views without much perverse humor: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.
As far as I’m concerned, Christians have helped the culture be skeptical of some of the current pansexualism and identity politics. They’ve made Western Civilization recognizably valuable. I am glad for this and thank God for it. It’s a mixed bag but Christians can be happy that young people are pushing back against various elements of the secular, sexual-identity-driven, “progressive” vision.
At this point, I think the pushback against pansexual orthodoxy is angering and frustrating the Left. The rage over a few hundred racists marching with Tiki torches is just a strategy to maintain the moral high ground.
Mark Horne is a graduate of Covenant Seminary and resides in St. Louis.