The Alt-right: A number of them are only interested in seeing the world burn

[pullquote]The December paper edition of The Salisbury Review Magazine is out now. Fifty pages of intelligent and original articles, book reviews, science and the arts. Subscribe. Also a Digital Version. (All Platforms) [/pullquote]It isn’t surprising that the words `alt-right` have burst into the mainstream with a chatter of panic this week, If Trump’s appointing of Steve Bannon as a CEO wasn’t enough to worry the left that jackboots were on the march, then the footage of Richard B Spencer, alt-rights founding father, giving a `Heil Trump` to a flurry of Nazi salutes at the White Nationalist conference in Miami recently will have them convinced them that the dystopia has finally arrived. In all honesty, I can’t blame them this time. The salutes were alarming to watch for both conservatives and liberals alike, and represent elements of the far right that we tend to forget still lurks silently on societies fringes. These like the Nazi and Communist thugs of the thirties who did battle on the streets of Germany are  among a growing number on the alt right who are only interested in politics because they want to watch the world burn.

The alt-right is not going to go away, and it’s worth dissecting because represents a new kind of politics, one that formed and incubated online, before hatching into the mainstream as a fully formed sub-culture of white identity politics, complete with its own vernacular and style, it even has a kind of mascot – Pepe the frog.

This was bound to happen. The alt-right are not shy about stating their driving motives – Political correctness and the race obsessed, gender obsessed, victim politics of the left.

They are not, strictly speaking, a movement, but a pirate ship of outcasts and outlaws – They range from those who were once liberal but grew tired of the policing to the simply lost and disaffected young white men lost in middle America, right the way up to ethno-nationalists, white supremacists, Jewish conspiracy theorists and Neo-Nazis.

While Spencer may have coined the term `alternative right` and created the National Policy Institute; a think tank which lobbies for white nationalism,  the increasingly large number of individuals who define themselves as alt-right are young and middle class, most of whom are simply looking to vent their frustrations. These men, tired of feminists shutting them out of safe spaces, of being defined as almost all rapists, have found safe spaces on their own, tucked away in a  loose collection of subculture websites which culminated in a collective identity long before they were given an official name.

Because of its loose association, it isn’t easy to summarise the alt-right, or for anybody to truly know who identifies with it, nor how many among them could be considered real far right. Moreover it is increasingly difficult to understand how the alt-right has become so virulent at spreading ideas.

As a grass roots movement; the Alt-right has evolved its own spectrum of ideas and insider  humour which is somewhat broad and difficult to define. It’s perhaps best summarised as an emerging collective identity of racial and nationalistic ideologies, long since banned or unutterable in mainstream politics, ideologies that never really disappeared, but have found places to express themselves and incubate in the dark recesses of the internet.

But this once obscure and little worried about movement is gaining ground in the real political arena, especially among white American college students – a group who dis-proportionately targeted by intense identity politics on campus, have found a pressure release valve in the humour and camaraderie of the alt-right.

Therefore we might define it as a movement for white identity, formed in response to the political correctness and identity politics of the left, who for many adherents, identifying with the alt-right appears to goes no further than offensive humour, Pepe memes and pranking. However there is a fringe element to the alt-right, of unknowable size, which contains the kind of far-right elements that puts the movement outside of the acceptable political spectrum. White supremacy groups, Neo-Nazi’s, fascists and Jewish conspiracy theorists all lurk under the umbrella term of alt-right.

Spencer’s think tank may be trying to intellectualise the alt-right, It’s worth noting exactly why a particular website – 4chan – became a hub of the alt-right online. 4chan is an online community of message boards, dedicated to visual content, in other words, 4chan users prefer to post pictures rather than have lengthy verbal discussions.

Whilst 4chan itself is politically neutral, it’s unique policy of allowing unmoderated and anonymous posting saw it become colonised by those with ideologies too extreme to be permissible elsewhere, even on the internet.

Art is a powerful propaganda tool, as both the Nazi’s and the Communists were well aware of. Art fulfils the need of a movement to have a distinct , visually recognisable presence.

Over several years, 4chan, poured out thousands of cartoons and humorous memes; The online equivalent of ideological propaganda. Memes utilising cartoon characters and sophisticated cult humour to personify and identify unspoken ideologies hitherto pushed out of mainstream politics.

4chan, with its emphasis on visual, not verbal content, gave the alt-right something that the alt-left does not have – a stylish visual profile.

It is why religions personify their ideologies in the form of deities – ordinary people relate to form, and in the internet age they identify with memes, selfies and emoticons. Image matters.

Here-in lies the alt-rights most powerful momentum – it has capitalised on a visual language, surpassing the need to tackle political correctness ideologues entirely. The alt-right doesn’t need words to exist, it has an image. That’s why it is difficult for the mainstream media outside the internet to give the alt-right an accurate verbal definition. The left are even willing to admit it: the alt-right out-styled them. It is playing 4d chess against opponents playing chequers. Its visual signature – memes of cartoon frogs and green Donald Trumps allows the alt-right to articulate their presence without using words, rendering the language based tactics of political correctness impotent.

Yet these are no mere flag waving thugs and there are no alt-right meetings or marches. It remains (for the time being at least) an online collective of the youthful and techno-savvy, connected together to create a self-aware subculture within the space of decade, a subculture that contains all the elements that left wing politics used to offer disaffected groups – humour, fun, subversiveness, comradery a chance to give the middle finger to mainstream politics , for they equally reject conservatism (whom they label cuckservatives) as well as liberals (libtards)

This is a movement to stay very wary of; the alt-right are not conservatives. They are authoritarians who ultimately seek as greater political revolution as the left, both are entrenched in identity based politics and both are atheistic movements that lack a transcendent purpose, with both sides almost certainly doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. The alt-right is the response to political correctness in the same way that Nazism was a response to Soviet Communism. Only time will tell if it will fizzle out into obscurity, but it is unlikely to. It is a hydra, and it needs to be tackled with far more sophisticated methods than trying to scare it off with words.

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20 Comments on The Alt-right: A number of them are only interested in seeing the world burn

  1. This is an excellent piece Lindsay. I am glad to see political correctness and the politics of eternal victim hood falter but I know that whatever the’alt-right’ is it cannot lead us to anything greater. We needed aggression and boldness and it has been provided but I don’t wish to live in a society defined by it.

  2. Compare the example of a man who was an exile in a foreign empire.

    Not only was he an exile but he was a captive. The empire had not been kind to his homeland.

    However, the man entered this empire’s civil service. He progressed up the ranks until he was an influential member of the ruling council. There he was subject to the jealousy of his rivals who plotted against him, endangering his life.

    He had all the reasons in the world for wanting to watch the whole thing burn. Moreover, he had the opportunity to bring that about. What did he do?

    Firstly, he helped save the lives of his rivals who through their incompetence had failed the empire’s ruler. Then he assisted that ruler in a moment of extreme crisis. After a lifetime’s loyal service to this empire, this man, called Daniel, could say to that ruler – and say it genuinely – “O King, live forever”.

    Those words are a world away from saying, let it all burn.

    • Yeah ok. Feed yourself some more exceptionalism myth and write another essay.

      Meanwhile everyone not white, and roughly half of whites, have stopped listening because your lot demonstrate plainly who and what you are. Long winded semantic games, whataboutism and rationalizations don’t change that.

      Maybe quote MLK next as if you wouldn’t have been in the crowd throwing rocks at him.

      Demographic clock is ticking…

  3. Like TSR’s editor, I had never heard of the alt-right until the BBC news coverage showed the meeting where the speaker shouted, “Hail Trump!”

    However, if Lindsey Dearnley’s analysis is correct, then it is surely incorrect to label this amorphous group the ‘right’, alternative or not. It must be incorrect since they have adopted the subversive subculture once used by the left, as well as the voodoo of cultural Marxism, such as identity politics.

    The alt-right would only be a response similar to that of the German National Socialists in that the latter were a left-wing phenomenon, and in that the Nazis were only called right wing by Stalin, for whom any socialist party that did not support Moscow was right wing.

    The term ‘Nazi’ is used by the modern left to conceal the socialist nature of the NASDAP. Likewise, it might be thought that the legacy media use the term ‘alt-right’ for similar purposes. The alt-‘right’ are an heretical version of cultural Marxism. They are not right at all, in more ways than one.

    However, their foray into the real world from cyberspace can only be brief. ‘Hail Trump’ is the most that can be made of any linguistic opposition to language-based political correctness. It’s an expression that can have had no serious belief in it, in that of expecting the president-elect to fulfil any of the speaker’s or his audience’s agenda. It was just another middle-finger gesture.

    • This is the common fantasy racist white maniacs utilize to try to project their own deranged behavior onto someone else.

      Hitler fanned the flames of populism by demonizing an “other” and, as a result, successfully committed mass murder against that “other” using his loyal subjects.

      This is right wing. Own it. After all, it’s guaranteed you believe in it.

      Proudly believing things like “this I’d a WHITE country so YOU don’t belong here!” and “without WHITE people YOU would be savages!” is *right wing thinking*. Again. Own it. That’s you. And the Nazis. That they stuck the word “socialist” in the name arbitrarily isn’t your get out of jail free card

  4. The Salisbury Review is not a church for right wing or left wing congregants filing into chapel to say ‘amen’ to daily scriptural readings from the Gospel of the Daily Telegraph or on the left, from The Holy Guardian. George Orwell said ‘the job of a journalist is to print something that somebody does not want to see in print, the rest is public relations’. I had never heard of alt-right until Lindsey Dearnely submitted her interesting article. Ms Dearnley, a conservative journalist, works in one of the most deprived white ghettoes in the North of England where there are no jobs and just up the road is a “>town taken over completely by Muslims.Anybody who lives in such places knows there are fringe groups hiding in various right wing organisations who have only one ambition to capitalise on violence, as in Germany in the thirties where right and left wing gangs fought it out on the streets and helped Hitler to power. The alt right has nothing to fear from press exposure if it is not a haven for extremists.

    • ”The alt right has nothing to fear from press exposure if it is not a haven for extremists.” True, but who suggested otherwise?

  5. The Alt-Right is not the Nazis. The left try to smear the Alt-Right by calling them that and it is a shame to see the Salisbury Review falling for that nonsense.

    • Quite right and well done to bring this up. Apart from falling into this trap a good article especially in pointing out the lack of a set-in-stone right-wing ideology. The right should be defined as anti-statist, individualist independent and responsible for its own actions. Also quite possibly conservative. Fascists, Nazis, Communists(all radical leftists,)Socialists, EU Bureaucrats and local council apparatchniks should be lumped into the left; the left being the ideologues, the right of varying degrees of otherwise. And remember, a fascist is anyone who disagrees with me or who has something I’d like but haven’t got or can’t afford!

  6. Unlike the three previous commentators on this thread, I share some of the author’s disquiet with regard to some elements in the modern right. They are hasty, infuriated and sometimes extreme. However, one or two basic principles need to be clarified before we can pass judgement. First, people need a positive identity – which is a dull modern way of putting the Biblical injunction, that “without a vision, the people perish.” The vision in question starts with the location and demarcation of “ourselves”. It is important at all times but especially in tough ones; it is immensely important when other markers of identity have been stretched, corrupted or simply stolen. One may be French or German, for example – but then one is told that obviously Moroccan or Nigerian people are equally French or equally German. What, then, do French or German mean? How can one squeeze the togetherness and reassurance supplied by a sense of belonging out of such over-stretched terms? Second, does the author deny that the left’s “anti-racism” agenda is in essence a form of anti-white racism? It seems to blame the world’s ills on white Europe; it covers up or excuses white Europe’s sins when other civilisations have committed them; it promotes discrimination against white Europeans, calling it “positive”; it denies any value to their culture and connives at re-settling their ancient homelands. Were any of this to be inflicted on some other group in the world, would we not see it instantly for what it is? A form of persecution, all the more sick and abject in that it is coming from within. Yes, of course identities are fuzzy and they might be shared, but each of them requires at least some degree of broad homogeneity which is now at risk of being lost to Europe completely. As the man said, we’re a melting pot but the only thing that’s melting is the pot. What makes it all the more obviously unjust is the way in which non-white cultural and even racial identities are touted and paraded by the left as unquestionably positive; take “Black Power” as an example. All-black theatrical productions are eagerly permitted; would an all-white production of, say, Richard II be free from carping? Would it be allowed? If a white singer were to play Porgy or Bess, the establishment would tower over the unfortunate performer in terrible retribution; but if Hamlet, on the other hand, is African – whatever the décor or setting of the production, well that’s fine. Something is desperately wrong and skewed in this debate; the left has shifted the goal posts – to the point where a survivor of the Holocaust can warn against the revival of European identity politics without realising that the politics in question are defensive, not aggressive; that they take place not with regard to a small, harmless, assimilated minority but against a back-drop of unprecedented change – the veritable resettlement of this continent. And that is really where all this has come from – the terrible persecutions of the thirties and forties. The guilt for these heinous crimes has been successfully transmitted to all Europe; the yearning to undo them and achieve purity lies behind our spineless, enfeebled responses to the migration crisis and the malignancy of the left has further enmeshed them in social policy for the last thirty years. The only identity a European is allowed today is that of the prisoner at the bar and he trembles before his judges much as the member of a religious or cultural minority might have trembled before a panel of early fascists. Let us hope that this modern fascism of the left, so-called “anti-racism”, does not swell like its predecessor into even greater horrors.

  7. Martin Pinder is correct; this article could have been published in the Guardian, or, it might have been a press release from United Against Fascism.
    Did you even read the article you linked to re: The NPI conference? It was held in Washington DC, not Miami, and attracted about 200 attendees, some mass movement that!
    You are right that many people are extremely frustrated by PC language and attitudes; a typical cause of that frustration is your horror at what you call “NAZI salutes”. The upraised right hand has been a gesture of greeting, acknowledgment, even of respect and affection for as long as humans have been able to communicate, but for such as you that gesture will always be associated with gas chambers and death camps, message from Alt right person to you; grow up for chrissake!
    I had not visited 4chan but did so as a result of your reference to it. What I saw was an internet “hangout” where what were apparently mostly white men talked in direct and sometimes crude language about a variety of topics without concern for PC. “Too extreme to be permissible elsewhere”; now there is a ringing declaration of Dearney’s support for free speech and individual liberty.
    While we are on the topic of hijacked language and idiotic notions perceived as incontrovertible truths how about “gay” being used to describe homosexuality, a less “gay” condition than that abominable deviance can hardly be imagined.
    How about this one: “Race is a social construct”. We are informed by various PC practitioners that a Congolese negro barely one swing out of the trees is identical to a Lapland reindeer herder. The DNA string is 99.85% identical they shout! Well that may be true but then human DNA is 75% identical to that of the marine worm. A study of the IQ of various ethnic groups in the US conducted in 2014 concluded that the highest IQ group, at average 114, is Jews, followed by Asian Americans at 105, White Americans at 103, Hispanic Americans at 89 and African Americans at 85. Since IQ is the best indicator of success in life, however that may be measured, it is clear that “systemic white racism”, or “white privilege” is not the cause of the all too visible squalor and dysfunction of the Africans in America. Blacks in America are never responsible for their failures, it is all the fault of whitey, well, a majority of white people are sick to death of that attitude, thus the Alt-right.
    “Flag waving thugs”; at an EDL demonstration (you would categorize EDL as thugs wouldn’t you?) A larger number of your intellectual bedfellows at UAF chant “If it wasn’t for the coppers you’d be dead”. However you consider the EDL and their supporters in the Alt-right as the threat. Do you have any idea at all how ridiculous that is?
    A previous post of yours informed us that you were a “tattoo artist”. When I was young tattoos were almost exclusively worn by seamen, soldiers and savages, considering the modern western world we can add sluts to that list.
    And in your final paragraph we get the real stinger: “Atheistic movements that lack a transcendent purpose”; therein the fascist god freak is exposed. Message to sky pilot Dearney from atheist freedom lover; keep your damned god out of my life.

    • About sums up the authors conservative credentials when he claims that to be a true conservative you must have a ‘transcendental purpose.
      We conservatives identify ourselves as the antithesis of metaphysical hogwash.

      Having said that Lindsey does make a good point about the rise of the alt-right. It is rooted in negativity and rejection- admittedly of toxic products of creeping liberal doctrine spreading across society.

      • “We conservatives identify ourselves as the antithesis of metaphysical hogwash.”

        Read De Maistre or Glubb. The Christian religion is the foundation of the West, and secularism is the beginning of degeneracy. The alt-righties of today are the teenage libertarians of the last decade who have no idea what they’re fighting for.

    • IQ tests measure the ability of people to take IQ tests… and very little else. They’re widely discredited. But alas, at least we know the oddball skull measurers are here when they’re brought up in connection with race! 🙂

      • Paul Smith: Exactly, if you have a high IQ you will score higher than a person with low IQ! That is how it is supposed to work. IQ tests are only discredited among the “all races are equal” crowd. Certainly they are not discredited with Fortune 500 Co. HR departments, and many others, where Raven Matrix tests are routinely used to determine the IQ of potential employees, the higher the IQ the more the potential, all other things being equal. The practice of issuing degrees, particularly law and (believe it or not) medicine to persons who should never have been at college in the first place is very widespread in the US because of years of affirmative action, that is institutionalized racism against white people. The Obamas are a classic example of this, they both have Ivy League law degrees but neither is remotely intellectually capable of functioning as a lawyer.
        Incidentally you are getting your sciences mixed up; “skull measuring” is part of Eugenics, that has been largely discredited.

  8. ‘both are atheistic movements that lack a transcendent purpose’

    Of all the problems in the article, this one is maybe the most offensive. I was on 4chan the night of Trump’s victory. There was a prayer thread. The alt right contains many Christians, myself included. There are, I suspect, more spiritual people on the alt right than, for instance, the largely atheistic libertarian movement, which is tolerated by conservatives much more readily than we are.

    Incidentally, those who hold to liberal values should note that liberalism itself is a revolutionary philosophy that historically rejected ‘repressive’ Christianity. It’s ironic that conservatives should accuse the alt right of atheism when it’s the modern meme of ‘conservatism’ that has badly reconciled Christianity with a materialist laissez-faire philosophy that makes us all homo economicus. If you are worried about the effects of reduced immigration on our growth projections, you might be one of these people. Who is really sitting to the right of the king here?

    This article, like so many hit pieces about the alt right, exemplifies the obsession that liberals (and ‘conservatives’) have with the ‘how’ rather than the ‘why’. The alt right and the left are loud and funny and countercultural, so they must be more like each other than like you. People who believe in hierarchy and just authority are equated with people who believe in equality and diversity essentially because they both use disruptive tactics. It’s a strange and managerial way of seeing the world.

    But there is one truth about the alt right reported here: we do believe that social identity precedes political persuasion. As Lee Kuan Yew said, ‘in multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.’ Mississippi is 60% white and 40% black. Guess how the vote share shakes down every presidential election? Race is real, and the liberal Anglo-American society so treasured by conservatives will not survive without white people. This is a ship of Theseus problem, and you cannot expect Britain to maintain those pretty crystalline values if a program of ethnic replacement continues. If you really hated identity politics so much, you would fight to retain a white supermajority where we actually can have these ideological debates without having to descend into tribal interests. You may not be willing to accept this, but the left is, and they will fight for every last immigrant to push them into a permanent majority. Trump won by a sliver in those key Midwestern states, which are whiter than the national average—do you think it’s a coincidence that the American government sends Somali refugees to Minnesota and Ohio? The Democratic machine is always looking for votes.

    You conservatives who counter-signal the alt right should know that you will not be recorded on the page of history as martyrs. You will be known as the enemies of progress. Respectability gets you nowhere with people who want you reeducated at best and purged at worst. You will be Nazis under the liberal dispensation whether or not you call us Nazis. We’ve had over 200 years of liberals winning every damned battle from the French Revolution to gay marriage and you still haven’t learned your lesson.

  9. ‘for they equally reject conservatism (whom they label cuckservatives)…’ No they label some conservatives those who betray their proclaimed principles and the interests of their electors ‘cuckservatives’, you will not see Jeff Sessions called this.

    Conservatism has conserved nothing it is a dead man whose face no one remembers.

  10. This article does not describe the Alt Right that I know! Some are not atheists, & what is wrong with white identity, self determinism, trade protection etc? All except people of European origin are allowed their own identity, but European people are indoctrinated to believe that they alone have some kind of guilt that they owe something to the rest of the world as propitiation for some imaginary crime against it. Therefore their identity must gradually be destroyed while that of other peoples must be affirmed.
    This magazine probably shares some of the values of the Alt Right & could very loosely be considered a part of it. The Alt right all hate the authoritarianism of political correctness, some of the Alt Right wish that homosexuals would go back into the closet & believe that feminists are wrong, & I detect these attitudes implicit in articles in this magazine, but reading this article I begin to think that it is written by someone who is afraid to admit the common ground & wants to distance himself or herself from it. It simply sounds like a regurgitation of material from the MSM.