The 2016 presidential election was unusual not just because Donald Trump is an unusual candidate who managed to win by seemingly breaking all the rules, the election also saw the rise of a new political movement – the Alt-Right.
Dissatisfaction with Traditional Right
The term “Alt-Right” is an abbreviation of “Alternative Right” – an expression allegedly coined in 2008 by Paul Gottfried, a Jewish emeritus professor of humanities at Elizabethtown College, Pennsylvania, to refer to “conservatives who saw themselves as too extreme for the mainstream movement . . . whose adherents include a range of racists, from white separatists to neo-Nazis.”
The very word “alternative” implies that the Alt-Right is an alternative to the traditional Right (conservatives) — Americans who believe in a constrained or limited government, the importance of law and order, and time-tested traditions embodied in the institutions of family, church, school, government, the Constitution, and the free market. Those institutions instill discipline and motivation, as well as correct and constrain the individual’s vices.
The Alt-Right, however, see traditional Conservatives as being too passive, spineless, yielding and ineffective against the Left’s successful assault on American culture and institutions, and on Western civilization itself. Thus, the Alt-Right’s contemptuous label for traditional Conservatives as “Cuckservatives” – cuckolded, emasculated and impotent conservatives.
In contrast, the Alt-Right is assertive, even combative, if circumstances require it. That masculine assertiveness is best typified by an Alt-Rightist nicknamed “Based Stickman” – Kyle Chapman, 41, a self-identified patriot and “protector of freedom” who first appeared at a pro-Trump rally on March 4, 2017 at the Civic Center Park in Berkeley, CA, dressed in a homemade combat outfit comprised of helmet, gas mask, a wooden shield with an American flag sticker, and carrying a big stick (thus, “stick man”).
In the park, Chapman defended himself and other pro-Trumpers from physical attacks by radical Leftists who call themselves Antifa (anti-fascists).
Chapman is representative of a New or Alternative Right who will no longer be passive because they believe this may be America’s last opportunity to reverse the tide of the Left’s Cultural Marxism that has taken over education (from kindergarten through college), entertainment and pop culture, the media, and seemingly every social, economic, and political institution.
Another example of the New Right’s assertiveness took place on June 16, 2017, when Alt-Right activists disrupted the performance of a New York Public Theater’s “re-imagining” of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar play, in which a Donald Trump-lookalike Caesar was stabbed to death by conspirators.
Speaking of Based Stickman, you may wonder what “based” means.
“Based” is one of the words coined by Alt-Rightists on Internet chat boards, such as the /pol/ (politically incorrect) sections of 4chan and 8chan. In other words, the Alt-Right have developed their own vocabulary, the meanings of which can’t be found in dictionaries, but can be surmised by how the words are used in context. Some examples:
- based: a term of approval or praise, which means courageous or ballsy — the opposite of “cuck”.
- cuck: a favorite term of insult, which means being cuckolded, neutered or emasculated.
- cuckservative: a term of insult and abuse for spineless traditional conservatives.
- muh: being underwhelmed; indifferent; the verbal equivalent of a shrug.
Political ideology is comprised of attitudes, values, and beliefs. In the case of the Alt-Right, their attitude is one of combative assertiveness; their values are rooted in the Western civilization, which includes Christianity; and their beliefs are that America’s decline is due to the hollowing-out of the manufacturing economy by outsourcing, an open door to immigration (illegal and legal) and refugees, and the Left’s takeover and corruption of culture.
To reverse that decline, the Alt-Right champions American nationalism (against the forces of globalism) and populism (the forgotten middle class), which explains why the Alt-Right resonate to and find appealing Donald Trump’s call to an “America First” domestic and foreign policy.
Two strains of American nationalism have emerged among the Alt-Right: civic nationalism vs. racial nationalism:
- Racial nationalists believe that America was founded by and is rooted in the “white” (non-Jewish) race, and that dilution of “white” America by immigration, race-mixing, and government policies like Affirmative Action and multiculturalism have led to national decline and the increasing vilification and marginalization of “white” people, especially of “white” men. The Alt-Right white nationalists want white segregation — a return to an America of the “white” race via the repatriation of all immigrants who had come to the U.S. since the 1960s when an open-door immigration policy began. It is not clear what the white nationalists propose to do with blacks, native Americans, and Jews, not to mention the many “white” Americans on the Left. The identification of race-mixing as one of America’s banes accounts for a strain of chauvinism in racial Alt-Rightists, who propose a return to men as heads of household, and (white) women as docile wives, mothers and homemakers. An example of an Alt-Right racial nationalist is a writer-blogger-video game designer named Vox Day (real name Theodore Beale), 48, who claims to have a genius-level IQ. Many of the regular commenters on Day’s blog, Vox Populi, are similarly inclined. Some are almost slavish, calling Day their “Dark Lord”. Oddly for an American nationalist, Vox Day lives with his wife and children in northern Italy.
- Civic nationalists are those who believe that the American nation is not defined by race, but by important shared political values embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Some examples of Alt-Right civic nationalists are “Based Stickman” Kyle Chapman and Mike Cernovich, a writer and self-promoting media “personality”. Not coincidentally, both Chapman and Cernovich are married to non-whites. That earned Chapman a derisive and dismissive comment from a racial Alt-Right nationalist named Eli Mosley: “There is no hope for this man or his rice-children.” Mosley’s comment received 50 up-votes on a Disqus chat-forum trashing Based Stickman.
While there really is a War on White Men, espousing a white racial American nationalism (as some Alt-Rightists do) neither makes sense nor is practical:
- It’s nonsensical because many on the Left are non-Jewish whites, e.g., Bill Clinton, while there are patriotic non-whites among the Right, such as this Vietnamese immigrant who loves America. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put it best: What matters is the content of one’s character, beliefs and behaviors — which are matters of our choice and volition — instead of the color of one’s skin, which we are born with and about which we can do nothing.
- That’s also why a white racial American nationalism is impractical, because you alienate and marginalize Americans who can be your supporters and allies in common cause.
- Another impracticability is how the word “white” is defined, and how “whiteness” is determined. How much “whiteness” makes one a “white”? Ironically, Vox Day, the champion of white nationalism, is of English, Irish, Mexican and Native American descent. Is Vox Day “white” enough?
Already amorphous and unorganized, with neither formal membership nor a common leader, the division among the Alt-Right between racial and civic nationalists throws the future of this new political movement into question. Where the Alt-Right goes, beyond the 2016 election that elevated their candidate Donald Trump to the White House, remains to be seen. Should Trump succeed in revitalizing the U.S. economy, the Alt-Right will probably subside and fade. But if President Trump were removed, by impeachment or assassination, then the anger that gave rise to the Alt-Right will likely burst into open violence.