A very common criticism that those in the ‘classical liberal/skeptic/whatever the fuck you want to call it’ sphere of social critique get is “If you’re so fair and rational, why don’t you call out the right more?” Dave Rubin (who I still like very much) has been running into the issue of not holding right-leaning guests’ feet to the fire nearly as much as his left leaning guests. Sargon’s gotten into hot water for not criticizing Trump and/or not taking the bad things Trump does seriously. In short: I think the critics have a legitimate point when they say the ones who paint themselves as rational centrists should attack both ends of the horseshoe instead of just focusing on one.
I also do this–out of the very many posts on Disorderly Politics, I’ve rarely dissected right-wing ideologues. My reasoning is that I would like to see the left reform itself into something more respectable, and speaking up and trying to keep the poison out of the well as a fellow leftist is the only way to do that. The right is not my team, and while I could throw rocks at it from the other side of the line if I wanted to, people have done that so often and so thoroughly, I don’t think my rock would add much to the fray. Plus, the upsurge of progressivism has led to right wing ideas and talking points being very unfairly lambasted and those who lean right being painted as automatically under-educated at best and racist/sexist/xenophobes at worst.
Right wing politics aren’t without their legitimate points, and it would do modern-day progressives some good to acknowledge that. Those on the left are very prone to that kind of elitism–and you wonder why self-proclaimed Republicans dislike universities when, as far as the media is concerned, they just seem to churn out elitist snobs who look down on anyone who isn’t a part of the intelligentsia as an apparently sociopathic idiot? And that’s on top of the fact that many social media and news sites seem to think that anything remotely right-leaning (or not even left-leaning enough) is inherently controversial and therefore bad. For that reason, I understand why the ‘skeptics’ have allied themselves with many people on the right end of the spectrum and why right-leaning ideas haven’t been criticized as much. I understand why they want to give these ideas platforms and give people with those ideas a chance to have their voice heard in a context where they will not immediately be negatively judged or seen as less intelligent.
With that huge disclaimer out of the way, though: let’s talk about the alt-right and how much it blows, shall we?
In order to talk about the alt-right, you have to talk about them in relation to progressives. Since I want this post to focus on the former, though, I’ll get that talking point out of the way quickly. I think progressive ideology is largely at fault for the rise of the alt-right–both the ironic alt-righters on YouTube who are harmless and just want to trigger feminists, and the legitimate ones who actually believe in alt-right ideals. What do you get when you go around insisting that white people need to see themselves as a distinct social class, insist that the White Social Class needs so sit down and shut up, that all those within the White Social Class have it better than everyone else by default, that the White Social Class needs to own and bare responsibility solely for negative historical happenings, and that racism towards the White Social Class is not only acceptable but not even racism at all? Bibbidi Bobbidi Boop! You get white nationalist alt-righters: white people who decided that if they were going to own the actions of their ancestors, then they were going to own the cool parts. That’s not to say that white nationalism didn’t exist until SJWs started poisoning our social rhetoric, but they weren’t a mainstream thing until that happened. This is the monster that progressives have created, and it’s really up to the rest of us to slay it, because they’re sure as hell are not going to.
Even worse, typical SJW rhetoric has made it incredibly difficult to address the alt-right at all because of their overuse of the term ‘racist.’ Progressives use that word to describe normal people so fucking much that my default reaction to hearing that someone is racist is to think, “Oh, they’re probably a cool, reasonable person who did nothing wrong.” That is the thing I think first because that word has been rendered so utterly toothless by progressive talking heads. Whenever anything legitimately racist goes down, there’s no longer a word you can use for it that accurately impresses the meaning you want without sounding like leftist propaganda.
So when I say that white nationalism has undertones, overtones, and a few shameless indulgences in racism, there will be a large subsection of people who think I’m just whining about nothing and making mountains out of molehills. Thanks, SJWs! But hey, don’t let my shitting all over SJWs fool you–me not being convinced of the wonderful purity of ethno-states automatically makes me a liberal SJW cuck, doncha know?
So onto the alt-right themselves, and the common talking points you hear from them. Note: this is what I have gleaned mainly from researching individual alt-right thinkers or internet comments supporting the alt-right. It’s strangely difficult to just find a list of their beliefs and social/political opinions.
1.) White/European pride. A very large facet of the alt-right is racial pride (whether than extends to specific ethnic European ancestry or just race seems to very). For some examples of comments I’ve seen: “What’s wrong with having pride in your race?”; “Let’s just keep ridiculing anyone with a sense of nationalism or ethnic pride. They must all be nazi edgelords.” ; “The alt right stands for white identity and grouping around that identity in order to improve the group’s standing in a world that is polarized and ruled by identity.”
It is, by nature, very collectivist, as it entails a strong identification with others and strong identification with the accomplishments of others based upon shared race/ethnicity. Some of the more cringe-tastic memes from this sphere typically include making comparisons between classical European architecture and ambiguously African mudhuts to show how much cooler and how much more innovative white people are, for example. I see little point in this. I suppose I understand having a certain amount of cultural pride. The fact that these cultural products are so often conflated with race, however, kind of ruins it.
While I agree that it shouldn’t be seen as racist for a white person to strongly identify and have pride in their race (just as I don’t think it’s racist for anyone else of any other race to do so), I do think it’s a rather flimsy and insecure thing to have pride in or see as a huge identity marker. To me, someone telling me they take pride in their race might as well be saying, “I haven’t done anything of note personally, and am very insecure about my worth as a person, so I latch onto group identity to feel larger than I am and more secure.”
2.) White nationalism and ethno-states. This is not to be confused with white supremacy. From what I’ve seen, there are very many people who identify as white nationalists who also abhor the idea of racial supremacy of any kind. That being said, this idea oftentimes reminds me of social justice warriors in practice.
“I’m not racist, I’m just happy that more non-white babies are being born in this country.” vs. “I’m not racist, I’m just sad that more non-white babies are being born in this country.”
The general idea is that ethnic/racial homogeneity is good and leads to a more stable society and that “white nations” should remain “white nations” in order to preserve their heritage, culture, and some vague notion of purity. The same goes for other nations–black nations should stay black, Asian ones Asian, etc. While this is technically true–it’s hard to have racial tension or race disparities when there’s only one race *taps forehead and smiles*–many white nationalists seem to have a very unrealistic and idealized notion of what an ethno-state would be like.
For instance, they laud Japan as this beautiful, first world, ethno-state that’s 99% Japanese, and doesn’t let in too many of those awful immigrants, and cares about preserving its race and culture, and is full of high-IQed people with pride in their heritage. Japan is, in many cases, their go-to example of the ideal ethno-state. They seem to have forgotten that Japan’s inverted triangle population is on the fast track to screwing over its entire economy because more people are aging out of the workforce than going in. It’s elderly population is draining the country’s federal resources, all while adding nothing to them, with many elderly people living in abject poverty and going without health treatment because there aren’t enough health care professionals to take care of them, and many small towns are turning into financially useless ghost towns after their geriatric populace all dies off. Abe made strides to encourage more women to enter the workforce not because he’s some paragon of meritocracy and gender equality but because Japan’s workforce size was plummeting to the point of financial ruin in many sectors, so having women enter the workforce became necessary to keep things afloat. Many universities were shut down because there just aren’t enough young people in the country to justify their existence, and the ones that still exist are in the process of desperately trying to appeal to international students in order to bring in more youth to enter the Japanese workforce long-term. Meanwhile, its piss-poor relationship with South Korea and China on both a political level and on an interpersonal racism level has made the situation even worse: The two countries nearest them who could provide them with immigrants with relatively similar cultural values (i. e., who wouldn’t cause many cultural tensions) don’t want anything to do with them because Japan is so discriminatory towards other East Asians, largely because of an uptick in Japanese nationalism stirred up by Abe over the last decade.
But, yes, it’s the perfect ethno-state that proves just how successful ethno-states can be.
3.) White genocide. This is where the things that make you raise your eyebrows over how maybe-racist they are come to a crashing halt and fly face-first into full-on Racism. This is the first among many points where you see the alt-right conflation with race and culture, with the essential idea being that white people being bred out of existence will be the end of “white” or European culture. I’m part of the white genocide, I guess, me being a filthy half-breed polluting the good white genes of my matrilineal side. Oh no, it’s even worse–I didn’t even come out with pale skin. How am I going to continue white culture now?! The blacks won.
First, this is unlikely to happen. Yes, immigrants have lots of kids, but not to the point where they’re going to outbreed the native white populations of places like Sweden or Germany. At least not anytime soon. This also ignores that immigrant birth rates tend to decline steadily after that initial boom in numbers, making the chances of them outnumbering the native population even less likely.
This makes even less sense in the US, where alt-righters are freaking out over white people becoming a minority in “their own country.” (Because it’s not like the Native Americans exist–no the country has just always been white.) It literally just groups all the non-white people together and acts like ‘Minority’ is a class in of its own. Newsflash: If minorities became more than 50% of the American population, white people would still be the majority race–‘minorities’ are at the very least comprised of four different racial groups.
For a comment example: “I cant get over the idea that europeans may one day be minorities in their own countries. how does this ‘community’ reconcile this fact or are you not bothered? am i just a racist for believing that european nations should stay european?” What does ‘European’ mean, random YouTube commentor? Because to talk to an alt-righter, the impression you get is that a European can never be anyone who isn’t racially white. There is a conflation with race and culture here that cannot be ignored. I once dated a guy who was the most stereotypically British person on the face of the planet: he had a posh London accent, he was deadpan and sarcastic, he loved tea, he idolized Stephen Fry, he disliked food with seasoning, he modeled his personal philosophy after Sherlock Holmes and British thinkers. He was a quintessential Englishman. He also had darker skin and an ethnic-sounding surname on account of his parents’ parents being from India. So would his existence help keep England English? Would his existence help to uphold the UK as a British nation? Or would his brown skin and presence in a white nation make him part of the genocide of British culture?
4.) Race realism. It’s the IQ argument: “Brown people have lower average IQs than white people, and that’s why we need white ethno-states, but I guess it would be okay to have some Asian immigrants because they have high IQs.” It’s a stupid argument.
My thesis paper was actually all about how important it is to test what you actually think you are testing before you make empirical claims. That is a criticism that has been leveled at the IQ test since its very conception, for good reason. Cultural and social factors have far too varying of an effect on IQ scores to use them to say anything about capacity for intelligence based strictly off of racial demographics. If you go to a poor neighborhood, the people there will likely demonstrate lower IQs on average than test takers in the Palisades, regardless of race.
That’s not to say that race and genetics do not have any effect on IQ (the IQ of the parents oftentimes correlates to that of the child, for instance), but since culture and early upbringing is such a significant mitigating factor in determining what one’s IQ is, it’s rather disingenuous to act as though race is the most important thing to consider. It’s also statistically illiterate–the problem with bellcurves and averages is that outliers screw them up something fierce.
While the IQs of different races aren’t made exactly the same when you account for statistically insignificant outliers–East Asians still have a slightly higher average than whites, African Americans slightly lower–the disparity between them isn’t nearly as wide. And seeing as how it’s a disparity that can be bridged by cultivating a culture that values education and strict self-control and mental discipline more, I do not see how acting like IQ is inherently connected to race helps all that much. There are stupid white people mooching off the state and living off of welfare too, so where do they factor into this?
Also, the last time I checked, my IQ was 135. So am I smart enough to be allowed into your white ethno-state even though my dad is black, or does the extra melanin in my skin disqualify me from being a contributing member of your idealized society because people of my skin tone are less intelligent on average? Just asking.
5.) Anti-Multiculturalism and Anti-Immigration. For example: “Why do whites continue to shame their own kind while sticking up for nonwhite immigration? What are the benefits of that exactly??” ; “Only whites are not allowed to protect their identity today, it is a scary and valid concern in the world of anti-racism , immigration and diversity today.”
This one has a legitimate point to make. According to leftists at least, majority white cultures are the only ones that should be bothered with multi-culturalism. And I do think there is a level of unfairness in the idea that white people are apparently the only ones who have to be okay with their culture being taken or changed by others and that white people can’t have the desire to keep their cultural heritage intact and isolated without being deemed a racist for not sharing. It is legitimately not fair. It is a double standard. I’ll give you that.
When I was in Japan, I met a black woman from Nigeria who had lived and worked in Japan for 30+ years, had children and raised them there, etc.. She expressed a good deal of sadness with the fact that her daughter identified as Japanese more than Nigerian and didn’t care all that much about upholding Nigerian traditions. Personally, I didn’t like how she was trying to enforce her own values and cultural identity onto her child who didn’t want them. But if she can be sad about a loss of cultural connection in her own family, then white people should be allowed to be sad about a loss of cultural connection in their own countries. (Is that black teenager Japanese, by the way? Question for the ages.)
While I’m no hardliner on the idea that “you shouldn’t let non-whites immigrate here,” I understand why it’s so prominent. The cultural clash between European nations and immigrants from different cultural landscapes with distinctly different value systems has caused many, many problems. That mass immigration was not handled well at all, the ‘mass’ part of it being the main issue. While I wouldn’t take it so far as the alt-righters, who seem to think that any and all immigration is bad and that ethnic minorities should be kept in the low single-digits, if any are allowed to live and work in the country at all, I understand the general idea of wanting controlled borders and a firm hand on who immigrates and when. You can’t really escape the racist under/overtones of “We don’t want brown people in our country,” though, no matter how hard you try. If you made it less about race and more about culture, I’d be on your side with this one. But the continued importance of skin tone to the argumentation kills any legitimate point to be had about the importance of maintaining a nation’s values in the face of mass immigration from dissimilar places.
6.) Expediency and Peaceful Transitions. A very common idea I’ve seen floating around alt-right circles is that there’s no time for principles. There is no time for a peaceful resolution to anything. White people are being genocided! If you disagree with us on any of these points, then you support rape of innocent white women! For example: “Classical liberalism will not save you from the impending demographic changes.” ; “I fail to see how ‘classical liberalism’ will protect German girls from Muslim child rapists.” A lot of those incredibly intelligent Asians are Muslim, by the way. ASEAN exists. There are also white Muslims–would they have a place in your ethno-state?
The notion that we don’t have time to treat people equally when we’re faced with such huge issues is a very obvious slippery slope that they don’t defend very well. They just seem to think authoritarianism is awful when it’s forced upon them by other ideological groups, but it’s okay–not only okay, but necessary for the good of humanity–when they do it. Sound familiar? The hypocrisy is very annoying to me. They insist that “classical liberals” are too idealistic: meritocracy is too idealistic, having a racially/ethnically heterogeneous society is too idealistic, being okay with any amount of foreign immigration is too idealistic. But the supposed end goal of the alt-right movement–a white ethno-state–is totes realistic and attainable.
The majority of them, in what seems like a way to further distance themselves from white supremacy, will insist up and down that they want their ideas to be enacted peacefully. I refuse to believe that any of them are so stupid as to think that the formation of an ethno-state in 21st century, first world, Western Europe or North America will be in any way peaceful.
Maybe you could do this with refugees (both the real and the so-called ones) who, by definition of being refugees, are supposed to leave the country eventually. But what about the ethnic minorities who actually live there? Do you think they’re going to just smile and nod while you kick them out of their country of residence? You are going to have to force people to leave, whether that means using federal power to deport law-abiding citizens for no other reason than their race or just physically forcing them out. Either way, that’s not going to be “peaceful,” and I doubt the rest of the world would be okay with it. And that’s assuming that all the ethnic minorities are immigrants–what about the ones born there, who are legal citizens of that country. At that point, you’re literally pointing to legal citizens and forcing them out for no other reason than being the wrong race. And you wonder why people think the alt-right is synonymous with white supremacy?
That’s also ignoring what the ethno-state would even entail: I know you’d want all the browns and most of the Asians gone, but what about different ethnicities of white people? Being mutually white doesn’t stop racism and in-fighting among different ethnic groups, so how is this ethno-state going to work? Are you also going to kick out all the white people whose ancestors don’t come from certain countries specifically?
The last time someone in Western Europe decided to ethnically cleanse the country “for the good of the people,” a world war happened. Hell, the last time an ethno-state was founded, it caused violent conflict that is still happening sixty years later. What about the formation of a white ethno-state is going to go well in the mind of the alt-right? I am honestly asking that question. This is not me calling the alt-right Nazis, this is me pointing out the logical necessity of force to achieve their desired end-goal.
This is something that needs to be called out for the stupidity it is. They may be the enemies of social justice warriors, but that doesn’t make them our friends. They are collectivist, anti-meritocratic ideologues who don’t see the difference between culture and physical appearance, who are apparently fine with authoritarian measures being taken as long as they’re against the people they don’t like. Agreeing with them that borders are a good thing and that mass immigration is bad for the native populace in most cases and believing that their voice shouldn’t be censored is not the same thing as being allied with them.
We shouldn’t be so open minded that our brains fall out. Wanting free speech and open dialogue for ideas that have been written off/censored/automatically demonized by leftists doesn’t mean we can’t address those ideas as bad ones. There is no reason to tolerate alt-right sentiments in the “classical liberal” thinktank just because they internet real good and their voices have been suppressed by progressives too. There is no reason to ignore alt-right rhetoric bouncing around in the “community” like it’s somehow not just as toxic of an idea system as the one we dislike. And while there have been plenty of big names who have spoken out against white nationalist sentiments, I also think it’s important to hold their feet to the fire more consistently than we do.
I’m fine with speaking to them and interviewing them and all of that. I’m one of the people who asked Dave Rubin to interview Richard Spencer. That being said, I’m going to take a page from Maajid Nawaz and emphasize the existence of the minorities within minorities. I’m a biracial woman. I don’t really care what political label I’m given: “classical liberal,” “cultural libertarian,” “independent,” whatever. What is important is that I believe that people should be regarded as individuals, seen for their own merit and their own value, no one else’s. Groups are made out of individuals, after all. With an individualistic mindset, in order to justify hurting a group, you have to justify hurting every single one of its members first. Collectivism makes mistreatment easier that way.
I greatly enjoy the “classical liberal” sphere of dialogue–don’t plan on leaving it any time soon–and there are plenty of minorities in the minority like me, who have similar ideas. And there is a real risk that those people, the ones progressives call coons and Uncle Toms and porch monkeys and race traitors, will be turned away from classical liberalism because so many classical liberals seem content to make strange bedfellows with people who, just like the progressives, don’t respect them as individual people.