GOING FULL FASH: BREITBART MAINSTREAMS THE ‘ALT RIGHT’APRIL 5, 2016
The radical right has always needed a stop over point on its way to middle American conservatism. For years, the Libertarian Party and its various “economic” projects were this, from the anti-tax movement of California to the mainstreaming of their ideas with the Tea Party. Libertarianism has headed into the Beltway as one of the last popular coherent philosophies for the new GOP, mired in mainstream liberal values mixed with cut-through capitalism. In this move to the mainstream it has shed much of its racialist and white nationalist connections, leaving the growing Alt Right looking for its new crossover point. They have found that friend in Brietbart.
Brietbart News began with the now-deceased perpetual yell of Andrew Breitbart, which brought a young and confrontational style to the Tea Party. From “exposing” Acorn with edited videos that took low-wage organizing workers’ statements out of context to asking for “video proof” that Congressmen John Lewis was called the N-word at a public Tea Party event, Breitbart, and its various web staples such as the embarrassing BigGovernment.com, has made a name for itself for standing to the right of Fox News and engaging in the kind of silly click-bait that allows it to compete in an angry Twitter-verse.
The Alt Right, meaning the newest incarnation of the “intellectual” and Internet-driven white nationalist movement, has needed some friends in the the world of Beltway Conservative Inc., and Breitbart has proven that it can act as the middle point between their lair and the Brooks Brothers and “fiscal conservatism” of D.C.’s Republican establishment.
This relationship has been cemented with Breitbart’s recent fawning feature, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right.” The article begins by immediately drawing the comparison between the Alt Right’s role in conservatism to the role of Marxism to the contemporary left by saying “A specter is haunting the dinner parties, fundraisers and think-tanks of the Establishment: the specter of the ‘alternative right.;” The main thrust of the article is a large-scale defense of the Alt Right against allegations of racism, bigotry, and ideological violence. Their defense begins with the perceived intelligence of the Alt Right in comparison to the caricatures of Klansman, which says nothing of their ideological orientations. They go on to quote male-tribalist Jack Donovan, who one of the authors of the article, Milo Yiannopoulos, is friends with online. This is not surprising as Donovan is known for being a sort of “anti-gay gay author” whose basic ideology is that queer men should abandon the gay identity because it is associated with feminism, effeminacy, and leftist politics. Yiannopoulos, for his part, is publicly a gay man, which led to many of the reasons that the Alt Right had mixed reactions to this work (we will get into this later on).
This opening section mentions the ideological framework for the Alt Right as being diverse, and including Oswald Spengler, H.L. Mencken, Julius Evola, Sam Francis, and the French New Right, as well as having a relationship to the paleoconservative movement of the 1980s-90s. This is meant to insulate it from accusations of extreme racism supposedly, and he goes on to mention more modern incarnations of this ideological current such as Steve Sailer’s HBD blog, the anti-immigration web publication VDARE, and the current center of “race realism”: American Renaissance.
When you cut through their ironic abstractions, what they are indicating is class rather than ideology. They are noting that the Alt Right has a more middle-class and educated character, not that they do not hold the ideological foundations that have always driven neo-fascist movements. The assumption here is that skinheads and KKK members lack a strong ideological foundation, yet there has always been an intellectual side to the far-right. Oswald Spengler’s anti-Semitic racial nationalism has been key for decades, and Julius Evolahas become the defining far-right philosopher both for intellectual Pagan racists and for street-level skinheads. His work was key to the violent right-wing terrorism of people like Ordine Nuovo or contemporary Ultra movements in Rome, and his alleged “anti-fascism” only came from his view that fascism needed to move further to the right to install an aristocratic racialist society built on authority, hierarchy, and violence. The assumptions implicit in Breitbart’s article is that the criticisms of fascism today come from its association with “lone wolf” violence rather than the possibility of a violent political theology of enforce inequality, which misses a thorough understanding of the diversity and history of fascism since its interwar inception.
Milo does something useful in this place, however, in that he rightly identifies the more web-board intellectual Neoreactionary movement(NRx), the HBD networks, and the manosphere as part of this broad “Alt Right.” As much as these movements want to self-identify with their own “unique” ideology, especially the culture of Men’s Rights Activism and “game” blogs, they are a part of the anti-egalitarian Alt Right current that essentializes biology and roots for the oppressor.
What they spend a great deal of time on is this notion of “Natural Conservatives,” which is the position they seem to agree with the most (This is not actually a popular idea used on the far-right.). This comes from the idea that some people are just built for conservatism in some kind of bio-psychological way (R-K Selection Theorymay be the best example of this). Much of this rhetoric comes in pieces from the Alt Right, who are attempting to draw out some kind of scientific framework to argue that different views are driven by biological difference. This logic has an insidious underpinning as it is intended to be an “essentialist” view of behavior and nature as coming from the body rather than from environment. In this way they can argue that there are essential racial, gender, and regional biological differences that influence ideology, and therefore the defining character of a society is demographic rather than its ideas. This is why they can then argue that “Western” society is going to fall apart because it is now less-white, which means it has few of the people from which its character was developed from. This logic has been echoed, however discreetly, in the work of establishment conservatives like Charles Murray, whose The Bell Curve took on the notion that IQ was biologically fixed and determined your level of socio-economic success.
They co-opt the notion from social psychologist Jonathan Haidt that there is “an instinct keenly felt by a huge watche of the political population: the conservative instinct.”
The conservative instinct, as described by Haidt, includes a preference for homogeneity over diversity, for stability over change, and for hierarchy and order over radical egalitarianism. Their instinctive wariness of the foreign and the unfamiliar is an instinct that we all share – an evolutionary safeguard against excessive, potentially perilous curiosity – but natural conservatives feel it with more intensity. They instinctively prefer familiar societies, familiar norms, and familiar institutions.
It should be noted that Haidt is an incredibly marginal voice, and this notion of biologically driven conservatism is not actually held by most of the psychological scientific community.
The prime purpose here is for Breitbart to go on through what are essentially nativist, nationalist, and racialist behaviors and explain them as being “natural and normal,” the kind of talking point that the Alt Right usually uses to explain itself.
The alt-right do not hold a utopian view of the human condition: just as they are inclined to prioritise the interests of their tribe, they recognise that other groups – Mexicans, African-Americans or Muslims – are likely to do the same. As communities become comprised of different peoples, the culture and politics of those communities become an expression of their constituent peoples.
You’ll often encounter doomsday rhetoric in alt-right online communities: that’s because many of them instinctively feel that once large enough and ethnically distinct enough groups are brought together, they will inevitably come to blows. In short, they doubt that full “integration” is ever possible. If it is, it won’t be successful in the “kumbaya” sense. Border walls are a much safer option.
The alt-right’s intellectuals would also argue that culture is inseparable from race. The alt-right believe that some degree of separation between peoples is necessary for a culture to be preserved. A Mosque next to an English street full of houses bearing the flag of St. George, according to alt-righters, is neither an English street nor a Muslim street — separation is necessary for distinctiveness.
Here they are not proving that the Alt Right has been mischaracterized, but instead attempting to say that their logic is sound and respectable even if it is not always shared amongst establishment types. They want to allege that these talking points are fundamentally different from those of the neo-Nazi crowd, but they are almost completely synonymous with what people like David Duke, Tom Metzger, or the National Socialist Movement will say publicly. The “suit and tie” rhetoric has dominated amongst racist groups for decades, and the only difference between the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the Alt Right’s “identitarianism” is vocabulary, not ideology.