Posted by Michael Kennedy on August 28th, 2016 (All posts by Michael Kennedy)
There is a new theme for the Democrats in this year’s election. Hillary calls it the “Alt-Right.”
The New York Times is alarmed.
As Hillary Clinton assailed Donald J. Trump on Thursday for fanning the flames of racism embraced by the “alt-right,” the community of activists that tends to lurk anonymously in the internet’s dark corners could hardly contain its glee.
Mrs. Clinton’s speech was intended to link Mr. Trump to a fringe ideology of conspiracies and hate, but for the leaders of the alt-right, the attention from the Democratic presidential nominee was a moment in the political spotlight that offered a new level of credibility. It also provided a valuable opportunity for fund-raising and recruiting.
Jared Taylor, editor of the white nationalist publication American Renaissance, live-tweeted Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, questioning her praise of establishment Republicans and eagerly anticipating her discussion of his community.
According to Hillary and the Times, Donald Trump is defined by those who say they support him more than by what he says himself.
If Hillary and Bernie Sanders are supported by communists, does that make them communists ? This is an odd year and will get worse.
A better explanation of “alt-Right” is provided by two spokesmen for another view.
A specter is haunting the dinner parties, fundraisers and think-tanks of the Establishment: the specter of the “alternative right.” Young, creative and eager to commit secular heresies, they have become public enemy number one to beltway conservatives — more hated, even, than Democrats or loopy progressives.
The alternative right, more commonly known as the alt-right, is an amorphous movement. Some — mostly Establishment types — insist it’s little more than a vehicle for the worst dregs of human society: anti-Semites, white supremacists, and other members of the Stormfront set. They’re wrong.
I wasn’t even aware of this controversy until Ann Althouse put up a post on the subject after Hillary raised it.
She quotes a man who was ejected from the Hillary speech.
“I call myself alt right because the conservative establishment right in this country does not represent my views, they are just as much to blame for the disaster taking place in America as the left, the alt right to me is fiscal responsibility, secure borders, enforcement of immigration laws, ending the PC culture, and promoting AMERICA FIRST (Not Sharia First)… If you come to this country legally, follow the laws, learn our language, and love the country, you are equal, no matter your color, or religion. Basically alt-right is to separate ourselves from the failing establishment right.“
That post led to over 300 comments on her blog. She then posted a survey. The results were interesting.
I voted for the choice “I’m most of all of what it stands for but I don’t use that term, myself.”
What is going on here? A comment on that post is about where I am.
As a longtime reader of John Derbyshire, I’m familiar with the term. I am in reluctant agreement with the alt-right contention that there is a genetic component to intelligence and other desirable human qualities, and that uncontrolled immigration and welfare handouts induce selective evolutionary pressure against these desirable traits, to the nation’s disadvantage.
This is, of course, shockingly racist by today’s standards. I am tranquil about that. The power-crazed Left is going to accuse white people of racism no matter what they say and do, and their outraged demands for more and more anti-white discrimination will only increase as the last vestiges of white supremacy dwindle. When everyone is “racist”, no one is really racist.
Derbyshire stirred up a hornet’s nest with his article on his advice to his children about race. Derbyshire’s children are Eurasian as his wife is Chinese. As a result of his article, he was fired by National Review, which has also been a hysterical opponent of Donald Trump. I have quit my subscription to NR as a result of that action plus their weak support of Mark Steyn whose writing has disappeared from their pages.
National Review attacked them as bitter members of the white working-class who worship “father-Führer” Donald Trump. Betsy Woodruff of The Daily Beast attacked Rush Limbaugh for sympathising with the “white supremacist alt-right.” BuzzFeed begrudgingly acknowledged that the movement has a “great feel for how the internet works,” while simultaneously accusing them of targeting “blacks, Jews, women, Latinos and Muslims.”
The amount of column inches generated by the alt-right is a testament to their cultural punch. But so far, no one has really been able to explain the movement’s appeal and reach without desperate caveats and virtue-signalling to readers.
I agree completely.
There are many things that separate the alternative right from old-school racist skinheads (to whom they are often idiotically compared), but one thing stands out above all else: intelligence. Skinheads, by and large, are low-information, low-IQ thugs driven by the thrill of violence and tribal hatred. The alternative right are a much smarter group of people — which perhaps suggests why the Left hates them so much. They’re dangerously bright.
I don’t disagree but there is an element of self congratulation in that and it approaches virtue signaling so common on the left.
What about the racial aspect ? Well those of us who read The Bell Curve 20 years ago know what reality is about race and intelligence.
This is reality. There is a similar distribution with Asians and Hispanics.
Asians have higher mean IQ than whites, who have higher mean IQ than blacks and Hispanics. That does not mean that all blacks are less intelligent or that all Asians are more intelligent. Genetics rules.
There is also the “Warrior Gene,” which is slightly more common in blacks.
In humans, there is a 30-base repeat sequence repeated in one of several different numbers of times in the promoter region of the gene coding for MAO-A. There are 2R (two repeats), 3R, 3.5R, 4R, and 5R variants of the repeat sequence, with the 3R and 4R variants most common in Caucasians. The 3.5R and 4R variants have been found to be more highly active than 3R or 5R, in a study which did not examine the 2R variant. An association between the 2R allele of the VNTR region of the gene and an increase in the likelihood of committing serious crime or violence has been found.
What’s racial about that ?
Studies have found differences in the frequency distribution of variants of the MAOA gene between ethnic groups: of the participants, 59% of Black men, 54% of Chinese men, 56% of Maori men, and 34% of Caucasian men carried the 3R allele, while 5.5% of Black men, 0.1% of Caucasian men, and 0.00067% of Asian men carried the 2R allele.
The absence of fathers in the lives of black boys is probably a stronger determinant of adult behavior but there is a small genetic role.
What else is significant about alt-right people besides supporting Donald Trump?
Jonathan Haidt, a Professor of Psychology, has a theory.
In The Political Brain, Drew Westen points out that the Republicans have become the party of the sacred, appropriating not just the issues of God, faith, and religion, but also the sacred symbols of the nation such as the Flag and the military. The Democrats, in the process, have become the party of the profane—of secular life and material interests. Democrats often seem to think of voters as consumers; they rely on polls to choose a set of policy positions that will convince 51% of the electorate to buy. Most Democrats don’t understand that politics is more like religion than it is like shopping.
This is an interesting insight and goes along well with recent work by Thomas Frank, who got a lot of attention with his earlier book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas,” which alleged that poor voters were supporting causes that were not their own. His new book takes another look at the question.
Drawing on years of research and first-hand reporting, Frank points out that the Democrats have done little to advance traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal. Indeed, they have scarcely dented the free-market consensus at all. This is not for lack of opportunity: Democrats have occupied the White House for sixteen of the last twenty-four years, and yet the decline of the middle class has only accelerated. Wall Street gets its bailouts, wages keep falling, and the free-trade deals keep coming.
With his trademark sardonic wit and lacerating logic, Frank’s Listen, Liberal lays bare the essence of the Democratic Party’s philosophy and how it has changed over the years. A form of corporate and cultural elitism has largely eclipsed the party’s old working-class commitment, he finds.
Haidt has similar theories.
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.
He has also studied the field of Social Psychology itself, and found a monolithic leftist orthodoxy.
But one key type of viewpoint diversity is lacking in academic psychology in general and social psychology in particular: political diversity. This article reviews the available evidence and finds support for four claims: (1) Academic psychology once had considerable political diversity, but has lost nearly all of it in the last 50 years. (2) This lack of political diversity can undermine the validity of social psychological science via mechanisms such as the embedding of liberal values into research questions and methods, steering researchers away from important but politically unpalatable research topics, and producing conclusions that mischaracterize liberals and conservatives alike. (3) Increased political diversity would improve social psychological science by reducing the impact of bias mechanisms such as confirmation bias, and by empowering dissenting minorities to improve the quality of the majority’s thinking. (4) The underrepresentation of non-liberals in social psychology is most likely due to a combination of self-selection, hostile climate, and discrimination. We close with recommendations for increasing political diversity in social psychology.
What has this to do with alt-right ?
For natural conservatives, culture, not economic efficiency, is the paramount value. More specifically, they value the greatest cultural expressions of their tribe. Their perfect society does not necessarily produce a soaring GDP, but it does produce symphonies, basilicas and Old Masters. The natural conservative tendency within the alt-right points to these apotheoses of western European culture and declares them valuable and worth preserving and protecting.
Needless to say, natural conservatives’ concern with the flourishing of their own culture comes up against an intractable nemesis in the regressive left, which is currently intent on tearing down statues of Cecil Rhodes and Queen Victoria in the UK, and erasing the name of Woodrow Wilson from Princeton in the U.S. These attempts to scrub western history of its great figures are particularly galling to the alt-right, who in addition to the preservation of western culture, care deeply about heroes and heroic virtues.
This follows decades in which left-wingers on campus sought to remove the study of “dead white males” from the focus of western history and literature curricula.
Immigration is a major concern of this group. Why ?
Certainly, the rise of Donald Trump, perhaps the first truly cultural candidate for President since Buchanan, suggests grassroots appetite for more robust protection of the western European and American way of life.
Alt-righters describe establishment conservatives who care more about the free market than preserving western culture, and who are happy to endanger the latter with mass immigration where it serves the purposes of big business, as “cuckservatives.”
Halting, or drastically slowing, immigration is a major priority for the alt-right. While eschewing bigotry on a personal level, the movement is frightened by the prospect of demographic displacement represented by immigration.
Trump is the candidate chiefly because of immigration, both illegal Hispanic and Muslim. The success of BREXIT is probably another example of the power of immigration as an issue to “Natural Conservatives” which are not the same as American “Cultural Conservatives,” which are mostly about religion, not culture.
Natural liberals, who instinctively enjoy diversity and are happy with radical social change – so long as it’s in an egalitarian direction – are now represented by both sides of the political establishment. Natural conservatives, meanwhile, have been slowly abandoned by Republicans — and other conservative parties in other countries. Having lost faith in their former representatives, they now turn to new ones — Donald Trump and the alternative right.
I am certainly not a member of the youth group that the authors say they represent but I am right with them in my sympathy.