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At the Intersection of Faith and Culture

Not long ago, National Review writer Jonah Goldberg discussed the “alt-right” with Hugh Hewitt on the latter’s talk radio show. They agreed that, at bottom, the movement upon which Hillary Clinton bestowed national recognition last month was “racist” and “supremacist.” As such, it deserved to be purged from the GOP and the conservative movement.

The notion that there is an alt-right is highly suspect, for there can be an alt-right only if there is a right. But, contrary to what Democrats and Republicans alike would have us think, there is no genuine right in contemporary American politics. So, there is no alternative on the right to it.

As I argued in a recent essay, there is, rather, an alt-left that has been passed off by the political Establishment and its media apologists as the right. And Hewitt and Goldberg are among those who belong to it.

Alt-leftists decry the so-called alt-right as being nothing more or less than a white supremacist, racist movement. Goldberg, for example, referred to Jared Taylor, a self-avowed representative of the alt-right, as “a leading racist,” and Hewitt characterized Peter Brimelow’s vdare.com site as “supremacist.” For good measure, Goldberg added that the alt-right was “anti-Semitic.”

It is the modus operandi of the left to demonize their opponents to their right in these sorts of terms. That the Hewitts and Goldbergs of the world hesitate not for a moment to appropriate this tactic betrays their affinity for the left. Yet it is a disgusting tactic, the rhetorical equivalent of shooting off a gun in a crowded area, for charges of racism and the like, though sorely lacking any precise meaning, threaten to inflict a kind of social death upon those against whom they’re leveled. And “anti-racists” know it.

That this is so, that alt-leftists would not dare to pursue the implications of their reasoning, can be gotten easily enough from the following.

Russell Kirk

Of the author of the seminal The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Elliot, Bill Buckley—the founder of the very magazine that employs Jonah Goldberg and many other anti-Trumpist enemies of the alt-right—said that it “is inconceivable even to imagine, let alone hope for, a dominant conservative movement in America” without Kirk’s “labor.” Indeed. Kirk was probably as close to a contemporary American version of Edmund Burke, the conservative tradition’s “patron saint,” as any that has ever been. Yet Kirk resolutely eschewed the kind of rationalist, globalist abstractions—like Democracy and American Exceptionalism (America-As-An Idea)—in which neoconservatives like Goldberg routinely trade, and which they try to sell as “conservatism.”

Kirk, rather, being a conservative, affirmed the concreteness and particularity of tradition.   More exactly, he prized the culturally-specific traditions of the West, of what has historically been a European, i.e. a predominantly white Christian, civilization.

Was Kirk a racist and supremacist?

Once while remarking upon the fixation on Israel exhibited by some alt-leftists, Kirk claimed that there are “some neoconservatives” who seemed to think that Tel Aviv was the capitol of the United States.

Was Kirk an anti-Semite?

Buckley not only didn’t purge Kirk from the conservative movement; he had originally begged him to write for National Review. Kirk accepted.

If Kirk is a racist, supremacist, and anti-Semite, then does this mean that, by implication, so too is Buckley, and so too was National Review?

And if the latter is true, then does this imply that those who write for the publication to this day, folks like, say, Goldberg, are also guilty by association?

William Buckley

Speaking of Buckley and NR, though many today would care to forget this, the truth is that much ink was spilled at conservatism’s flagship journal defending Jim Crow. In 1957, Buckley wrote that since Southern whites, at this juncture in history, constituted “the advanced race,” they were “entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, where they do not prevail numerically [.]” In “Why the South Must Prevail,” Buckley argued for the “cultural superiority of white over Negro [.]”

In the 1960’s, Buckley and his magazine advocated on behalf of apartheid in South Africa, colonialism, and the genetically-based intellectual inferiority of blacks.

Since Goldberg, Hewitt, and every other anti-Trumpist who are so quick to brand those to their right with the “R”-word remain especially cozy with National Review, it’s not unfair to ask them:

Is not National Review a supremacist publication? Shouldn’t it and those who are affiliated with it be driven from the GOP and the conservative movement?

Norman Podhoretz

Back in 1963, the now deceased editor of the alt-left journal Commentary authored an article, “My Negro Problem and Ours,” in which he admits to the “hatred I still feel for Negroes,” what he describes as “the hardest of all the old feelings to face or admit [.]” Podhoretz talks as well about “the insane rage that can stir in me at the thought of Negro anti-Semitism” and “the disgusting prurience that can stir in me at the sight of a mixed couple [.]” His “hatred” also manifests itself in “the violence that can stir in me whenever I encounter that special brand of touchiness to which many Negroes are prone.”

Is Norman Podhoretz a racist? Is Commentary a supremacist publication?

Should the public be alerted that that the New York Post employs the son—John Podhoretz—of a white racist supremacist?

Specific individuals aside, the case can be made all too easily that by the measure that the alt-left judges Jared Taylor, Peter Brimelow, and any number of other commentators who have never hurt a hair on the head of any non-white person, the alt-left stands condemned many-fold. Indeed, if, as many alt-leftists frequently argue, the policies of leftist Democrats convict them of “racism” because of the damage that these policies have visited upon black communities, then alt-leftists are homicidally racist because of the incalculable damages that their policies have visited upon peoples of color in places like Iraq.

Moreover, the alt-left’s doctrine of American Exceptionalism, the belief that America is the greatest country on Earth with the authority to advance its form of government everywhere, betrays its own form of supremacy: Alt-leftists are American supremacists, or Democratist supremacists.

Though he is no conservative or rightist, perhaps Donald Trump—with whom Hillary, the left, and the alt-left try to link the alt-right—can be credited with purging the Republican Party of its alt-left extremists.

 

 

Whether there really is a sinister “alt-right,” as Hillary Clinton has insisted, is questionable.

What is not questionable, though, is that there is an alt-left. This election cycle has made this clear.

And the home of the alt-left is the Republican Party.

The alt-left is, in some ways, domestically, a more moderate form of left-wing progressivism. In other ways, however, in foreign policy, with its military adventurism, it is actually a more robust species of this ideology.

Of course, those on the alt-left don’t ever self-identify in these terms. On the contrary, they describe themselves as “conservative.” Nevertheless, these “conservatives” are nothing of the kind. They are neoconservatives.

And this is but another way of saying that they are adherents of the alt-left.

More than one argument will bear this out.

First, from at least the time of Edmund Burke, “the patron saint” of modern conservatism, conservatives had distinguished themselves from radicals not just by way of the sorts of policies for which they advocate, but as well by the philosophical principles underlying those policies. Whether they were the proponents of the French Revolution, Marxism, Social Justice, or any other token of progressivism, leftists, being utopian, have tended to indulge in universal and absolute metaphysical and moral abstractions—like Reason, the Rights of Man, and Democracy—that conservatives have resolutely disavowed.

Conservatives, on the other hand, have opted for tradition, local, culturally-specific, time-honed tradition, as their starting point for political and moral reflection.

Now, as should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to American politics for more than a few minutes, to say nothing of decades, those in the alt-left—neoconservatives—share in common with their leftist radical counterparts from other times and places their embrace of these rationalist fictions.

The alt-left endorses “human rights,” and insofar as the latter are supposed to be “self-evident” propositions around which a whole society can be organized, it also endorses the Reason of the philosophes who advocated on behalf of the French Revolution.

Yet the alt-left also prizes Democracy as the prototype of the ideal universal civilization.

These concepts the alt-left weaves together in a uniquely American expression, what it champions as “American Exceptionalism,” the creed or doctrine that America is humanity’s “last, best hope” and that it is the only country in all of human history to have been erected upon an idea.

Classical conservatism, in glaring contrast, has no creeds, for it is not an ideology but, rather, an antidote or response to ideology.

Second, some of those on the alt-left, including and especially some of its most notable representatives, unabashedly concede that they had spent their formative years on the left. More tellingly, they admit that they never abandoned it!

Irving Kristol, the late father of renowned Anti-Trumpist Bill Kristol, is perhaps the most revealing example of this. He accepted the distinction of being “the godfather” of neoconservatism while insisting that the latter had nothing to do with traditional conservatism or any other rightist movement.

Unlike traditional conservatives, neoconservatives embrace “the welfare state,” i.e. “social security, unemployment insurance, some form of national health insurance, some kind of family assistance plan, etc.”, and it will not hesitate “to interfere with the market for overriding social purposes [.]”

Kristol underscores the point that neoconservatives don’t want to “destroy the welfare state, but…rather reconstruct it along more economical and humane lines.”

Neoconservatives are enthusiastic proponents of American Exceptionalism. Kristol insists that the United States is “a creedal nation” with a “‘civilizing mission’” to promote “American values” throughout the world. Given its status as a “great power” and its “ideological” nature, America, Kristol informs us, does indeed have a responsibility, “in those places and at those times where conditions permit” it “to flourish,” to “‘make the world safe for democracy.”

Nathan Glazer is another neoconservative who goes so far as to suggest that neocons are essentially socialists. “It’s very hard for us [neocons and socialists] to define what it is that divides us, in any centrally principled way.”

The original neoconservatives were leftists for whom the rest of the left in the 1960’s and ‘70’s drifted too far leftward. This, though, most certainly doesn’t mean that the neocons moved rightward. They did not. The alt-left clung to both the abstract rationalistic philosophical underpinnings of its globalist, progressivist vision and the kinds of domestic and foreign policy prescriptions typical of that vision. As Glazer says, while in some instances there may be disagreement over “the details or the scope of health insurance plans,” “the level of taxation that should be imposed upon corporations,” or “how much should be going into social security,” there doesn’t appear to be any “principles that separate us.”

Those white-hot frustrations of grass-roots conservative and Republican voters who have turned to Trump in record numbers have been building for years. They stem from the fact that while these voters believed that they were throwing their support behind a conservative or right-leaning party, they were in reality supporting the alt-left, a movement that differs, when it differs, from the hard social Democrat left only in degree, never in kind.

That there is an alt-left that millions have been led to confuse with conservatism also explains how and why it is that there is a NeverTrump movement, a movement comprised exclusively of those who for decades tirelessly advanced the GOP and “the conservative movement.” The alt-left recognizes that it shares more in common with Hillary Clinton and her party than it shares with Trump: mass Third World immigration, globalist trade policies, the promotion of multinational corporations, and militaristic crusades for exporting Democracy to the four corners of the Earth have proven to be things on which the alt-left and the mainstream left have never stopped agreeing upon.

More on the alt-left will be said in the near future. The point of this article was to establish that there is indeed an alt-left that is far more powerful and influential than any alleged alt-right.

Since Hillary Clinton made her speech regarding the so-called “alt-right,” there has been much effort on the part of some media observers to define this enigmatic phenomenon.

Some, however, like “conservative” pundit Jonah Goldberg, aren’t so curious. At bottom, Goldberg recently assured radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt, the “alt-right” is nothing more or less than but another manifestation of “racism.”

The “alt-right” consists of people who, in spite of whatever other differences they may have, “agree…that white culture is inherently superior” and that there should be “no race mixing with the lower brown people.”

Both Hewitt and Goldberg insist that the “alt-right”—people like “leading racist” Jared Taylor and those who write for Peter Brimelow’s “supremacist” site, Vdare.com—must be driven from “the conservative movement” and “the Republican Party.”

Some comments:

(1)The very notion that there is some definable entity that can be neatly packaged with the label “alt-right” is itself suspect. There is more than one reason for this verdict:

For starters, and most fundamentally, there can be an alternative right only if there is a right to which it is an alternative. The conventional left/right paradigm of American politics aside, the existence of the so-called “alt-right” is made possible by the fact that, in the judgment of many, there is no genuine right.

Or, to put this point another way, from the perspective of those who reject it, the (GOP-based) “right” is actually an alt-left, but a milder (and sometimes not so mild) variation of the internationalist, progressive left.

Furthermore, if anyone who rejects the GOP from its right can be considered “alt-right,” then the latter—which would include certain sorts of libertarians and anarchists, Roman Catholic traditionalists, classical and “paleo” conservatives, as well as “race realists”—is much more intellectually and ideologically diverse, and much more difficult to define, than what the Goldbergs and Hewitts would have us think.

(2)For as much as they fantasize about it, the hard truth for the Goldbergs and Hewitts is that there can’t be a Buckleyesque “purging” of the “alt-right” from the “conservative movement” and Republican Party if, as is the case, adherents of the “alt-right” do not belong to either of these things. As was said above, many of those described, or self-described, as “alt-right” regard the GOP and the “conservative movement” as constituting an alt-left and, as such, an object of contempt.

(3)Further proof that neoconservatism is indeed a species of leftism is the Pavlovian propensity of its proponents to appropriate the standard operating procedure of the left by smearing anyone to their right as “racist.” When, for example, as principled a defender of ordered, Constitutional liberty as Ron Paul indicated a threat to the political fortunes of their presidential candidates back in 2011, Goldberg was among those who spilled ink analyzing the “relationship” between Paul and “the racists, anti-Semites and neo-Nazis in his coalition [.]”

So, their strategy to brand those to their right with the “R-word” is revealing as to who and what the neocons really are. Yet it’s also ironic.

As anyone who has read my work knows, it is not my habit to level charges of “racism.” In fact, I put the very concept into question. Still, as long as Goldberg, Hewitt, and other neocons insist upon villainizing the Jared Taylors of the “alt-right” by branding them as “racist” for their words, they expose themselves that much more to the same charge: After all, it is neoconservatives, and Goldberg and Hewitt specifically, who pushed for the exportation of “Democracy” to the Middle East (and beyond).

Thus, it is neoconservatives who were the most stalwart advocates of the invasion of Iraq, an event that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people of color. The Iraq Body Count Project found that anywhere between 112,000 and 123,000 of those killed between 2003 and 2013 were civilian noncombatants, many of whom were women and children.

To this day, Iraq remains a bastion for ISIS. Ancient Christian communities in Iraq have been eradicated courtesy of this war, and the entire region has been radically destabilized. As long ago as 2006, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees stated that over three million Iraqis had been displaced, with 1.8 million fleeing to other countries and 1.6 million being forced to relocate internally. By the following year, with nearly four million Iraqis homeless, Iraq produced a larger number of refugees than produced by any country on Earth.

In 2012, UNICEF published a report in which it declared that between 800,000 and a million Iraqi children—about five percent of all of the country’s kids—had lost one or both parents.

The neocons who now sound outraged over an “alt-righter” claiming to value “white [European/Western] culture” still sleep comfortably in spite of having deployed the resources of this same culture—including its men, many of whom themselves became cannon fodder—to the end of decimating the homeland of just those “lower brown people” who Goldberg criticizes the “alt-right” for allegedly not wanting to “mix with [.]”

Well, Jonah, if only you and yours didn’t want to mix with these same poor creatures—if not for your “racism,” your blood curdling, blood thirsty, homicidal “racism”—a country and its families wouldn’t be in ruins and littered with the corpses of people of color.

Jesus summed up the moral of this story best: With their charges of “racism,” the neocons strain out the gnat while letting in the camel.

Tim Wise is a white “antiracist” and crusader for “social justice.”

Recently, in an interview that he gave to Salon, Wise brought his “expertise” on race to bear upon the Trump phenomenon.

Donald Trump, he claims, exploited the “market for white resentment [.]”

Trump’s supporters, Wise assures us, are “crazy, bigoted, misogynistic” and “racist.” Moreover, they suffer from a “fragile masculinity” that’s threatened by the prospect of “pluralism,” of having to “share space” with those who aren’t white, Christian, heterosexual men.

To these folks, Wise bluntly states, “there’s a part of me that wants to say, ‘Fuck you.’” He admits to wanting to tell them: “I want your America to die, and I want you to be sad tomorrow, and I want you to deal with the fact painfully that your country is gone. And I don’t care because your country, as you conceived it, deserved to die.”

First of all, the only arguments that Wise makes here are the argument ad hominem and begging the question, arguments that are as psychologically, emotionally, and politically satisfying as they are logically fallacious. Wise blasts Trump’s white male supporters with the most radioactive of insults—“racist,” “bigoted,” etc.—while assuming that the resentment, the “white resentment,” that he attributes to them is unjustified. Yet this is exactly what needs to be shown.

Second, words like “racist,” “misogynistic,” are associative and affective, not logical or rational. Take “racism.” For something that functions as the political-moral equivalent of a nuclear bomb, the deadliest of all weapons of mass destruction, “racism” is used in wildly disparate contexts. It has been used to describe both Hitler’s policy of mass extermination of Jews and, most recently, Ellen DeGeneres’ posting of a Usain Bolt meme. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Simon Legree and Paula Deen, the Ku Klux Klan and “capitalism,” are all “racist.”

Precisely because murder is universally recognized as the egregious offense that it is, very specific criteria must be met before a person can be found guilty of it. Moreover, it is the accuser upon whom the burden of proof rests. If “murder” was employed as variously as is “racism,” we would all be murderers. But if “murder” could mean all things to all people, it ultimately would wind up meaning nothing.

This, though, is the fate that “antiracists” like Wise have visited upon their bread and butter, the word “racism.” All that people know is that to be accused of “racism” is to be accused of something awful. As to what, exactly, this thing is, no one knows.

Third, if, as Wise contends, there really are millions of resentful whites, it remains an open question as to whether their resentment is justified. When we are not engaging in politics, everyone understands that resentment is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, upon hearing that a person has resentment toward, say, her husband or her parents, the average person, far from dismissing it or writing it off as a function of wickedness on the part of the resentful individual, will suppose that there is probably some warrant for the resentment.

Yet when it comes to talking about the resentment, or anger, of white men, the kind of sensible thinking that pervades non-political, everyday life yields to the hyper-emotionality—and bad faith—reflected in Wise’s remarks.

Fourth, if whites generally, and white men in particular, are resentful, could it be that they are resentful toward people like Tim Wise? Perhaps white men resent the campaign of demonization that the merchants of the Racism-Industrial-Complex (RIC) have been waging against them for decades? Maybe, just maybe, they’re resentful toward those who would reduce their concerns for the well-being of their families, their concerns over crime, dangerous schools, terrorism, and illegal immigration to expressions of raw hatred? Maybe they’re resentful over the fact that the agents of Big Racism, ideologues like Wise, tirelessly objectify them as non-persons by meeting their objections to “affirmative action” and other racial double-standards with, not just insults, but aspersions—like “racist”—that have the potential to spell the professional and social ruination for those at whom they’re aimed?

Fifth, his self-description notwithstanding, Wise and his ilk are not “antiracists.” They are anti-white. More specifically, they are anti-white male. If Wise and company truly were “antiracists,” then they would speak out against the phenomenon of black racial animus, for blacks are exponentially more likely than are those of any other racial group to engage in interracial violence.

In 2013, 85% of the 660,000 instances of interracial violence between blacks and whites involved black perpetrators and white victims.

While it’s standard operating procedure for “antiracists” like Wise to dismiss this inconvenient fact by noting that blacks, who comprise a significantly smaller percentage of the population than whites, are much more likely to have “chance” encounters with whites than vice versa, this line falls flat once it is realized that blacks attack Hispanics only slightly less often than they attack whites: Of the 256,074 acts of interracial violence between these two groups, blacks were the perpetrators 82.5% of the time.

From Wise, however, we hear not a peep.

Finally, more evidence—proof, really—that Wise is more anti-white than anything else is that he admits to indulging in genocidal fantasies regarding “white America” (or what, until recently, was known simply as “America”). For some of us, this confirms what we’ve long suspected, that invocations of “Equality” and “pluralism” and the like—moral notions that originated in Western (white) civilization—constitute a smokescreen behind which “antiracists” and others seek to wage a kind of cold war against whites and white men. It’s not that Wise (I have to believe) wishes to see anyone literally killed. This war, rather, is a war to dismantle a culture, to demoralize, to shame. Politics is war by other means, and this is the war that “antiracists” and “social justice” crusaders have been in the process of waging for at least a half-of-a-century.

Ultimately, Wise’s remarks regarding supporters of Donald Trump have nothing to do with either Trump or his supporters. They are revealing for his views on straight white Christian men, for these are the views that Wise has been pedaling well before Trump entered the political arena.

Make no mistakes, leftists like Wise oppose Trump not primarily because of his policy prescriptions, and not even because of the callousness with which Trump has spoken. Wise and his fellow travelers don’t even necessarily oppose Trump as a person or candidate.

Rather, they oppose what they think Trump symbolizes: The America that Tim Wise believes has long “deserved to die.”

 

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