What is the Alt Right?

A pseudo-zoological classification.

I have been thinking about how to define and distinguish the Alt Right from the non-Alt Right Far Right (NARFR).  It is easy enough to say about the Alt Right – “I know it when I see it” but that is not a very rigorous analysis (even if it is true).  I suppose I could make a list of those things in which my views and style differ from the Alt Right, but then that same list would apply to much of the NARFR as well.  It may be that the differences between the Alt Right and NANFR are mostly that of emphasis and of style, rather than being sharply disjunctive differences in fundamental ideology.  A few initial thoughts.

The “game” manosphere element is more or less a characteristic of the Alt Right, as is the linkages to Alt Lite civic nationalism, even if these are indirect.  The Alt Right has, in enhanced form, many “movement” weaknesses: a piss-poor understanding of science combined with an embrace of pseudoscience and gnostic traditionalism, the Man on White Horse Syndrome, all typical fossilized “movement” dogmas and fetishes, etc.

Let’s now take a look at what Hunter Wallace – now a writer for AltRight.com – has to say on the issue (in all cases, emphasis added).

First here.

The Alt-Right through its links to Gamergate and the Manosphere grasped the importance of memes, swarming social media, particularly Twitter, to discourse poison or push a Narrative. The Alt-Right moved and planted its flag on Twitter and learned how to roll with the news cycle. In contrast, Southern Nationalists retreated further into their own bubble and away from their audience. Southern Nationalists were becoming more militant, more open to violence, more alienated and thus more divided during this same period. The Alt-Right understood the appeal of being edgy, having fun, and smashing taboos to a younger audience. Southern Nationalists were becoming more dour, pessimistic, and angry. Overall, they were in a really sour mood, and that had a negative impact on the movement.
For the Alt-Right, the most striking development of 2016 was the rise of the Alt-Lite brands

So: An emphasis on juvenile jackassery (“being edgy, having fun, and smashing taboos to a younger audience”), social media, and a proneness to edge in the direction of moderation.   NANFR would never have become entangled with the Alt Lite (but to be fair, it did get entangled, and deeply, with the Alt Wrong).

And now, see here.

If you were “Alternative Right,” it meant you were not a George W. Bush supporting mainstream conservative. Instead, it meant you were reading a bunch of rightwing sites like Liberty Forum, VDARE, Lew Rockwell.com, Antiwar.com, Takimag, American Renaissance, etc. You were constructing, participating in and consuming a discourse of unorthodox rightwing ideas.
When I first discovered Richard Spencer, it seemed like everyone at Takimag was backing the Ron Paul presidential campaign. A ton of people who were Alt-Right or White Nationalists voted for and supported Ron Paul.

Ron Paul – the “sound money for brown people” candidate.  Here we see other characteristics of the Alt Right on display: ideologically shallow, moderate, prone to the same “Man on White Horse” stupidity afflicting Der Movement as whole.  In one sense, focusing on the moderating influences and lack of intellectual heft and ideological commitment in the Alt Right, one can say that the Alt Right is to NANFR what the Alt Lite is to the Alt Right.

To summarize: The Alt Right is a callow, superficial, moderate, intellectually and ideologically shallow version of pro-White activism; lacking seriousness and depth; oriented toward millennial snark, trolling, and social media; taking breathless excitement over discovering “rightist” truths that the rest of us knew long ago and which to a large extent are nothing more than plain fact and common sense; marked weakness with respect to science and other forms of empirical thought; prizing style over substance; and prone to exhibit, often in an enhanced form, all of the fossilized dogma, bizarre fetishes, and poor judgment of the “movement” as a whole.