Disclaimer: In my attempt to thoroughly survey and present the following, I do not mean to imply that I support the positions therein. While there are some positions I agree with completely, there are plenty of positions I do not agree with at all. This is not a piece on my personal feelings or beliefs regarding it. This is only a modest attempt to clarify and differentiate the subjects for those interested. I am no expert. I have no authority. I am not a part of any political organization or party. This is strictly based upon my own personal studying and observations. Thank you.
In its most succinct, in the fewest words, the Alt Right could be best defined as “an American counterpart to the European New Right or an Americanized version of Identitiarianism.” It particularly emphasizes anti-globalist, pro-nationalist, and populist positions.
What is the Alt Right? Only within the past year has it entered into mainstream discourse. There have been numerous major news sources that have attempted to explain it, usually resulting in an incoherent mess or a knee-jerk condemnation. The ‘Alt Right’ has been around for decades, and I presume with the rise of Trump, the escalation of ‘SJW’ campus activism, and the general ‘trolling’ seen on Facebook, /pol/, ‘frogtwitter’ is what led to gaining more attention (for better or worse).
A major misconception is the ‘Alt Right’ is a collective ideology or a collective set of positions. It is not. It is merely an umbrella term to generally speak about any politically rightist ideology that is not the Republican Party/GOP, and is typically not the Libertarian Party either. It is indeed a catch-all term for ‘alternative’ rightist ideologies that are on the fringe and does not lie within average American political discourse. At best, the American ‘Alt Right’ is a hodgepodge of other rightist ideologies mixed with internet culture and lingo. At worst, it can be considered the ‘low brow’ American style of the more educated European New Right. It is not something to be addressed properly, rather a mishmash to be dissected to better understand.
For the sake of discussion I will dissect this umbrella term, differentiating the specifically American ‘Alt Right’ style as well as the more established schools of thought associated with it.
European New Right: In its broadest and most developed form, the ‘alt right’ is a derivative of the European New Right. This is a label used to describe far right and nationalist ideologies/parties which differ from region to region, or country to country. It rejects both communism and capitalism, instead aspiring to either a third alternative or a return to a previous traditional form of rule is considered. It differs largely from the American Right ie GOP/Republicanism in that it rejects crony corporate capitalism, interventionism, ‘bootstrap’ individualism, and ‘market-revering’ classical liberal values. Both communism and capitalism are children of the Enlightenment, or rather children of classical liberalism, and the European New Right is at times illiberal in that it questions and reassesses these Enlightenment values as they have been distorted today, while reaffirming its original meaning. Socialism is on the table for consideration, but not the wholesale adoption of Marxism. It questions and at times may reject totalitarian secularism, cosmopolitanism, globalism, egalitarianism, humanitarianism, neoliberalism, free market, unchecked immigration etc. It may advocate state sovereignty, hierarchy, tradition, moderate secularism, religion, nationalism, realpolitik, ethnocentrism, stringent immigration policy or anti-immigration, non-interventionism etc. In short, a nation’s people comes first and foremost in priority, that is the sole purpose of a nation is its people. A common example of the European New Right is the ‘National Front’ party of France, Aleksandr Dugin and the Fourth Political Theory is also a unique example though Dugin would not consider himself such, nor would his supporters. Another example is UKIP of the UK and the famous Nigel Farage, known most recently due to ‘Brexit’. For Note: throughout there are elements of antisimitism, racism, and anti-LGBT but this absolutely must be judged situation by situation and cannot be blanketly stated as being true for all or the whole. Race realism and White Nationalism is none too popular within the European New Right, despite what detractors may say. Acknowledging nuances is vital.
notable figures worth reading: Carl Schmitt, Oswald Spengler, Ernst Jünger, Nietzsche, Hiedegger, Alain de Benoist, Tomislav Sunic, Dominique Venner, Anthony Ludovici, Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Marine Le Pen, Nigel Farage
-Found within the above or overlapping-
Nouvelle Droit: essentially the ‘New Right’ of France. Primarily influence by Alain de Benoist, whom founded the thinktank GRECE. It does not see itself as a political party or political force, rather as a school of thought, both culturally and in political theory. It advocates the rejection of Christianity, of monotheism, of neoliberalism/globalism, and explores the application of Pagan values. This is not as a religious practice, rather as a philosophy or approach to existence, a reevaluation of how we evaluate. Although called the Nouvelle Droit, it is not strictly of the political right as it also includes and discusses leftist ideology as well. Rather it ceases to rise above the two, or to synthesize, to create new altogether.
Traditionalism: simply put, this is the denouncement of modernism, not for the sake of ‘going back’, rather of bringing culture to be once again in-tune with exoteric traditionalist ideals. Figuritively speaking these are those whom believe the French Revolution was a total mistake, a travesty, and ‘liberty, equality, eternity’ is to be rejected altogether. Typically they advocate an absolute monarchy, a return to Christendom, or a form of aristocracy. A perfect example of this position is Joseph de Maistre, a merciless advocate of monarchism and condemner of the Revolution, or the revered Nicolás Gómez Dávila. Most traditionalists of this nature tend to be either Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. While they probably differ from other forms within the European New Right, they fall within the category.
Radical/Esoteric Traditionalism (also known as Perennialism): A unique and fascinating subsect is ‘Radical Traditionalism’, though this is a slight misnomer using the word radical. Individuals vary. In short, it is the emphasis of ‘capital’ T Tradition, rather than ‘small t’ tradition of the above. Therefore Traditionalism or Perennialism is a more accurate term. In short, this is the return to esoteric Tradition, that is the Perrenial Truth which multiple religions spring from. Some are universalists regarding this, others are not. It is said mankind is certainly in the ‘Kali Yuga’, a dark age of spirituality, in other words, the mundane/man is currently divorced from the transcendent. In context of Plato, we are completely divorced and ignorant to the Realm of Forms. The ‘Kali Yuga’ is as much a mental/spiritual mindstate as it is a cosmic period. One that is purely materialist, quantified, egocentric, inverted, and vice-driven. Few who adhere to Esoteric Traditionalism are actively involved in politics, inspired by the detachment of Nietzsche or Evola. Nonetheless it is a common current or overlap with the European New Right at times, and is worth studying simply due to its powerful content and depth. There is also a particular reverence to Eastern teachings such as Buddhism and Hinduism, also an emphasis on Hindu Nationalism.
notable figures worth reading: Julius Evola, René Guénon, Nietzsche, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Mircea Eliade, Frithjof Schuon, Savitri Devi,Titus Burkhardt, Hossein Nasr, Gwendolyn Taunton, Algis Uždavinys
Deep Ecology: Think environmentalism is strictly a ‘lefty hippie matter’? While ‘deep ecology’ may have not originally been seen as rightist, it has become increasingly so. It acknowledges human life as simply another form of life, no higher than other forms, calls for a complete restructuring of civilization. Probably closest to or overlapping with anarcho-primitivism in political aspiration. What makes it right-inclined is its inherent antihumanist and indifferent temperament. One particular figure is the radical Finnish ecologist Pentti Linkola, whom has stated some fairly indifferent and brutal remarks about humans. Another would be Ted Kaczynski, also known as the ‘Unabomber’, whom despite his brilliance and fascinating manifesto took a violent turn. And his intellectual peer John Zerzan, whom still writes on the topic extensively. Looking to the past there is Savitri Devi, both a Hindu Nationalist and Nazi-sympathizer, wrote brilliantly scolding how man treated animal life, also advocating a restructuring of society to better adhere to nature. In film as well one can find similar positions, Wernor Herzog is a fan among the alternative right for acknowledging nature’s inherent indifference and the natural hierarchy or natural savagery found in nature. In his films a man’s ego is taken to godlike proportions only to be destroyed, and in his documentary-style films he thoroughly appreciates indigenous peoples despite them being eradicated by supposed ‘technological progress’, or in another a man who attempts to anthropomorphise bears as being loveable kin faces the inevitably indifference of nature. In conclusion, deep ecologists do not take the ‘bleeding heart’ approach to environmentalism, rather they acknowledge the indifference of nature, the pompousness of man, and realize man is simply another creature.
A Relative or American ‘younger sibling’ of the Above
The ‘American’ Alt Right: It has only been recently with the rise of Trump with his slightly nationalist and anti-globalist themes have we seen the American ‘alt right’ receive mainstream attention. Before then the American Alt Right kept to subterranean dens like /pol/ on 4chan, and other similar websites. I will divide the ‘American Alt Right’ into three categories to better dissect this hodgepodge of a community.
The anti-SJW /pol/ ‘Red Pill’ ‘Frogtwitter/Hatetwitter’ Trolls: These types are probably the loudest, funniest, and often times obnoxious of the bunch. Whether discussing the ill effects of ‘cultural marxism’ or engineering the next big meme. Lately they have received national attention due to their guerilla tactics against the SJW (the highly PC univ campus/tumblr users, dubbed ‘social justice warriors’). The /pol/ use the internet, specifically memes and trolling, to keep the SJW in check. This has resulted in the recent Leslie Jones twitter bullying and other like occurrences. It is no mystery that many have become fans of Trump due to his own forthright and controversial behavior. Many of them do hold positions derivative of the European New Right, though it greatly varies as to how much of it is an educated opinion and how much of it is conspiracy theory or Youtube drivel. Whenever mainstream news (also dubbed ‘normies’) attempt to write about or understand the American Alt Right, this is who they end up discussing, and in typical knee-jerk reaction go on a panic spiel about how terribly vile and racist they are. While that element does exist, the nature of /pol/ or ‘hatetwitter’ is to be offensive or humorous or both. It is as much a strategy or tactic as it is sending a message.
The genuinely educated: there are Americans who have read and admired European New Right figures and material, taken it into consideration regarding their position as an American citizen, and have applied/adapted it to American politics. There are also those inspired by the former intellectual countercultural movement known as ‘Neoreactionism’ (NRx for short), primarily led by Moldbug and Nick Land; emphasizing race realism, realpolitik, natural hierarchy, and a rejection of postmodernism. One could conclude that the American Alt Right is a collaboration of European New Right influence, Neoreactionist influence, White Nationalism, and Paleoconservatism. It differs in opinion as to which has been the greater influence. Only with Trump have we seen a surge of hope, a hope in which some thought Trump could be the next ‘Nigel Farage’ or ‘Marine Le Pen’. While that is looking unlikely, Trump has at least shifted the Overton Window to allow such a candidate to possibly rise in the future. He has merely become a means in a longer view.
There are few other political figures similar, but two I would note as examples. One popular American political figure which could be said to embody some such factors are Pat Buchanan or Paul Gottfried, particularly that of Paleoconservatism. Also the younger political figure running for office currently that also shows that the European New Right can be adapted within the American context, that being Augustus Invictus of Florida. There is also an annual event and publication, for better or worse, opinions widely differ, called ‘American Renaissance’, led and founded by Jared Taylor. (I must admit I have met as many in the ‘alt right’ who hate this event as much as support it. Many feel it only purports the worst details of said ideologies) One prominent and specifically American Alt Right intellectual is Richard Spencer, supposedly the one who coined the term ‘Alternative Right’. He is worthy of mention due to his lifetime of political publication and intellectual merit, even if one disagrees with his positions. Again keep in mind individuals differ largely in this political spectrum. The above range from simple Paleoconservatism, to Civic Nationalism to purist White Nationalism or Identitarianism.
Some are far more open to race realism while others disagree altogether, some may be devout Catholics, while others may be total atheists or folk pagans.
Overall the primary themes remain: anti-globalism, pro-nationalism, race realism, populism, stringent on immigration, against crony corporate capitalism, pro-hierarchy, against interventionist politics, in short, the exact opposite of everything neoliberalism stands for.
The Undesirable Element: By this I mean the usual ‘boogyman’ that liberals go after immediately. The Neonazis, the KKK, the Christian Identity, etc. In truth they do not have near the power the liberal left pretend that they have. Even among the ‘American Alt Right’, and particularly to the European New Right which do not acknowledge their existence nor should they, these ‘extremist hate groups’ are the low-brow, uneducated, and daresay unrefined ‘knuckle dragging’ which only serve to poison and counter any serious ‘Alt Right’ efforts. They have done more harm to rightist ideologies by simply existing. They are typically the ones the liberal left attack first and use an example first. It is no mystery why David Duke has been mentioned numerous times lately. I admit this does not sound neutral of me, but this is what I have observed from the bulk of rightist advocates, and I wholeheartedly agree.
In conclusion, the ‘American Alt Right’ is a ‘younger brother’ American counterpart to the European New Right, though still decidingly American. It is an alternative to both communist/egalitarian direction and capitalist/market/neoliberal direction. It opposes the corporate greed, materialism, and Neocon interventionism that the GOP has practiced. It also rejects the radical multiculturalism, globalism, and neoliberalism that the Democratic Party fully supports. The American Alt Right is still in development, is not a collective whole in ideology, and is a budding political movement that may take decades to reach maturation. I hope this brief guide helped answer questions and sate curiosity. It is much better to comprehend a political position than to immediately condemn it. Only through unrestrained discourse, the freedom to question and discuss any subject, can we develop ourselves as a society.
*parts have been edited based upon feedback I have received. thanks.