During the last election campaign all of a sudden I kept hearing about the Alt-Right. Since I thought I was pretty well read and had never heard of them, I considered them to have the same social relevance as a Miley Cyrus song. I decided to investigate this supposed social phenomenon as soon as the election was over and I was done writing about real issues important to the campaign.
I started by sending emails to mainstream Republicans asking them if they knew anyone who considered themselves members of the Alt-Right. The answer was a universal no. Then I sent emails to my friends who consider themselves conservative Republicans. These are people I respect, but I consider a little more hardcore. The answer was again we don't know any of these people.
I did get one positive response suggesting I contact Jon Fleischman, someone I have known for 20 years, who in the past five years or so has been the California editor for Breitbart. I have also written for Jon's publication Flashreport.org.
Jon is Jewish and works for Breitbart which has been accused of being anti-Semitic. Jon is a pretty knowledgeable guy -- doing his own publication and working for Breitbart -- but was totally ignorant about the Alt-Right. I asked him what he knew about Richard Spencer (someone who has gotten recent publicity as supposedly a leader of the Alt-Right) and he said "Who is he?" He then told me that Breitbart has an intercompany communication system called a Slack Network where they exchange ideas about columns and items to be published at Breitbart. He stated "I have never seen once anything indicating any racist or anti-Semitic attitudes, not once."
I did have an extended email conversation with a gentleman, who said he was a member of the Alt-Right. His name is John Preston though he told me that was a pseudonym. He is with the Council of Conservative Citizens. He stated he used a pseudonym (as most of the people he knows do) because a lot of people who are members of the Alt-Right are afraid of employment discrimination and other factors. John was very forthcoming and seemingly intelligent. He wrote in a very lucid manner and stated he has been part of this movement for 15 years. He also made clear he has no idea how many people are in the Alt-Right because so much of it is underground.
When I asked Preston why he believes his viewpoints are controversial and not just anti-PC, he answered with this statement: "We stick up for white people. We believe white people have interests, too. It's a big taboo to hold that position in our society. Jewish people can advocate for Jewish interests like a pro-Israel foreign policy. Black people can advocate for black interests. There is an LGBT community now with its interests and public policy agenda. White people though ... that's where the line is drawn. It's *racist* to identify as white, to have a positive sense of white identity, and to advocate on behalf of white interests like reduced immigration or, say, law and order. There are groups like the SPLC which exist to get people fired from their jobs for holding our views. That's why our cause is controversial and our movement has been driven underground. I'm not sure how much longer that can continue though."
When I asked him about immigration he replied, "It's not because we *hate* foreigners - if they stay in their own countries and act like good neighbors, we are fine with them. I don't have a problem with Mexicans in Mexico. I don't mind foreigners coming here and studying at our universities. Personally, I admire Japan more than any other country in the world."
"It is because we want to maintain the white majority. We don't want to be overwhelmed in our own countries. The cultural, economic and political consequences of mass immigration are disastrous for us. The Left has told us for 20 years now that White Christian America is being overthrown and washed away by their 'ascendant majority.' We take them at their word, believe that it is not in our interests to allow this to happen, and we are determined to stop it."
I will leave that for you the reader to characterize. This is not necessarily representative of all thought from the people who call themselves the Alt-Right. I will say that he is correct that is not acceptable thought in most mainstream circles today. And I will say that I don't agree with his positions.
Yes, it is racially biased toward people of European heritage, and some people believe that they cannot be prejudiced against them because of the historical fact that whites have been the majority in the United States. Some analyses have shown that it will not be long before white people are no longer a majority in America.
I am not going to dismiss the fact that there are bigots and anti-Semites on both sides of the political spectrum in this country. This is a country of about 325 million people and there are a lot of people who believe weird things. There are people who think graffiti is art. There are people who think Rap music has some social redemption. I live with that every day. This is a free country and people are free to think really stupid thoughts as long as they don't act out on those stupid thoughts in a violent manner -- you know, like the "protesters" in Portland.
One political party does everything it can to segregate voters by identity group: Black, Hispanic, Gay, Asian, One-eyed monsters etc. Then those people who dislike those groups will identify naturally with the other political party simply because it doesn't identify potential voters by groups, but simply suggests policy ideas that will hopefully benefit all.
If fringe people identify with the Republicans, then their candidates must spend their day disavowing ever-stupid thing that come out of these people's mouths. And if Republicans don't disavow them quickly enough and with the "right words," the disavowing is discounted. Nice game the Dems and their friends in the press have going here.
I have no idea really who these people in the Alt-Right are and neither do the people I know who have been involved in Republican politics for many years. That includes people who I consider -- and even they themselves would consider -- pretty hardcore conservatives. To me identifying the people who are actually with the Alt-Right with the Republicans is akin to identifying Hillary Clinton with the Communist Party of America who did endorse her.
This is the United States of America; we are either a center-right nation (which I believe we are) or a center-left nation to which we veer occasionally. But extremism has no relevance on the left or the right of this country. So stop trying to pin extremist on either party. It is unbecoming.