I’ve said that I would vote for Donald Trump – not because I’m voting for him (he’s an idiot and not a conservative) nor because I’m voting against Hillary (I don’t buy the Lesser of Two Evils argument – don’t vote for either evil, no one is forcing you to vote). Rather I would vote for him just to piss off the John Olivers, Samantha Bees, Amy Schumers and all the other despicable condescending artistic and media elites, the Virtuous Ones that are always lecturing the rest of us on what defines a good and intelligent person and a proper world view. Anything that ruins their day, their week or their lives has some merit for me personally. Not a good or mature reason to vote for a despicable candidate, but a reason nonetheless.
That said, Donald Trump is an incredibly narcissistic and selfish individual jeopardizing conservatism for decades going forward. He has clearly conceded he’s going to lose the election and is now by saying all sorts of idiotic crap positioning himself for Trump TV post-election, where he can gather all the Alt-Right people from Breitbart and Info Wars and other unprincipled right-wing populist centres and, for a good amount of money, tell them they were screwed out of the election, the election was rigged, the media, Hollywood, everyone is against them. There’s a good amount of anger there to be tapped into. But he’s essentially pouring the gasoline that someone else is going to come along and light.
What is the Alt-Right, Trump’s base of support in this election?
Over the past 50 years the narrative has arisen that conservativism is a white male belief system. It’s not – it’s a belief in limited and rational government, a proper balance between freedom, security and the protection of minority rights, and a belief that only a stable society can be prosperous, hence why traditional institutions such as the family and church/synagogue/mosque and traditional values need to be protected and changed slowly and with great care, otherwise we risk destabilizing vulnerable segments of society. These beliefs have nothing to do with race or ethnicity.
But the western Left over the past 50 years has adopted the embrace of multi-culturalism as one of its Virtues, and as immigration from non-white countries has increased significantly the right has evolved the position that immigration needs to be more controlled if assimilation and the melting-pot ideas are being discarded. The position has legitimate roots in concerns about balance and stability with respect to economic impacts and social integration, but let’s be honest there was and still is a racist component in some resistance to immigration. At one time Italians, Ukrainians and Serbs were the unwanted immigrants, but over time they’ve all assimilated. Now it’s Arabs, Pakistanis and Hispanics. No doubt these are harder groups to integrate into a pluralist secular society and they bring additional questions of compatibility.
But what the Left did by adopting multi-culturalism along with open immigration at a time when demographically white people were having fewer and fewer children was allow them to say, “See those people on the right over there? They believe in certain things. But one thing they don’t believe in is you or your culture. If they’d had their way you may never have been allowed to come here.” And hence the Left successfully made it extremely difficult for conservatives to recruit from minority groups. This failure to recruit minorities only reinforced the idea that conservatives are white (and male). It’s a cycle that is hard to escape from.
This gives rise to the Alt-Right. The Alt-Right is a fundamentalist movement. The Alt-Right has essentially let the Left define them and steered them into an essentially non-conservative belief system – Fine! If you think that that’s what the right is about, that’s what it will be about ! The future is in our past and a return to a white European ethno-centrist value system that was the basis upon which the West and America was built! Make America Great Again! It’s not racist per se, they don’t preclude any race or ethnicity from joining the Alt-Right, but what they demand is an acknowledgement that white European ideals created our society and our decline is the result of non-stop attacks on and a dilution of those ideals from leftist traitors and immigrants with incompatible value systems. There is merit in the argument, but it is a backwards looking world view that is doomed to failure.
Again and again I come back to Steven Pressfield’s description of fundamentalism from the War of Art. It is succinct and brilliantly accurate. Following is from the book (bolding of words is mine);
Fundamentalism is the philosophy of the powerless, the conquered, the displaced and the dispossessed. Its spawning ground is the wreckage of political and military defeat, as Hebrew fundamentalism arose during the Babylonian captivity, as white Christian fundamentalism appeared in the American South during Reconstruction, as the notion of the Master Race evolved in Germany following World War I. In such desperate times, the vanquished race would perish without a doctrine that restored hope and pride. Islamic fundamentalism ascends from the same landscape of despair and possesses the same tremendous and potent appeal.
What exactly is this despair? It is the despair of freedom. The dislocation and emasculation experienced by the individual cut free from the familiar and comforting structures of the tribe and the clan, the village and the family.
It is the state of modern life.
The fundamentalists (or, more accurately, the beleaguered individual who comes to embrace fundamentalism) cannot stand freedom. He cannot find his way into the future, so he retreats to the past. He returns in imagination to the glory days of his race and seeks to reconstitute both of them and himself in their purer, more virtuous light. He gets back to basics. To fundamentals.
But the fundamentalist reserves his greatest creativity for the fashioning of Satan, the image of his foe, in opposition to which he defines and gives meaning to his own life. Like the artist, the fundamentalist experiences Resistance. He experiences it as temptation to sin. Resistance to the fundamentalist is the call of the Evil one, seeking to seduce him from his virtue. The fundamentalist is consumed with Satan, whom he loves as he loves death. Is it coincidence that the suicide bombers of the World Trade Center frequented strip clubs during their training, or that they conceived of their reward as a squadron of virgin brides and the license to ravish them in the fleshpots of heaven?….
To combat the call of sin, i.e., Resistance, plunges either into action or into the study of sacred texts. He loses himself in these, much as the artist does in the process of creation. The difference is that while the one looks forward, hoping to create a better world, the other looks backward, seeking to return to a purer world from which he and all have fallen.
I read so many parallels with the Alt-Right in there. They’ve conceded defeat for conservative ideals and as such, want to retreat to a world that can never exist again. The Republican elites have sold us out. Free trade deals are a failure, we need more protectionism. All immigration should not only be halted, but millions actually deported from whence they came. Men should be men, and women be women. You’ve gotten a raw deal. If only we could go back and live in the 1950’s when America was wonderful.
And as such, it is a very dangerous movement. There is a great deal of violence lurking there and we shouldn’t be surprised if it explodes post election. And it will explode if Donald Trump loses (which he will) and he doesn’t tone down his rhetoric in the final weeks. This should and will be every true conservative’s nightmare; the vilification and demonization of all on the right would accelerate 10-fold as we’d all be lumped in with these Alt-Right people and it would take decades to recover. We’d probably only recover once there’s been a Great Collapse and liberal failure is laid bare for all to see, and by then it will be too late.