Initially, it was quite difficult to make any sense of what this movement might be. It seemed to only repeat a previous 1980’s situation, where ‘movement’ conservatism opposes itself to non-conservatism, i.e. the radicalism of anti-Catholic and anti-middle-class American Zionism.
What had occurred earlier, after Reagan, had been a situation where many conservatives had begun to say the Republican Party was not any longer run by conservatives, but rather by ‘neoconservatives.’ With time, the idea of ‘neoconservative’ took on a very specific meaning, referring to people who called themselves ‘conservatives’ while suggesting, national borders were not a normal part of conservative tradition. Matters were only made worse by an additional feature of the ‘new’ neoconservatives: all these neoconservatives were greatly in favour of the State of Israel and in U.S. efforts to support that Mideast state. So, originally a ‘neoconservative’ was something like a recent, moderate convert to ‘conservatism’ – i.e., to the thinking of pro-free market types, of Burke, of Russell Kirk, etc. – but by the end of the 1980’s the term meant: a proponent of mass immigration from the developing world and a staunch ally of Israel, who nonetheless did not feel at home in the Democrat Party.
Ordinary and humdrum conservatives, believing in common sense and Catholicism, a good dose of markets and Burke, etc., felt themselves totally exiled from the Republican Party and its ‘neoconservatives.’ For some reason, many of them then began calling themselves ‘paleoconservatives,’ i.e. the old conservatives, not the new. However, despite this fancy label, the ideas defended were as boring and traditional as possible, straightforward Tory thinking, and nothing radical at all. Nonetheless, soon it is seen as appropriate to begin to suggest ideas along the lines of ‘Tories are “alt right”, and normal conservative Republicans think it is fine and good to allow demographic catastrophe to happen.’ In other words, it is now said to be somehow ‘radical’ to imagine, reducing the former majority ethnic group to minority status, might be socially disruptive.
So, what has occurred, is that an idea, which is just a simple idea of ‘conservatism,’ as expounded at length by Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk, is soon no longer allowed to be left at that, but must be called new things, such as ‘paleoconservative,’ ‘alt right,’ etc. There is a fraud shift of labels, allowing the installations of policies and cultures traditionally at home only in Communist parties, as normal for GOP, etc. The anti-Communist ideas, are exiled to ‘the fever swamps.’ The half-Communists, now call themselves ‘mainstream conservatism.’ Etc. At the same time, it is not entirely a victory for the far-left, as indeed, only some Leftist ideas are inserted into the Republican DNA: definitely no ideas that have anything to do, with restraining the power of the ultra-wealthy!
The ‘alt right’ carries over many ideas of historic conservatism, and re-announces the ‘paleoconservative’ disdain for the fraud of neoconservatism. Regardless, in terms of how the term ‘alt right’ is typically used, it seems to be more specifically a question of a social network revolving around the far-right American figure, Richard Spencer. It can be difficult to separate alt right thinking from Spencerism. My investigation of this Spencer does not place him as a ‘neo-Nazi,’ but as coming out of the Ku Klux Klan movements of the American South. Likewise, less than there being a new alt right ‘philosophy,’ Spencer is more of a street fighter and activist, who relies on what went before him, e.g. Friedrich Nietzsche, Julius Evola, Alain De Benoist, Francois Duprat, Jared Taylor, Patrick Buchanan, Thomas Fleming, etc. Spencer has his ‘philosophy,’ which seems somewhat Nietzschean and also biological-reductionist and Darwinian, but largely he is a kind of specialist in media relations, fulminating for his own brand of white nationalism. There is a significant amount of anti-Semitic content via Spencer’s praise for Kevin MacDonald.
‘The Alternative Right, commonly known as the Alt-Right, is a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that “white identity” is under attack by multicultural forces using “political correctness” and “social justice” to undermine white people and “their” civilization. Characterized by heavy use of social media and online memes, Alt-Righters eschew “establishment” conservatism, skew young, and embrace white ethno-nationalism as a fundamental value.’ –Southern Poverty Law Institute
I will further add: ‘The Alternative Right blames Jews as principle agents of “social justice” ideologies tied to mass immigration from the developing world, and in general tends to cast Jews as the cause of otherwise-inexplicable, negative social phenomena, e.g. supposed media bias against conservative politics.’
Conservatism is one thing, and the ‘alt right,’ something else. The second label is somewhat up for grabs but it seems now heavily tied to Spencerism. The media has a tendency to label conservatism, as ‘alt right,’ and neoconservatism, as ‘conservatism.’ Conservatism shares with the alt right, an interest in border control and some normal ideas of national interest, but further has many differences, most notably in that postwar period conservatives have tended to try to hide their anti-Semitism – and now many so-called ‘conservatives’ are not even anti-Semitic with which to begin. Likewise, neoconservatism shares very little with either the alt right or conservatism, excepting a (supposed) rejection of ‘hard Left’ economics.
LINKS: ‘How Neoconservatives Conquered Washington – and Launched a War’ by Michael Lind, 2003, http://www.antiwar.com/orig/lind1.html , provides some background on neoconservative Zionism. ‘AVOIDING THE ISSUE,’ Lawrence Auster, National Review, February 21, 1994, provides some information on the open borders side of the equation. ‘Among the Neocons,’ by Scott McConnel, in the American Conservative, April 21, 2003, provides a more synthetic treatment: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/among-the-neocons/