White Nationalism, the Alt Right, & the Alt LightGreg Johnson
There is a lot of confusion about the relationship of White Nationalism, the Alt Right, and the so-called Alt Light.
The “Alt Right” is a vague category that encompasses different tendencies of thought united by their rejection of mainstream conservatism. White Nationalism is one such tendency, and the Alt Light is another.
The Alt Light is defined by civic nationalism as opposed to racial nationalism. Whereas White Nationalists believe that true nationhood is defined by race and ethnicity, civic nationalists believe that a nation can be multiracial and multicultural but unified on the basis of common laws and values. It is, in short, a version of the “proposition nation.”
The Alt Light differs from the mainstream of proposition nation conservatives by opposing economic globalization and open borders in favor of nationalism, upholding the superiority of “Western” culture and values, and opposing feminism and political correctness.
It is easy to understand why the various Alt Light figures adopt these positions. Gavin McInnes, for example, is married to an American Indian woman, so obviously he cannot embrace White Nationalism. Milo Yiannopolous is partly Jewish, so clearly he can’t get behind White Nationalism. Mike Cernovich has both affirmed and denied being Jewish, and he is married to a Persian woman, so he is not a good fit for White Nationalism, either. Paul Joseph Watson is allegedly married to an Asian woman; Stefan Molyneux is part Jewish; and so on. (Vox Day is of mixed race, but he has no problem with racial nationalism.)
So instead of arguing for White Nationalism, these figures argue against economic globalization, open borders, feminism, and political correctness, and for Trumpian populist ideas. I agree with all these positions, and I am glad to have allies supporting them. They are not in full agreement with me, of course, but the Alt Light is really as close as these people can come to White Nationalism while remaining authentic to who they are. Of course, the Alt Light decries identity politics, but for these figures, it is at bottom no different from any other kind of multiculturalism, i.e.: it is just the identity politics of diaspora Jews and white miscegenators.
The vast bulk of the Alt Light audience, however, consists of whites without such entanglements, and I look upon them as potential converts to White Nationalism. Indeed, some of them already are White Nationalists, but they have chosen to stake out a position closer to the mainstream because they hope to better influence public discourse and the political process.
So how should White Nationalists relate to the Alt Light? Naturally, there’s a right way and a wrong way. I’ll deal with the right way first.
I regard the Alt Light, and the broader Alt Right, as an opportunity, not as a threat. Our movement can only grow by converting people who do not already agree with us. That requires that we talk to people who do not already agree with us. And those conversations require a safe space. The Alt Right provided that safe space.
This is why the Alt Right brand was so valuable to White Nationalists. It brought together people who rejected the conservative mainstream without requiring that they avow any specific ideology, especially those that might be outside their comfort zone, including White Nationalism and most especially National Socialism. Indeed, the original Alternative Right Webzine was created as a tool of White Nationalist entryism and conversion, and the Alt Right continued to function that way long after it became simply a generic term for edgy alternatives to conservatism.
I think all of us can remember a time when we had to screw up our courage just to read dissident websites in the privacy of our own homes. Our movement is growing rapidly, which means that more people than ever before are in that very spot. Which means that spaces like the Alt Right have never been more important.
That includes Alt Light spaces as well. Thus we should welcome their growth. Let a thousand Deploraballs, Webzines, YouTube channels, self-help books, and supplement lines bloom. Let them set up their tents, gather their crowds, and hawk their wares. A world in which there are fewer mainstream conservatives and more civic nationalists fighting against globalization, open borders, feminism, and political correctness, and upholding the superiority of Western civilization, is definitely moving in the right direction. Not all of these people will be White Nationalist material, but most will be, and if we can’t convince them to come the rest of the way with this sort of setup, we are doing something wrong.
Does this mean that I don’t believe in criticizing the Alt Light and other non-White Nationalist currents in the Alt Right? Of course not. The “Don’t criticize Milo, because he’s a gateway drug” argument makes zero sense. The only way to make the Alt Right work for us is if we criticize other positions. For instance, we have to argue that racial and ethnic nationalism is better than civic nationalism if we are going to convert people to our way of thinking. And our criticisms should not just be on points of political philosophy. If Alt Right figures engage in stupid, dishonest, or dishonorable behavior, we should criticize them as well.
Offering better arguments and upholding high standards of behavior is how we win the metapolitical struggle. We should not be restrained by silly taboos about not “punching Right.” Instead, our only taboos should be against bad arguments, bad faith, and bad behavior.
If White Nationalists cultivate a collegial relationship with the Alt Light, in which we affirm what we have in common, agree to differ in a civil manner, and keep open lines of communication, what is the worst that can happen? As far as I can see, the chief threat is that we will be deluged with more potential converts than we can assimilate and presented with more opportunities for cultural and political advancement than we can take advantage of. But those are good problems to have.
There’s a lot of fearful talk about the Alt Light “co-opting” or “subverting” the Alt Right, or preventing people from becoming further radicalized. Frankly, though, this would happen only if we fail at our mission. But we already know that failure is a theoretical possibility. The rewards, however, far outweigh the risks. So the solution is simply not to fail.
If this is the right way to relate to the Alt Light, what is the wrong way? I would argue that the following behaviors are perverse and self-defeating:
- Trying to drive away people who are not fully on board with White Nationalist ideas. We should be in the business of attracting rather than repelling converts. I have to ask the people who think that the movement will grow by repelling people: was there ever a time when you didn’t hold your present positions? Was there ever a time when you held Alt Lightish views? If so, were you converted by encountering better ideas or by obnoxious trolling and bullying? If the former, then why are you not trying to bring new people along in the same way? If the latter, you probably have half-baked ideas and a weak character, and I doubt you are an asset to our cause.
- Trying to assert that the Alt Right is “nothing but” White Nationalism or National Socialism. The only sense in which the Alt Right is “really” or “essentially” White Nationalist is that it was created as a tool of White Nationalist entryism and conversion. But it can perform that function only if it includes people who are not already White Nationalists. Indeed, they have to find it to be a safe and welcoming space, not a madhouse of trolling, bullying, and doxing.
Both of these self-defeating behaviors are versions of the failed Linderite strategy of “polarization,” which seeks to destroy any positions between mainstream cuckservatism and White Nationalism by basically being an asshole, on the dubious assumption that if forced to choose between mainstream conservatism and Nazi assholes, people of quality will flock to the assholes. In fact, only weak people are attracted by bullying, and by creating a gulf between us and the mainstream, we only ensure our isolation and irrelevance. Besides, as the Alt Light has proved, a third option is possible: namely, to build their own spaces.
Sadly, a productive relationship between White Nationalists and the Alt Light may no longer be possible. A separate Alt Light designation was necessary because civic nationalists felt they were being pushed out of the Alt Right camp by White Nationalists. And in the aftermath of Heilgate, many people have abandoned the Alt Right brand altogether. The Alt Light is creating a cordon sanitaire to prevent Heilgate fiascos at events like the Deploraball.
So this article may be too little too late. But the principles here don’t just apply to the Alt Light. They are true of all relations between vanguardists like us and more mainstream groups. Even if the Alt Right is dead and White Nationalists and the Alt Light are irreconcilably polarized, the forces that fuel both tendencies of thought are very much alive, so as new personalities and platforms emerge and others fall by the way, we will have an opportunity to get things right the next time.
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I think you and Hood both are appealing to false forms of historical/psychological inevitability. Show me one example of a person who passes from WN to Alt Light to mainstream conservatism.
I am not sure why it matters whether these people would throw you under the bus or not. Of course they should, since they don’t agree with your principles.
People are allies/fellow travelers to the exact extend to which our principles and interests are the same, and not beyond that point.
This guy “Southern avenger” could be an example called upon in your comment.
Jack Hunter (“Southern Avenger”) and Derek Black are both apostates from race realism and white advocacy, but neither of them had anything to do with the Alt Light. I wrote an article on “The Psychology of Apostasy” spurred by Black. My basic conclusion is that he never believed in the first place. He was simply parroting the opinions of his family. Hunter probably does or did believe to some extent, but decided to lie and betray because he wanted a job in the beltway and wanted to promote Rand Paul, a libertarian. Which means that his deepest convictions were probably not WN anyway. So he did not really believe either. Frankly, though, I would rather the mainstream cull people like this anyway.
I just see this whole Alt Light thing as part of a smooth gradient of political thought leading to us. I think it’s proved to be extremely beneficial and as Greg says there is clearly a great deal of shared ground. In the end, it has to lead to us because we have the answers. Civic nationalism alone cannot solve the serious political problems the world faces, and in fact could make some of those problems worse.
I have seen talk online about Molyneux being part Jewish, but I remain unclear on this. Maybe he’s said that at some point. I don’t see it as informing his views, nor do I see him acting in ways that are particularly helpful to organized Jewish interests. He’s bringing race realism to a wide audience of very reasonable people, and I think that’s extremely welcome. I hope one day Greg appears on his show.
As for Paul Joseph Watson, certainly I wouldn’t rely on him to defend WN, but this guy is clearly absorbing everything on the Alt Right, and then very cleverly sanitizing the most provocative parts.
The Alt Light has helped create a bridge for us by ridiculing allegations of racism and treating them as part of the usual dementia of the Left. And I think that’s happened completely organically, for all the reasons Greg has pointed out; that they believe what they believe to the extent they do for themselves.
“I have seen talk online about Molyneux being part Jewish, but I remain unclear on this. Maybe he’s said that at some point. …”
Nursey-nursey, here to help:
***”Stefan Molyneux gets caught in a lie 2016″***
I’m moderately disinclined to agree with your succeeding statements concerning him.
Linder intellectually converted me fifteen years ago, and I don’t think I would have paid much attention if he had tried to be nuanced and polite and played within the boundaries.
Counter Currents would be more successful, interesting, and exciting if you all acted a bit more like assholes. As white men entirely aware of our current situation, it seems to me almost dishonest to react to things without a little more yelling and chest beating.
Fifteen years ago, VNN was fresh and vital. The life went out of it by 2003. It can’t be seen as a successful model.
Yelling and chest-beating are for proles, boys, non-whites, apes, and the weekend. I am sure you would have said the same thing about the US Continental Congress. This is serious work, though.
History is the record of the triumph of the intelligent over the macho.
I disagree that counter currents should change. The alt-right is overly flush with belligerent outlets already. The issue with those is that it becomes difficult to control the message, which is currently the largest real and present danger for the alt right. Endorsing this presentation, as the core political presentation and not merely a spear, forgets the intellectual foundation that provides justification for the existence of the memes.
We aren’t here because of the discovery of oven memes. We’re here because our core political ideology best reflects reality and at the same time is the most moral. Corrupting one of the few microphones that analyses and repeats the core politics of the group, in a sober fashion, would be akin to changing the operating system to act like a media player because you resonate with the media player.
I agree completely on this, and I do think a more productive relationship will be possible again in the future. To their credit, most alt-lighters critizise strongly both “white guilt” and “anti-white racism” and some have made it a major issue pointing this out. Of course their basis is rather attacking double standards and demanding that everybody equally holds on to antiracist standards, whites and non-whites alike. But they are doing something important here by exposing the antiwhite agenda of minority identity politics, and by flipping the usual antiracist script and subverting the leftist narrative. The notion that there IS antiwhite racism after all will make a lot of sense to “normies” and eventually a relief to know. From here it doesn’t take a long way to realize the “mantra” is true, and the next step to racial realism and white identity politics isn’t very big either.
You know what I am most afraid of? That the “Alt Light” might actually win not only over “the Left” but also over us the “Alt Right” – why? simple because the “Alt Light” might actually make a multi-ethic/multi-cultural system work.. let’s think about it..
If the far left wins – we will end up in a ungovernable, unmanageable, unlivable distopian world everybody will hate and will want to destroy (think Soviet Union of the 50-60s).
If the “Alt Light” wins – we will end up with exactly what we have now only into perpetuity, because nobody will be able to either deport or disenfranchise the non-Whites they will be a part of our society for EVER! eventually mixing and merging with us over time creating exactly what the “far Left” wants only not in 20-30 years but ~100-200 years
So I argue the “Alt Light” is just as much if not more our enemy than the Cultural Marxists – because they might actually (by omission) achieve what the SWJ’s want and actually make it work!
That being said we need to be realistic, we can’t fight the World alone and as OP said we need the “Alt Light” to bring people over to our side like a ferry-man brings people over a river – yet we cannot must not ever concede to them! We must strive for pure(as far as that is practical) racial States not simply ones governed by Whites or we will have won nothing but a stay on our demise.
I have long worried that a Right-wing figure might put the present political system on a firmer footing but keep white demographic decline intact. Fortunately, Trump is actually going to do things about the demographic problem. So he represents a step in the right direction.
“Return of Kings” is also rather in the alt-lite realm, but this article, while not taking sides too much, clearly sympathises with Spencer etc. and emphasizes their “genius”, the author is also quite optimistic the story isn’t over yet.
First, the split between alt-light and alt-right I think is not a bad thing. I think it´s just a sharpening of the positions: alt-right is explicit about race and Jews, and alt-light is not explicit about it or actually doesn´t hold these positions. So why not state these differences clearly.
But secondly, here a “psychological” thought on the two factions. While I´m politically alt-right, i.e. WN, racialism and naming the Jew, the alt-light is who I find likeable. And so it seems to me that there are two different attitudes involved, the one I would call hard, and the other
harmonic. Now I think that the alt-right positions of WN, racialism and Jew-naming could well be compatible with an “harmonic” attitude. It seems to me that the Right has this hard, authoritarian attitude (in a negative sense, of submission and domination) only as a historic relic but it´s not inherent to the political positions.
So I think there can still be changes in the positions, i.e. there could be a position that is presently not represented, namely to stand for WN, racialism and Jew-naming but presenting in an attitude of openness, sympathy, of cooperation instead of confrontation. Maybe that would be a racial Left, an alt-left.
Since many people are weaking up to the racial question, there should be a place where leftish people can belong so that their efforts can be made effective for ethnically based nations.
Some interesting points, Peter. You mention an alt-left as a kind of more approachable version of the alt-right, but you also associate an alt-lite with a similar thing.
To my mind, the nascent alt-left based around people like Rabbit and Robert Lindsay covers all the bases on race. Rabbit is very racial, Lindsay agnostic, Lord Keynes probably on par withthe alt-lite. The thing that they all have in common – and that I share – is left of centre economics. LK’s blog is heavy on economic stuff and if you’re into that, makes good reading.
So I’d see alt-lite as a less overtly racial version of the alt-right, but probably sharing its outlook on economics and broader social issues, whereas the alt-left -so far- encompasses the whole spectrum on race but shares similar views on economic questions.
As a completely personal opinion, I tend to think we can all work together in the short term on an agreed agenda for the salvation of our nations. There’s enough fundamental stuff we could agree on to make a start. We can debate ideas like economics, environmental protection and what to to with Milo once we have secured our future.
I have some extended experience with alt-light types. There are alt-rightists within the alt-light sphere, for differing reasons, and some will bounce back and forth between spheres. It is not these folks to whom I refer and these folks are the minority.
In my experience, the true alt-light is comprised of the following types of individuals:
1. Socially conservative NAMs and Asians who do not feel like they can fit in with the alt-right. A lot of the time, but not all of the time (in the case of some Asians and Asian mixes), they’re correct. Many of the NAMs will be hostile to the alt-right, both politically and racially speaking.
2. Basic bitch white conservatives who either do not have the mental horsepower or otherwise the political or historical concept exposure to be able to intellectually justify the jump to the alt-right. Some of these guys are worth converting, and some are where they should be left; cognitively speaking. Such an IQ spread is one of the social effects of such a broad definition of the term “white”.
3. Guys who are moderately conservative but mostly have other motivations for associating with the alt-light.
In my opinion, the alt-light is more different than similar to the alt-right. It will continue to act as a gateway to the alt-right, mostly due to occasional concept exposure (which happens less often than it should due to sensitivities in regard to multicultural members), but it will never mesh with it in terms of overall ideology or demographics.
“Basic bitch white conservatives who either do not have the mental horsepower or otherwise the political or historical concept exposure to be able to intellectually justify the jump to the alt-right”, eh? How to win friends and influence people!
Most insightful take on this highly debated topic.
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