The rise of Donald Trump has led to a growing interest in what is generally called the “alternative right” in the United States — a group that could be more simply labeled “literate racists.” The “alt-right” resembles the French New Right and the German conservative revolutionaries in that they are not obsessed with corporate welfare, Zionism, and killing Communists and/or “Islamic-Fascists” the way Anglosphere conservatives are. Instead, the alt-right focuses on things like justifying monarchy, “scientifically” proving how stupid non-whites are, and dreaming about how to create a society defined by the kind of ferociously traditionalist social bonds that made up the antebellum American south, instead of the consumerist, postmodern wasteland we all inhabit.
These folks have been around for a while, it is just that nobody cared until Donald Trump started winning Republican primary after primary. But profiling them is not my intent in the here and now though — if you are really curious check out Radix Journal or The Right Stuff. What I would rather focus on is the unbearable and disgusting irony of anti-Trump Republican writers attacking the alt-right. Donald Trump has revealed the longstanding racist core of the Republican Party, and in their search for someone to blame Trump on so they needn’t look in the mirror, the country’s capitalist columnists have found the alt-right.
An excellent example is Ian Tuttle’s recent essay, “The Racist Moral Rot at the Heart of the Alt-Right” in National Review. Ian writes:
Most on the Alt-Right do not only reject the “conservative Establishment” or some other contemporary bogeyman; they also reject the ideals of classical liberalism as such. That rejection grounds the thinking of Jared Taylor, and Richard Spencer, for instance — representative “intellectuals” of the Alt-Right…. These men — the founders of the publications American Renaissance and Radix Journal, respectively — have not simply been “accused of racism.” They are racist, by definition. Taylor’s “race realism,” for example, co-opts evolutionary biology in the hopes of demonstrating that the races have become sufficiently differentiated over the millennia to the point that the races are fundamentally — that is, biologically — different. Spencer, who promotes “White identity” and “White racial consciousness,” is beholden to similar “scientific” findings.
Republicans like Ian and the whole crowd at National Review obsess over their status as the “reasonable rightists,” the high-minded ones, the ones RealClearPolitics.com link to, the ones you could have a polite conversation with at a classy bar, the nice ones who know a lot about good literature like Tom Wolfe and Flannery O’Connor. A big part of this charade is that they are constantly attacking the people on their right who actually keep the Republican Party chugging along.
The trouble, of course, is that Ian and company don’t have any ground to stand on, whatsoever — and no amount of politeness, smart suits, or well-endowed think tanks and magazines can change that. Let’s take a look at the history of National Review, the publisher of Ian’s essay and a longstanding bedrock of America’s “intellectual right” that even good liberals like E.J. Dionne can’t help but like.
- Its founder and longtime editor was the late conservative icon William F. Buckley. Buckley was a huge fan of Joseph McCarthy, wrote a book defending him, and a few years later wrote a book defending the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
- In 1957 Buckley wrote in National Review, “The central question that emerges … is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race.” Note the capitalization of the “w” in “white”.
- The same year, National Review gave a sympathetic interview with the notorious segregationist senator Richard Russell, where he said, “I know of nothing in human history that would lead us to conclude that miscegenation is desirable.”
- In 1964, on the anniversary of the Brown Supreme Court decision, an editorial in National Review stated, “But whatever the exact net result in the restricted field of school desegregation, what a price we are paying for Brown! It would be ridiculous to hold the Supreme Court solely to blame for the ludicrously named ‘civil rights movement’ – that is, the Negro revolt … But the Court carries its share of the blame.”
Naturally, the Republican argument here is that those were “the bad old days, when everyone thought like that!” This is of course a terrible, dishonest argument, but let’s pretend it has validity for just a moment and speed up to more recent times.
- In the 1980s and 1990s National Review regularly published Sam Francis, largely considered the intellectual godfather of America’s alt-right
- Throughout the 1990s, National Review’s senior editor was Peter Brimelow, the white nationalist. While at National Review, he spewed all kinds of hate at immigrants (inspiring Ann Coulter), so much so that they eventually let him go, allowing him to launch his own spectacularly hateful website, vdare.com.
- During Brimelow’s tenure National Review published “crime reports” by white nationalists like Jared Taylor of American Renaissance and positively reviewed his books.
- Not only did National Review help promote the notoriously racist Bell Curve, they also publish Charles Murray essays. In 2000 he wrote in National Review, “[W]hen we know the complete genetic story, it will turn out that the population below the poverty line in the United States has a configuration of the relevant genetic makeup that is significantly different from the configuration of the population above the poverty line. This is not unimaginable. It is almost certainly true.”
- Only in 2012 did National Review fire John Derbyshire, a big promoter of IQ differences, “underreported” black-on-white crime, and contributor to vdare.com.
- Right after Derbyshire was fired, National Review “realized” another one of their contributors was also writing for white nationalist publications, and fired him too.
- Despite that wave of firings, National Review still publishes columns “calmly and reasonably” explaining why it is okay to avoid black people when you’re out and about.
- National Review still publishes Mark Krikorian — head of the anti-immigrant think tank Center for Immigration Studies — who will cite white nationalists like Sam Francis in their pages, this happened in 2014.
- National Review also still publishes Jason Richwine, who was fired from the Heritage Foundation a few years ago for palling around with white nationalists and writing for a website literally called alternativeright.com.
Ian Tuttle and his posse might dislike Donald Trump because of his low-brow vulgarity, his dislike of the loathsome wars America launches, and his unwillingness to worship low taxes and corporate “free” trade — but Trump’s hateful racism is perfectly compatible with the Republican Party at large. The “reasonable Republican” that people like Ian desperately want to project is a myth, one that is propped up by a media invested in promoting never ending debates between “reasonable people who disagree” — a kind of infinite Brooks and Shields discussion.
The sooner people unmask the “center right” for what it really is, the sooner we can all move on from shadowboxing over John Locke and begin imagining a radically better world. Ian is no better than Trump supporters, and Democrats who enable this “reasonable Republican” myth are no better than Ian — only we are.