The radical right has always needed a stop over point on its way to middle American conservatism. For years, the Libertarian Party and its various “economic” projects were this, from the anti-tax movement of California to the mainstreaming of their ideas with the Tea Party. Libertarianism has headed into the Beltway as one of the last popular coherent philosophies for the new GOP, mired in mainstream liberal values mixed with cut-through capitalism. In this move to the mainstream it has shed much of its racialist and white nationalist connections, leaving the growing Alt Right looking for its new crossover point. They have found that friend in Brietbart.
Brietbart News began with the now-deceased perpetual yell of Andrew Breitbart, which brought a young and confrontational style to the Tea Party. From “exposing” Acorn with edited videos that took low-wage organizing workers’ statements out of context to asking for “video proof” that Congressmen John Lewis was called the N-word at a public Tea Party event, Breitbart, and its various web staples such as the embarrassing BigGovernment.com, has made a name for itself for standing to the right of Fox News and engaging in the kind of silly click-bait that allows it to compete in an angry Twitter-verse.
The Alt Right, meaning the newest incarnation of the “intellectual” and Internet-driven white nationalist movement, has needed some friends in the the world of Beltway Conservative Inc., and Breitbart has proven that it can act as the middle point between their lair and the Brooks Brothers and “fiscal conservatism” of D.C.’s Republican establishment.
This relationship has been cemented with Breitbart’s recent fawning feature, “An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right.” The article begins by immediately drawing the comparison between the Alt Right’s role in conservatism to the role of Marxism to the contemporary left by saying “A specter is haunting the dinner parties, fundraisers and think-tanks of the Establishment: the specter of the ‘alternative right.;” The main thrust of the article is a large-scale defense of the Alt Right against allegations of racism, bigotry, and ideological violence. Their defense begins with the perceived intelligence of the Alt Right in comparison to the caricatures of Klansman, which says nothing of their ideological orientations. They go on to quote male-tribalist Jack Donovan, who one of the authors of the article, Milo Yiannopoulos, is friends with online. This is not surprising as Donovan is known for being a sort of “anti-gay gay author” whose basic ideology is that queer men should abandon the gay identity because it is associated with feminism, effeminacy, and leftist politics. Yiannopoulos, for his part, is publicly a gay man, which led to many of the reasons that the Alt Right had mixed reactions to this work (we will get into this later on).
This opening section mentions the ideological framework for the Alt Right as being diverse, and including Oswald Spengler, H.L. Mencken, Julius Evola, Sam Francis, and the French New Right, as well as having a relationship to the paleoconservative movement of the 1980s-90s. This is meant to insulate it from accusations of extreme racism supposedly, and he goes on to mention more modern incarnations of this ideological current such as Steve Sailer’s HBD blog, the anti-immigration web publication VDARE, and the current center of “race realism”: American Renaissance.
When you cut through their ironic abstractions, what they are indicating is class rather than ideology. They are noting that the Alt Right has a more middle-class and educated character, not that they do not hold the ideological foundations that have always driven neo-fascist movements. The assumption here is that skinheads and KKK members lack a strong ideological foundation, yet there has always been an intellectual side to the far-right. Oswald Spengler’s anti-Semitic racial nationalism has been key for decades, and Julius Evola has become the defining far-right philosopher both for intellectual Pagan racists and for street-level skinheads. His work was key to the violent right-wing terrorism of people like Ordine Nuovo or contemporary Ultra movements in Rome, and his alleged “anti-fascism” only came from his view that fascism needed to move further to the right to install an aristocratic racialist society built on authority, hierarchy, and violence. The assumptions implicit in Breitbart’s article is that the criticisms of fascism today come from its association with “lone wolf” violence rather than the possibility of a violent political theology of enforce inequality, which misses a thorough understanding of the diversity and history of fascism since its interwar inception.
Milo does something useful in this place, however, in that he rightly identifies the more web-board intellectual Neoreactionary movement(NRx), the HBD networks, and the manosphere as part of this broad “Alt Right.” As much as these movements want to self-identify with their own “unique” ideology, especially the culture of Men’s Rights Activism and “game” blogs, they are a part of the anti-egalitarian Alt Right current that essentializes biology and roots for the oppressor.
What they spend a great deal of time on is this notion of “Natural Conservatives,” which is the position they seem to agree with the most (This is not actually a popular idea used on the far-right.). This comes from the idea that some people are just built for conservatism in some kind of bio-psychological way (R-K Selection Theory may be the best example of this). Much of this rhetoric comes in pieces from the Alt Right, who are attempting to draw out some kind of scientific framework to argue that different views are driven by biological difference. This logic has an insidious underpinning as it is intended to be an “essentialist” view of behavior and nature as coming from the body rather than from environment. In this way they can argue that there are essential racial, gender, and regional biological differences that influence ideology, and therefore the defining character of a society is demographic rather than its ideas. This is why they can then argue that “Western” society is going to fall apart because it is now less-white, which means it has few of the people from which its character was developed from. This logic has been echoed, however discreetly, in the work of establishment conservatives like Charles Murray, whose The Bell Curve took on the notion that IQ was biologically fixed and determined your level of socio-economic success.
They co-opt the notion from social psychologist Jonathan Haidt that there is “an instinct keenly felt by a huge watche of the political population: the conservative instinct.”
The conservative instinct, as described by Haidt, includes a preference for homogeneity over diversity, for stability over change, and for hierarchy and order over radical egalitarianism. Their instinctive wariness of the foreign and the unfamiliar is an instinct that we all share – an evolutionary safeguard against excessive, potentially perilous curiosity – but natural conservatives feel it with more intensity. They instinctively prefer familiar societies, familiar norms, and familiar institutions.
It should be noted that Haidt is an incredibly marginal voice, and this notion of biologically driven conservatism is not actually held by most of the psychological scientific community.
The prime purpose here is for Breitbart to go on through what are essentially nativist, nationalist, and racialist behaviors and explain them as being “natural and normal,” the kind of talking point that the Alt Right usually uses to explain itself.
The alt-right do not hold a utopian view of the human condition: just as they are inclined to prioritise the interests of their tribe, they recognise that other groups – Mexicans, African-Americans or Muslims – are likely to do the same. As communities become comprised of different peoples, the culture and politics of those communities become an expression of their constituent peoples.
You’ll often encounter doomsday rhetoric in alt-right online communities: that’s because many of them instinctively feel that once large enough and ethnically distinct enough groups are brought together, they will inevitably come to blows. In short, they doubt that full “integration” is ever possible. If it is, it won’t be successful in the “kumbaya” sense. Border walls are a much safer option.
The alt-right’s intellectuals would also argue that culture is inseparable from race. The alt-right believe that some degree of separation between peoples is necessary for a culture to be preserved. A Mosque next to an English street full of houses bearing the flag of St. George, according to alt-righters, is neither an English street nor a Muslim street — separation is necessary for distinctiveness.
Here they are not proving that the Alt Right has been mischaracterized, but instead attempting to say that their logic is sound and respectable even if it is not always shared amongst establishment types. They want to allege that these talking points are fundamentally different from those of the neo-Nazi crowd, but they are almost completely synonymous with what people like David Duke, Tom Metzger, or the National Socialist Movement will say publicly. The “suit and tie” rhetoric has dominated amongst racist groups for decades, and the only difference between the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and the Alt Right’s “identitarianism” is vocabulary, not ideology.
What has led to many in the Alt Right actually denouncing this article is actually the starkest problem with it from the anti-fascist left-wing point of view as well. In the section titled “The Meme Team,” they go into the Twitter troll phenomenon, lead by The Right Stuff, along with the offensive memes that call conventional conservatives “Cucks,” deny and mock the Holocaust, and are cruelly racist. Bokhari and Yiannopoulos allege that the people behind this wing of the movement essentially do not believe what they are saying, but instead are libertarians attempting to offend people and behave as iconoclasts. There is no evidence of this and instead the vocal centers of this wing of the Alt Right have been incredibly clear about their resurrection of conventional angry anti-Semitism, their belief that non-whites are subhuman “mud” races, and that we literally need a fascist revolution. To deny the reality of “the meme team” is to be purposely blind, which seems partially the ironic way that many in the hipster side of Breitbart see the Alt Right. Bokhari comes from a middle-eastern ethnic origin and Yiannopoulos is openly gay, two things that make them openly targets of ridicule from the same people they are venerating here. Yiannopoulos has even used the term Alt Right to describe himself, yet he seems to lack a clear understanding of the actual depth and intensity of its fascist politic.
The Daily Shoah picked up on this dynamic almost immediately, thinking that instead of simply getting the meme section dead wrong, Yiannopoulos actually is trying to make the Alt Right more palatable to his editors and audience.
He might be saying that in order to get it through an editor and make his own relative acceptance of the Alt Right acceptable and keep his job. He could really think it. He could be fooling himself, I don’t know. But I think that there’s a tactical presentation going on there.
In a strange way, it is his own disbelief in the Alt Right (at least in its entirety) that has led to the fetishization of it. In a recent episode of the Right Stuff podcast Fash the Nation, which is meant to mainly cover Trump’s political battles, they had on one of the founders of the infamous “Coon Town” Reddit channel. There they had such classic sub-Reddits like “N*****s Dying” where people posted videos of black men being murdered or executed to the glee of the commentators. Generally, it was the most extreme edges of guttural racism, where black people were openly called degenerate animals, slavery was celebrated, genocide was discussed with a certain admiration, and it marked the hallmark of insipid internet bigotry. The hosts of Fash the Nation, including the aptly named Marcus Halberstram, joked with and complimented the guest, who was going by the pseudonym of GreatApeNiggy. On this episode they casually talked about how people of color have innately lower IQs and were degenerate “jungle people,” how Jews are secretly destroying the West through race mixing, how LGBTQ people were filthy AIDs receptacles, and that some form of nationalist fascism was the answer. Their language, which included open racial slurs, was politically and rhetorically more extreme than most neo-Nazis and KKK members of today. For Breitbart, who knows full well that Fash the Nation and the Right Stuff is a signature part of the Alt Right since they linked to their blog, to say that they are somehow ideologically removed from the neo-Nazi revolutionary white supremacist crowd is for them to engage in intentional self-deception.
Yiannopoulos has defended the Alt Right before, going on Dave Rubin’s podcast to show allegiance to the Alt Right and protect it against allegations of anti-Semitism (Sort of.).
Generation Trump, the alt right people, the people who like me, they’re not anti-Semites. They don’t care about Jews. I mean, they may have some assumptions about things, how the Jews run everything; well, we do. How the Jews run the banks; well, we do. How the Jews run the media; well, we do. They’re right about all that stuff…It’s a fact, this is not in debate. It’s a statistical fact….Jews are vastly disproportionately represented in all of these professions. It’s just a fact. It’s not anti-Semitic to point out statistics….The anti-Semitism on the internet, which is really important, I want people to understand this because nobody seems to, when Jonah Goldberg of National Review is bombarded with these memes, and anti-Semitic “take a hike, kike” stuff, it’s not because there’s a spontaneous outpouring of anti-Semitism from 22-year-olds in this country. What it is is it’s a mischievous, dissident, trolly generation who do it because it gets a reaction. Right? That’s been the case for young people for generations….They can get to people in positions of power, and people in positions of power and keep biting, they keep taking the bait….It’s a direct response to the language policing, it’s a direct response to being told they can’t say things.
They go on to mock, as the Alt Righters do, the “1488” crowd, which essentially means those that use Hitler iconography unironically. This would make up essentially the “old guard” of racist organizing, the pre-AmRen network of Christian Identity followers, Klansman, and the like who are too wrapped up in figures of the past. They quote RamZPaul in making fun of them, yet he is really the tip of the iceberg. The Daily Shoah has made that a staple of their program, where they ask listeners to donate $14.88, a tongue in cheek reference. Yiannopoulos uses this disregard for that wing of the white nationalist movement as a sign that they are not ideologically similar, but that misses the thing that they actually admonish the neo-Nazis for. Instead of decrying their genocidal racism and anti-Semitism, it is the “LARPing” that they find ridiculous. As the Daily Shoah and the Neoreactionary Ascending the Tower have often said, they support the 14 from the “1488.” This refers to the 14-word line by Order member David Lane, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.” The 88 refers to HH, Heil Hitler, which they see as being too focused on the past. It is not so much that they reject Hitler as a political ideologue, some do and some don’t, but it is the useless political role-playing that they are attacking when rejecting the “1488.” They certainly do not seem to support the seemingly random violence as well, they regularly laud those who attack refugee centers, but that is not the foundation of their break from the past. Instead, it has a much more classed component, where they simply see the “low class” neo-Nazis and KKK members not living up to their own high-brow version of fascist racism.
The Daily Shoah picked up on Yiannopoulos’ claims about the unseriousness of the meme culture immediately, calling him a “flaming, Jewish f****t.” Mike Enoch said that he has had private message conversations with him on Twitter, though he did not know that he was actually the host of the Daily Shoah at the time. This section of the article was roundly insulted as absurd, and Breitbart itself mocked thoroughly, even though they generally thought it was a fine representation of their movement and were happy to have the coverage. Fash the Nation also mentioned it, saying that it was a sign that the term Alt Right was starting to be well known and that their views were a semi-respectable part of acceptable discourse.
There certainly was an anger coming from some of the annals of the Alt Right, with the Daily Stormer being the best example. Andrew Anglin, the voice behind the Stormer, is sort of the meeting point between the “1488 crowd” and the rest of the Alt Right. His work is more in line with the Right Stuff, but he also has offloaded his work to places like Radio Aryan, which is better known for reviving neo-Nazi speeches by people like the National Alliance founder William Pierce. Anglin’s article about Breitbart’s treatment, titled “Breitbart’s Alt Right Analysis is the Product of a Degenerate Homosexual and an Ethnic Mongrel.” He notes immediately that one of the authors(Bokhari) is “half Paki,” and that Yiannopoulos is both Jewish and gay. Anglin is likely correct in his main allegation against Brietbart: they are coopting the energy of the Alt Right. His main points of contention here are that they do not give the Daily Stormer the due he feels is deserved, and, second, they don’t talk about the Jews.
Anglin continues his regular diatribes, calling the Bosnian genocide a joke and the authors cucks. He goes through the article almost paragraph by paragraph with a Live-Tweet transcript of self-indulgence, something the Daily Stormer does in its tired frenzy to stay relevant among its angry racist subculture. He also picks up that seem to think that the Alt Right is actually queer and Jewish friendly, and that the jokes are, well, just jokes.
Well, let me go ahead and explain something which the authors of this piece are already aware of: the people who invite homos and Pakis to their conferences are a totally separate group than the people who are joking about the Holocaust. As I said above, what this article attempts to do is force the entire alt-right movement under the banner of a tiny minority who no one actually cares about and who get virtually zero traffic on their pro-Jew, pro-homo websites.
This article attempts to create confusion where there isn’t any.
Also, I don’t know what a non-satirical Holocaust joke would look like, exactly, but no one who jokes about the Holocaust believes it actually happened.
The reception to the Breitbart piece from the mainstream press has been mixed, with places like Daily Wire taking a sort of “respectful disagreement” stance. They note that the Alt Right gives “cover to actual anti-Semites and racists.” This in and of itself still plays into Breitbart’s point, which is that the Alt Right is not just openly the newest branding of neo-fascism. The Alt Right provides no cover: it is what racists, anti-Semites, misogynists, and neo-fascist are today. Milo has stated publicly that the Alt Right and the Trump phenomenon are direct responses to the left, in that the anti-PC nature of it is for show and a response to allegations of racism. This is the voice of someone who either cannot simply believe the level of racism he is associating with, or who thinks that he can use ironic ugliness to slide nationalism into the internet substream.
“There’s no hatefulness, racism, sexism, homophobia left in this country,” Milo said in a televised discussion with Dave Rubin. This came directly after saying that many stereotypes turn out to by right before shifting into the idea that differences and prejudices may exist yet should be tolerated as long as they were not violent or intrusive. This is not only a grade-school attempt at analyzing social structures, but it is a G-rated version of the “identitarianism” peddled by most of the Alt Right. Milo has clearly been walking this line for some time now, coming to prominence first for siding with the Men’s Rights Activists during the “Gamergate” non-controversy.
It may end up being unfair to single Milo and his co-author out since it is Breitbart at large that has been a crossover point for the far-right, at least in terms of racialism, immigration restriction, homophobia, and rape apologism.
The relationship between the Alt Right and Breitbart has not always been an easy one, however. Richard Spencer, the person who coined the term Alternative Right and now runs the National Policy Institute and the Radix Journal, covered the firing of John Derbyshire from the National Review heavily in 2012. Derbyshire was let go after a column he wrote for Taki’s Magazine was released called The Talk: The Non-Black Version. The article was a sort-of parody of the talk that many black families have to have with their sons to explain racial targeting by the police. Derbyshire’s family talk, on the other hand, was to warn his children to stay away from black people. Shortly after his firing, and before he spoke at the American Renaissance conference that year, he was roundly denounced by publications around the country. Breitbart was vicious in their condemnation, but, as Spencer pointed out, Breitbart is part of a new conservative media that based their entire existence on subliminal race-baiting.
Glenn Beck and the late Andrew Breitbart are (and were) Grand Mastersof(sic) the race-baiting game. Breitbart rose to national awareness publishing videos of James O’Keefe, dressed as a ‘70s Black pimp, entering a Black-run ACORN office in search of government funding for his “ho.” Breitbart later warned conservatives of the dangers of Black Nationalists in the Department of Agriculture. His posthumous coup (which ultimately fell flat) was to hint that the President himself isn’t what he seems . . . . He’s no liberal backed by Wall Street, no; he’s a closet Black Nationalist!
The Blaze and Breitbart (Beck’s and Breitbart’s answers to the Huffington Post) have filled their webpages with salacious stories of various flash-mob attacks and general Black misbehavior. As I write (Sunday, April 8), the top story on The Blaze is about the New Black Panther Party’s call for a “race war.” On the same night that Breitbart declared John Derbyshire to be a non-person for talking about the dangers of Blacks, its best-read story was one on a unsuspecting White Man who ventured into Black Baltimore and was attacked and stripped of all clothes and possession by a feral gang.
When Andrew Breitbart explicitly talked about his political philosophy, one got the impression that it was some kind of universalistic libertarianism; Beck outdid him in genuflecting to the myth of Martin Luther King. But what they sold to their readers is quite different. It was never about race, but about “principles” and “fair play.”
Breitbart and Glenn Beck have made white tensions the foundation of their popularity, playing the populist game on a direct route to Donald Trump. Breitbart columnists have made names for themselves trying to attack liberals, publicly using “dog whistle” racial language, and trying their best to instill fears of demographic replacement and non-white crime in aging Caucasian Baby Boomers.
The animosity between the Alt Right and Breitbart slowly dissipated, and by 2015 there began to be a certain amount of cross-over in the same way that Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter have had tacit flirtations with the movement as well. The #Cuckservative meme was the beginning of major topical crossovers, with Breitbart reporters using the phrase popularized by the Right Stuff and Twitter personalities like Ricky Vaughn to describe Beltway conservatives they felt were making poor immigration choices. In “’Cuckservative’ is a Gloriously Effective Insult That Should Not Be Slurred, Demonised, or Ridiculed,” Milo Yiannopoulos had already defended the 4Chan white nationalist community by bringing Breitbart to their side unequivocally.
But we don’t cry “racist” whenever someone says any of these words. That would be stupid. That would be playing the sort of dumb, disingenuous game that liberal race-baiters do. Right?
Thus, “cuckservative” can mean many things. It could mean conservatives who are afraid of social exclusion and kowtow to the liberal media establishment. It could mean conservatives who play the left’s game of identity politics, accusing their internal opponents, such as Donald Trump, of being racist or sexist or rapey for spurious or opportunistic reasons.
This support moved to their “edgy” backing of Donald Trump, though they still have a coin in the race for Ted Cruz. People like Milo seem to have a strong voice inside of Breitbart’s political presence, where he is seen as the hip new face of conservatism. This may be why they will continue to allow him to use their popularity as a gateway for white nationalism since they generally see this as just another “young” political phenomenon they do not understand. Best trust Milo on this one.
Their focus on racism may only have intensified in the last year as they really are carrying on Andrew Breitbart’s effort to bait the left. In articles like “Racism: ‘White Men Must be Stopped’ Says Salon Magazine,” they attempt to undermine real reporting on issues of racism so as to take out the legs of an effective anti-racist movement. In the above mentioned article, Lee Stranahan goes almost line by line through a Salon article, tries to minimize how cruel chattel slavery was, and cherry-picks evidence to make slavery in America nothing too “unique.” In a world where, as they accuse, mainstream conservatives are continuing to slide away from open racism, Breitbart and its constituency are doubling down (And if you view Breitbart’s comments section, that might be tripling down.).
Milo may not be making the kind of friends he hoped he had, but the Alt Right is happy for the continued exposure. The far-right needs stop over points so that they can manipulate the moments of populism that the GOP can still muster. Donald Trump is mainstreaming their views, and Breitbart, among others, is actually giving their name a bit of credibility among the fragmenting parts of the disheveled Republican Party. Breitbart is one of the devices that conservatives are looking to rebrand and identify themselves now that the conservative movement invented by William Buckley as a Cold War tool is dead, a mantle also being taken up by places like Reason Magazine and other libertarian vessels. The moment when it seemed clear that the libertarians were going to hold the keys for the future of conservatism is over, as can be see very obviously by the fate of people like Rand Paul. Now it seems that nationalism is the key to winning the populist wave, something that could not have been predicted to cross over in this way before Trump turned off-the-cuff racism into a winning strategy.
Milo is attempting to recruit this racism, put it in skinny jeans, and make it the outlier constituency of the Breitbart defined American conservative. It will likely not take place the way he is hoping, but it can easily be a tool to recruit and further build the white nationalist movement that is seeing a new kind of Renaissance. In this way, it is important to identify exactly what they are doing and saying, and to make Breitbart accountable for being a mouthpiece of the far right. They enjoy the battle with the liberal left, but what about the actual radical left?
When it comes to the recent Chicago shut down of Donald Trump and the growing Antifa presence, there are some avenues to show Breitbart that their snarky racism can be shut down. Real fast.
23 thoughts on “Going Full Fash: Breitbart Mainstreams the ‘Alt Right’”
This is actually deeper and toothier than the NRO piece on the subject that came out today.