Recently, there has been a surge in the popularity of identity-oriented, big-government, counterproductive ideas; but these ideas are not coming from the American left, as we are used to hearing about: they’re coming from the right. However, the common belief about this alt-right ideology is that it is in direct response to the non-white, non-male, identity-politics ideology of the modern left. On the surface, it looks as if the more conservative right and the alt-right want the same things: they both seem to be opposed to an open-borders immigration policy, they love their country, they want lower taxes, and reject the idea that white, cis-het males are the root of America’s problems. But that is about it. Make no mistake, the alt-right is not a viable solution to issues that have stood against our conservative principles.
For months and years, the right has stood against those claiming that skin color is indicative of the content of a person’s character, rejecting claims that paint an entire race with the broad brush of hasty generalizations, most infamously that “all white people are racist.” Now, the alt-right claims America must “return to its white roots,” that “white is right,” and that a white ethnostate will be best for America. These are the same identity-based claims we have seen from the left and that we have critiqued due to its discriminatory nature, simply reverse the colors. Can we, in good conscience, spurn the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr. because it may be easier to under this new ideology?
If you ask a member of the alt-right for one solution to America’s problems, you will hear a wide range of opinions, all rejecting individualism: something intrinsically tied to right-wing beliefs and liberty. Will Nardi, founder of another collegiate publication, recently debated James Allsup, an unapologetic member of the alt-right. Immediately during the debate, Nardi expressed that he is a radical individualist, and this individualistic belief was later flat-out rejected by Allsup. Allsup and his viewers are not alone in this rejection of individualism and this embrace of collectivism. How can we, in good conscience, reject collectivism from one political wing and not the other?
During the Charlottesville protests, we saw the authoritarian nature of the alt-right come to light. No longer can people peacefully come to accepting policies laid out by one ideology; they must be forced onto the population. Those who disagree with the alt-right are simply enemies of a higher cause, not those who have chosen their own path in life. We cannot embrace fascist notions that poison the well of knowledge our forefathers have passed down to us.
The alt-right ideology is rooted in identity-based, collectivist, and authoritarian ideas. When the economy is poor, the alt-right wishes for America to become white by any means necessary, including government intervention. Civil liberties can be stepped on to advance this cause. The principles of free speech can be discarded if they become inconvenient to this cause. Identity politics can be used as a shield if it proves itself useful to this cause.
In order to be on the right of the political spectrum, you need to have views rooted in individualistic, libertarian, non-identity-based ideas. We want the government to step out of our lives as much as possible. We want to help America by returning to its classically liberal roots. We want to allow the individual to prosper, regardless of race, gender, or orientation.
Is this what the alt-right wants? By no means.
Instead of countering the modern left’s collectivist, authoritarian, identity-based ideas with individualistic ideas, these alt-right individuals respond with collectivist, authoritarian, identity-based ideas. In order to defeat “the enemy,” the people who uphold this ideology have become “the enemy.” One who freely chooses to ally with these ideas chooses to spit in the face of liberty.
(Photo credit: Stephen Melkisethian via Flickr)
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.