Previously posted at VDARE.
The Alt Right is busting out all over (two more Main Stream Media attacks today, here and here)! Some of of this is because Richard Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute, made the wise move of having high-profile public meetings in Washington, DC. But I think it’s more than that.
Donald Trump’s candidacy has resonated deeply with voters, to the point that his supporters are famously immune to the hostile MSM barrage. Mainly these are the (white) people who have been left behind by both parties—the Democrats and their Rainbow Coalition of the racially and sexually aggrieved advocating ever more immigration, multiculturalism, Political Correctness, and LGBT privileges; the Republicans with their unholy alliance between neoconservatives traitorously promoting the interests of Israel, and the Chamber of Commerce/K Street/wealthy donors promoting free trade, outsourcing, cheap labor, Open Borders, etc.
That leaves the Alt Right as the only identifiable segment of the political spectrum with any kind of theoretical or ideological grounding that supports Trump.
To combat this new menace to Conservatism Inc., we have hit jobs like Robert Tracinski’s Yes, The Alt Right Are Just a Bunch of Racists in The Federalist [April 4, 2016] specifically professing to refute two articles that “run interference for the Alt Right”. [The Intellectual Case For Trump I: Why The White Nationalist Support? By Mytheos Holt, Federalist, March 30, 2016 and An Establishment Conservative’s Guide to the Alt-Right, by Allum Bokhari & Milo Yiannopoulos, Breitbart, March 29, 2016]
For all his intellectual pretensions, Tracinski [Email him] really depends on the knowledge that his audience can be stampeded by the “racists” smear. No need to do any heavy lifting. Nevertheless, I think his arguments, however disingenuous, are worth deconstructing as a case study in cuckservatism.
Tracinski’s main theme (also apparent at National Review) is that principles must always have priority over interests—it’s the moral thing to do!—and individualism over what he calls the “collectivist.” (Tracinski is some kind of Randian—he wrote Opposition to Immigration is Un-American [Capitalism Magazine, July 1, 1999] for the Ayn Rand Institute, although he’s apparently no longer associated with it). He writes:
This “Alt Right” agenda is not really part of the “right” because it is thoroughly collectivist in a vile and personal way…That’s why [the Alt Right] are openly opposed to free markets in favor of economic nationalism: this is an anti-freedom, anti-individualist movement. And it’s a big reason why the distinction between “identitarians” and white supremacists is a false one. Both are joined by the premise, “Du bist nichts; dein Volk ist alles.” You are nothing, your race is everything. [Link in original.]
If you think people are fundamentally defined by the color of their skin and by their ethnic and genetic background, then you are a racist, because that’s what “racism” means. If you think that your most important cultural and political priority is to defend the supposed interests of white people in opposition to the interests of other racial groups, then you are a white supremacist, because that’s what “supremacy” means. Dress it up however you like, but that’s what you stand for.
And yes, of course the left does it, too. They have their own racist theories dressed up under the heading of “identity politics.” So what? Your mom told you the answer to this when you were five: two wrongs don’t make a right.
Tracinski even acknowledges that ethnic/racial identity is encouraged by the Cultural Marxist Left. This is a simple reality that is not going to change just because some cuckservative claims to believe it’s immoral.
Well, as an academic, I often asked my classes to imagine a species, or an individual, who decides that all that “nature red in tooth and claw” stuff is mean and cruel. All those others continue to band together with their co-ethnics and, yes, these groups are forging ahead and successfully promoting their interests, such as expanding their territory. The territory of the altruist (because that’s what he is) is shrinking, but the altruist, if a writer for The Federalist (or National Review), can make a comfortable living condemning the moral turpitude of those who take the game of life seriously. But the altruistic species is obviously going to lose. Evolution is like that.
It’s the same now with immigration to the US and Europe. Ethnic groups with an interest in immigration (all of them, so far as I can tell) have well-funded organizations that manipulate immigration laws to get more of their people into what we used to think of as our territory.
The US formerly had an identity as a white, Christian, European-derived culture. But for intellectuals like Tracinski, defending the borders is immoral because it assumes a national or racial (i.e. “collectivist”) interest. Some individuals benefit from all this immigration (employers, immigrants) and some don’t (the rest of us). But Tracinski tells us it would be immoral for whites to band together to assert their collective interests.
To smear the Alt Right further, however, Tracinski claims that its objection to immigration has nothing to do with ethnic/racial competition—it’s really fear of miscegenation:
The main reason they oppose immigration is because letting in brown-skinned people might lead to white people marrying them and producing non-white babies. Their real central demand is an end to miscegenation, the mixing of the races.
This is idiotic, based solely on a Tweet by an anonymous Tweeter. (Although—long story—as an evolutionary psychologist, I would argue it’s not really irrational at all; e.g., marrying someone from a similar ethnic background makes you more closely related and hence more similar to your children).
I don’t know of any poll showing fear of miscegenation among Trump supporters. But we do know that most are afraid of becoming a minority. [New poll shows Trump supporters more likely to fear majority-minority America, by Tatishe M. Nteta and Brian Schaffner, March 5, 2016] Even a cursory glance at racial politics shows that hatred toward whites and the West is common and getting more so. And it’s not just Muslim terrorists hoping to establish a caliphate throughout the West: it’s Black Lives Matter (or here), La Raza activists, and not a few prominent Jews who have expressed their fondness for a post-European America.
Trump voters clearly have an implicit sense of white identity and white interests—what I’ve called implicit Whiteness. But this identity and these interests cannot speak their name without incurring the wrath of America’s hostile elites.
And no one on the entire mainstream political spectrum is willing to talk about it. Except the Alt Right.
With no evidence at all, Tracinski simply asserts that culture is everything. Thus he sneers that the Alt Right
are apparently unaware that ‘Hispanic’ refers to the linguistic and cultural influence of Spain, which is in—anyone? anyone?—Western Europe. So much for caring about the cultural legacy of the West.
But Mexico is a classic example of a collectivist culture—quite the opposite of what Tracinski would have us believe.
What if Tracinski is wrong and individualism and collectivism are more than skin deep? What if, e.g., the individiualism-collectivism trait is influenced by heritable personality traits (e.g., here and here)?
For example, Jews have been living in the West for a very long time but have retained a profound sense of ethnic identity and group interests (e.g., regarding Israel); they have established a myriad of Jewish organizations to advance their interests (especially the ADL and the notorious AIPAC); and they have an unrivaled ability to network with other Jews—all markers of a strong collective identity.
Similarly, Western individualism runs deep and has strong ethnic roots going back thousands of years in Europe. Both of the dominant strands of European culture—the Indo-European invaders of the third millennium BC and the primordial Northern hunter-gatherers—had strong individualist tendencies that are unique among all the cultures of the world.
Isn’t it obvious that Trump is right to ban Muslim immigration because doing so is in America’s collective interest?
But even without the triumph of the Imams, the Left is already fashioning arguments against First Amendment freedoms, with the ethnic identitarians like the ADL and Black Lives Matter taking the lead. [Why We Should Ban “Hate Speech”, By Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, August 24, 2012]
Can anyone seriously think that First Amendment freedoms will survive whites becoming a minority, when even now the First Amendment hangs by a thread, needing only one more liberal Supreme Court justice to begin the dismantling in earnest?
Similarly, for Tracinski it’s irrelevant that free trade enriches Wall Street elites at the expense of American workers. If American workers suffer, they’ll have to suck it up and get over their moral failings by getting a job that can’t be outsourced for the benefit of the oligarchs or taken by the current swarm of immigrants. Otherwise, their communities deserve to die, as Kevin Williamson of National Review would have it.
Trump supporters, and the Alt Right, are attuned to U.S. national interests on trade and immigration first and foremost. But for Tracinski, US national interests are nothing more than vile collectivism.
Apparently Tracinski can’t or won’t understand that individualism works well when pretty much everyone else is playing the same game. But it’s a disaster in competition with collectivists, particularly intelligent, highly networked collectivists.
This was the fundamental theme of my The Culture of Critique: Ethnic networking by Jews with access to prestigious academic institutions, academic presses, and the elite media created dominant intellectual and political movements that effectively excluded dissenters from positions of authority and influence.
Thus the concept of America as a white, Christian, European-derived civilization underlying the 1920s immigration restriction laws was gradually replaced by the“Proposition Nation” concept (another major theme of The Culture of Critique). The 1920s laws basically said that the US desired to remain a European nation by biasing its immigration toward Western Europe. It was a fundamentally fair assertion of the ethnic status quo as of 1890. And it was profoundly collectivist.
Tracinski is therefore guilty of a lack of historical perspective when he writes.
I can’t find anything particularly ‘right-wing’ about [the Alt Right]—not in the American sense, which has traditionally meant advocacy of free markets, individual rights, and the ideals of our Founding Fathers.
“Traditionally”? The fact is that until quite recently Americans had a sense of America that was far more than Enlightenment ideals and free trade. (For that matter, protectionism was an important component of American economic history and a major aspect of historic Republican doctrine).
From the first immigration law enacted by Congress in 1790 (which restricted citizenship to “free white persons of good character”), through the 1952 reassertion of the national origins laws enacted in 1924, right up until the 1965 immigration law—itself the outcome of (collectivist) ethnic political activism rather than popular demand, America had a sense that it wanted to remain a predominantly white, Christian society. This sense was deeply collectivist.
It was only after World War II that a racial/ethnic sense of white identity was increasingly purged from polite discourse by the rise of the new elite.
But the traditional identity of the historic American nation continued to thrive in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans—the core of Trump’s support.
This sea change in American identity is the result of a rather recent and far-from-inevitable process. Ideologues like Tracinski are the ones with no sense of the complexity of American history, American identities, or the Western tradition. They are projecting their ideology into the deep past by imagining a history that never existed.
Particularly important was the rise of neoconservatism—which fundamentally accepted the Left’s views on race, immigration, and the US as a Proposition Nation—and its purge of traditional conservatives from the Republican Party and the MSM beginning in the Reagan Administration (here, p. 26ff).
Because of the dominance of the Left and its obsession with “White racism,”Cuckservatism in all its forms tries to fly under the radar of Political Correctness by aggressively signaling its moral abhorrence of “racism.” This makes Cuckservatives respectable upholders of the status quo—and “willing executioners” in the transformation of America into something that would be unrecognizable and abhorrent to the Founding Fathers.
Kevin MacDonald [email him] is emeritus professor of psychology at California State University–Long Beach. His research has focused on developing evolutionary perspectives in developmental psychology, personality theory, Western culture, and ethnic relations (group evolutionary strategies). He edits and is a frequent contributor to The Occidental Observer and The Occidental Quarterly. For his website, click here.