Obviously President Obama was a horrific president in pretty much every possible way. His domestic policies in particular have been anathema to the Alt Right — he would, after all, have loved to sign an immigration amnesty/surge bill into law. Nevertheless, couple of things he said in his farewell address made a lot of sense, although he probably wasn’t thinking about the Alt Right when he said them.
Obama said that too often people think of those who oppose them as not merely misguided but malevolent. This is a huge problem for the Alt Right. The very label is typically associated in the media with words like ‘Nazi,’ ‘White supremacist,’ and ‘racist’ — all of which have strong moral connotations after years of browbeating by the media. These words produce psychological reflexes intended to preclude honest debate or any rational discussion of our ideas. And they have been very effective in doing just that.
During an interview with an NPR reporter, I mentioned that I hoped the phrase “White supremacist” would not be used in whatever eventually gets aired. The interviewer seemed surprised, thinking that “White supremacist” was a perfectly reasonable label to use, and defending his stance by claiming that some Alt Rightists have talked about Europeans as a superior and uniquely talented group. Depending on how an idea like that is phrased and conceptualized, I have no problem with it. We should have pride in the accomplishments of our European ancestors, as tabulated, for example, by Charles Murray.
But our desire to preserve a European identity and culture really has nothing to do with European talents, and I think pretty much everyone on the Alt Right is aware of this. We could be the most average or below average people on the planet but still have a legitimate interest in wanting to preserve our people and culture — and the territories needed for that. None of the people shouting about “White supremacists” would suppose that Africans should be supplanted from African states they control, no matter what their talents or lack thereof, and the same goes for Korea and every other country with a historical ethnic and cultural core. And of course, many of the same people comfortable with condemning “White supremacists” are quite content with Israel being a “Jewish state.”
But being called a White supremacist in today’s political climate has obvious moral implications (happily the phrase did not appear in the NPR interview). Such a person is not only misguided, he or she is malevolent. Such a person is consumed by hatred, anger and fear towards non-Whites, gays, women and the entire victim class pantheon, or so goes the stereotype And that’s the problem. Being cast as evil means you are outside the moral community. There’s no need to talk with you, no need to be fair, or even worry about your safety. You are like an outlaw in Old Norse society —“a person [who] lost all of his or her civil rights and could be killed on sight without any legal repercussions.”
So the antifa at the November NPI conference felt entitled to beat up a cameraman, throw foul-smelling liquids at attendees, and break into a dinner venue. There have been other assaults, notably of Richard Spencer in January in Washington DC, but also in February at the UC-Berkeley riots. So we often hear “no free speech for fascists,” not only at antifa protests but in university classrooms, designed to shut down errant professors and students. College students showing sympathy for Donald Trump can be hounded into dropping out of school. We find students protesting having White philosophers on the curriculum. No need to discuss their ideas because they are dead White males and ipso facto a component of racial oppression.
Moralistic Rhetoric as a Weapon against the West
It’s not really important to the discussion here, but I have argued that in Western, individualist societies, people are less prone to ingroups based on kinship but far more prone to forming ingroups based on reputation or moral standing. For our hunter-gatherer ancestors, exclusion from the group because of a reputation as immoral or untrustworthy was the ultimate kiss of death. So we want to be “good people” by fitting into the current moral zeitgeist and of course that zeitgeist is now completely dominated by the left.
In any case, our political rhetoric, whether it’s going to war in Iraq (or WWI or WWII or the Civil War) or demanding civil rights for Blacks, is saturated with moral rationales. And, overwhelmingly, it works.
But perhaps the election of Donald Trump shows some slippage, since he was morally condemned from Day 1 of his campaign. This hasn’t let up since his victory. The moral condemnations continue to rain down on him from the mainstream media and in the continual well-funded anti-Trump protests and marches—especially over immigration which is the moral imperative of our age (“No Human Is Illegal”). This shows that moralistic rhetoric isn’t even close to losing its power, even though we should be happy that polls show that a solid majority of Americans support the ban and some polls show Trump with around 50% support overall.
The problem is that far too many White people think they are in a competition to be the most virtuous person around — to the point that pointing out “virtue signaling” has become a standard tactic on the Alt Right. When I was still teaching at a university, the competition for sainthood among White academics was a sight to behold.
So obviously, it would be great for the Alt Right to frame their issues in moral terms if they want to appeal to a broad audience of White people. There has to be a moral core there. It’s not a matter of “we’re superior and therefore deserve to rule.” It’s more like, “We are who we are and want to create our own culture” — just like pretty much everyone else around the planet. Hatred toward the other need not be part of this equation, although it must be said that there is nothing wrong with hating your enemies — the people who are really actively out to get you.
The Alt Right media is essentially an attempt to get others, both Whites and non-Whites, to see the world as we see it. But the point is that by vilifying us as moral cretins, people automatically close off the possibility of even trying to see the world as we see it. After all, if a person is morally culpable, there is the implication that that person is blameworthy. Excuses like having different, sincerely held beliefs, no matter how well-founded, don’t have to be considered. Immorality implies malicious intentions.
Liberals and Women More Likely to Exclude Others Over Trump Support
Studies have shown that liberals tend to be far more intolerant of people with conservative opinions than vice versa. This is especially true of women who identify as Democrats.
Nearly one-quarter (24%) of Democrats say they blocked, unfriended, or stopped following someone on social media after the election because of their political posts on social media. Fewer than one in ten Republicans (9%) and independents (9%) report eliminating people from their social media circle. Political liberals are also far more likely than conservatives to say they removed someone from their social media circle due to what they shared online (28% vs. 8%, respectively)….Only five percent of Americans say they are planning on spending less time with certain family members because of their political views. Democrats, however, are five times more likely than Republicans to say they are trying to avoid certain family members due to their political views (10% vs. 2%, respectively). … Democratic men are nearly twice as likely as Republican men to block or ‘unfriend’ people in their social media circles because of their political views, and Democratic women are three times more likely to take this step than their Republican counterparts.
I think that a reason for this is that liberals see the liberal/conservative/Alt Right political divide in moral terms. They see conservatives and especially anything approaching the Alt Right as evil. On the other hand, people on the right do not typically condemn liberals as immoral. Naïve and misguided, perhaps. Uninformed, maybe. Believers in an impossible, utopian, idealistic future. Quite often. For some of us, this critique of the left takes the form of pointing out that their policies will likely lead to untold horrors, as was the case with Communist revolutions and is quite likely to be the case with the imagined multicultural kumbaya utopia magically free of ethnic and religious conflict. But even then, we don’t suppose that your basic White, suburban, college-educated, New York Times-reading liberal is advocating multiculturalism with evil intent. It’s all about “I’m a good person. A really good person. I want the best for everyone.”
Jewish Motivation for Supporting Multiculturalism and Immigration
On the other hand, there is good reason to think that quite a few non-White ethnic activists do have malevolent intentions. I suspect Jewish activists on behalf of immigration and multiculturalism as having rather obviously self-interested motives (diluting the White majority), their hypocritical posturing in terms of moral universalism (given their support of Israel), and often hateful attitudes toward European peoples and their cultures. As I noted in Chapter 1 (p. 13) of Culture of Critique:
Sammons (1979, 263) describes the basis of the mutual attraction between Heinrich Heine and Karl Marx by noting that “they were not reformers, but haters, and this was very likely their most fundamental bond with one another.” The suggestion, consistent with social identity theory, is that a fundamental motivation of Jewish intellectuals involved in social criticism has simply been hatred of the gentile-dominated power structure perceived as anti-Semitic. This deep antipathy toward the non-Jewish world can also be seen in sociologist and New York Intellectual Michael Walzer’s (1994, 6–7) comment on the “pathologies of Jewish life,” particularly “the sense that ‘all the world is against us,’ the resulting fear, resentment, and hatred of the goy, the secret dreams of reversal and triumph.” Such “secret dreams of reversal and triumph” are a theme of the treatment of Jewish radicals in this chapter as well as in Chapter 4 on Freud and the psychoanalytic.
This hatred and the revenge fantasies are fueled by the lachrymose view of history in which Jewish history is one long tale of persecution by Europeans, beginning with the Romans and ending with the Holocaust. And more and more we see expressions of hatred toward Whites by Black Lives Matter and Latino activists holding signs saying things like “Go back to Europe,” and of course there are plenty of White people who have internalized this mindset. Mainstream Jewish sensibilities of hatred toward Whites are leaking into the mainstream of other groups.
The White people who have internalized the message of White guilt are the altruists in this game, and these liberal altruists are quite happy with this self-image. They bask in it. They own it. They wear it emblazoned on their tee-shirts and broadcast it on social media.
Sex Differences in Social Exclusion
But why are women more inclined to this behavior than men? This is not a subtle sex difference, and I immediately suspect an explanation rooted in our evolutionary history. In the absence of a study explicitly linking such exclusionary attitudes with personality traits, I suggest that an evolutionarily informed personality psychologist would emphasize the similarly robust sex difference in the love, nurturance and empathy. In general, women are higher on these traits, and the evolutionary logic is that these traits have been more important over evolutionary time for women because they feed into nurturing children and cementing close relationships within the family. Relationships of love and affection are particularly important for northern peoples for cementing family relationships because individual choice of marriage partner is the norm rather than arranged marriages to first cousins, as in the Middle East. Arranged marriages are enforced by the extended family and don’t require mutual affection.
It’s no accident that women are more attracted to the helping professions like nursing and social work, or that they are more susceptible to the propaganda emanating from the media (e.g., the countless stories of suffering refugees like viral photo of the Syrian child on the beach in Turkey and now sob stories about people who are negatively impacted by Donald Trump’s travel ban from certain Muslim-majority countries not to mention striving DREAMers, and other assorted victim groups). Encouraged by the media, empathy and compassion for designated victim groups becomes a badge of honor and a very important aspect of self-identity. They hold up signs at rallies advertising their virtue and allegiance to group values. They fear being shunned by the group.
Another phenomenon that feeds into this fear of being shunned is an often replicated finding in developmental psychology: whereas boys often react to disliked peers with anger and aggression, girls are more apt to react by social exclusion and forming cliques, termed “relational aggression” as opposed to physical aggression. Disliked others are simply shunned. “This behavior is marked as a female phenomenon and is labeled as catty, vengeful, deceitful, manipulative, back-stabbing, or just plain mean.”
So, as we all know, women are not simply saints. When they don’t like someone for whatever reason and especially if they are not a very nice person to begin with (after all, even though women are higher in general than men on empathy, some certainly are not), they are very much into social exclusion as a remedy. The result is that women are more conformist. They fear social exclusion.