From a conversation following the Charlottesville violence in August 2017:
The problem many of us, (and I mean lots of people I know personally and on the internet that are not usually conservative but are deeply concerned with the trajectory of this repressive attitude in the “Left”), is the way that the caricature of a “Nazi” or white supremacist, or just “racist”, is being used as an excuse to dehumanize and repress without discussion or analysis a pretty large swath of people all over the Western world. Conservatives everywhere are afraid to express their opinions for fear of being misunderstood, attacked or fired or excluded from everything as the margin of acceptable opinion narrows.
This issue of turning any conservative opinion on immigration and political correctness into hate speech, has become so important that it has fueled a swing of the Right towards a populism that naturally is going to rub elbows with some of the worst factions of it. But those factions are small and even the KKK has changed a lot since the days when they had any real power. That isn’t to say some of these people don’t hold atrocious opinions. But that only makes them easy scapegoats that the fascists with real power in our Deep State can channel dissent into. A few hundred pathetic and angry poor white people can be made to look like a Nazi threat to society and all our years of watching movies that paint them as the very symbol of evil gets triggered and all nuance gets thrown out the window. What’s the harm, you might say, in repressing anyone close to these awful opinions?
There is a reason that the term “non-violence” is met with skepticism in philosophy, and that’s because it is a helpful tool for establishment power structures to have an easy way to characterize any resistance to the status quo as violent and therefore evil or worthy of repression. “Hate” is coming to have a similar use as “violence” or even is equated with it in the current liberal establishment. Associate anyone with “hate” and it justifies them being completely dehumanized with all the irony that entails.
Granted there are some angry people out there and some of them say some awful things, but these kind of remarks are coming from people without any real power. Even they are coming from a place where they feel threatened, something which only multiplies when they are demonized.
I think the bulk of the populist right is not racist in the hateful sense and even Richard Spencer says he does not want to rule over anybody. Hey may think his race and culture is the best, but that isn’t hate. If that were the case what traditional culture/race wouldn’t qualify? If that is liberalism’s stance now then it is quite clearly an assault on traditional societies.
Most of these guys feel that way. They may express hatred for other races, but I have read a lot of the alt-right material out of curiosity and the leaders, even David Duke of KKK fame mostly want to not have their culture and communities destroyed by urban multicultural values. They don’t want to colonize or eradicate other people and races. They want to keep their own and stop what is clearly and unarguably a global colonization going the other way, an eradication of traditional societies worldwide under the spread of a single culture that doesn’t give a damn what color you are as long as you submit to its culture of liberal scientism, urbanism, consumerism, commercialism, etc.
These guys are mobilizing the white working class in the only way they can in the current game. The only game in town is identity politics so you are going to get white identity politics too. And that is the real problem that liberalism itself created to prevent any real answer to the destruction of working class America, a real Left that could organize the working class instead of fighting them. Richard Spencer calls himself an “identitarian”. His desire for an ethnic state may seem extreme, and it is in this country, but they see what is already happening with the displacement of European culture through immigration and social change, and it is merely their practical, though obviously regressive response to the collapse of American industry and the social networks and institutions that surrounded it.
I think one of the many problem with identity politics is that it tends to structure political problems along lines that cover over other important distinctions that are central to any effective challenge to power, namely class distinctions. Even when class is added to the list of intersectional categorization, it is completely neutered of its structure and importance. White working class people don’t help the matter when they like to identify themselves with authority(though usually low level authority like the police or business leaders). But this is a result of a long history of social conditioning by capitalists who purposely elevated some poor whites (but often not others like the Irish) slightly above the blacks in the class structure so any kind of worker uprising could be defused by stoking racial associations to confuse any solidarity amongst the lowest classes.
Now we see people, especially the people claiming to be anti-racist, putting all white people, or white males in the same category, claiming they are all privileged, assuming they all have the same experience. There are certainly privileges to being white, especially in some communities–in other communities not so much anymore. Regardless, this is hardly consolation for the millions of white people living in increasing poverty with no visible sign of their supposed privilege. Since the Left, who should be organizing these people and utilizing their large numbers to create real change with their voting and striking power, are instead making them feel like they are part of the problem, their only recourse is Right-wing populism.
Now some of the speech of this populism is distasteful, and Trump certainly has a knack for sounding like an ass, but the supposed racist remarks are usually an exaggerated response to a truth. Mexico obviously isn’t giving us the “job producers” (to use their silly phrase); it is the most desperate that are coming here. Of course Mexico is producing these desperate people partly because our banks destroyed their economy in currency attacks, and our CIA helped build a dangerous narco state to fund their operations and make Mexico easier to manage. To call this Deep State–our banking elite and intelligence community– “white america” is an example of what I mean by these categories obfuscating important political coordinates.
The populist Right is very conspiracy orientated and these elite tend to be their primary object of concern and especially blame. The extreme groups don’t hate these elite people because they think they are Jews. They hate Jews because they associate them with these elite groups at the heart of international finance. I won’t go into the long history of anti semitism in the West, but for historical reasons the Jews have been a major part of the increasing dominance of what is often a cosmopolitanism centred in coastal commercial cities against the more land-locked or land-identified central and centralizing states. This doesn’t excuse racial hatred, but it does point to something the alt-right is fond of saying that many liberals don’t seem to get. It isn’t that these beliefs in racial and cultural homogeneity are harmless–they often do lead to violence, but rather this ongoing clash between races and cultures is something old and ongoing and not easily wiped away by submitting everyone to multiculturalism.
One reason is that multiculturalism is actually a side in this conflict, even though it markets itself as neutral or progressive and its opposition as divisive or regressive. But liberalism, especially neoliberal globalism is not a neutral ideology. It oftens increases racial conflict by forcing groups together with mutually exclusive desires for their communities. It is easy to call the rural people racist but they are attracted to the populist Right because they are often saying exactly what they feel, that their race and culture is under attack. The alt-right connects this to the idea that racial conflict is inevitable so we should have our own communities or nations and so avoid the conflict that is used by the globalists to erode local and national sovereignty and consolidate power internationally.
I don’t agree with them of course. I think to the extent that they “don’t give a shit about the economy or jobs” is precisely why they have to cling defensively to a dying culture–because the economics is over their heads and the culture being offered by liberals is not compatible with their needs. They need to be offered not just new economic opportunity but a cultural path into metaphysical meaning compatible with an increasingly complex world. Short of that, they will continue to support anyone who slows the “progress” down for them. I just think we need to be more careful with this “progress”.