Alt-Right: Classifications and Significance

For some reason the definition of the ‘alt right’ refuses to be resolved to anyone’s full satisfaction.

My ‘definition’ is that the ‘alt right’ is a subset of ‘right’ that rejects the ‘mainstream’, which is a kinda circular definition, but taken literally that’s what ‘alternative’ means. The ‘alt right’ can include rationalists and pacifists (rejection of activism and politics), which includes NRx. Then there is also the ‘larpy right’ (pro-activism, political involvement) which may include Richard Spencer and Raddix Journal. Most of ‘alt right’, especially pacifists, are unified in rejection of ‘low-information’ discourse – such as mainstream taking points and sensationalism that one would find on major networks like Fox News or CNN – preferring more nuanced discourse that puts greater precedence on empirical evidence than ‘tribal loyally’ or emotion.

The hierarchy could be like this:

primary: ‘right-wing’

secondary: ‘mainstream right’ ‘alt right’

tertiary: ‘activist alt-right’ ‘pacifist alt-right’ ‘futurist-right’ etc.

Or in the case of this blog:

Neoconservatism meets HBD, with elements of anarcho capitalism, reaction, futurism, and rationalism.

The quadrant below helps illustrate the differences between these subsets:

The ‘GOP intelligentsia’, which mostly consists of neocons, seems miscatergorized and belongs on the upper-plane, equidistant from ‘Nick Land’ and ‘The Economist’. Neocons tend to embrace technology and capitalism and are also unapologetically anti-populist. In many ways, neoconservatives and pacifist variants of the alt-right have a lot in common, both rejecting egalitarianism and populism.

Some define the ‘alt right’ as inclusive of only activist-variants of the ‘right’, and that pacifists, like NRx, belong to a separate categorization, separate from the ‘alt right’. But if the bottom-right of the quadrant is the ‘alt right’, what should the upper-right quadrant be called?

Most of the disagreement between these different subsets of the ‘right’, particularity between the ‘anti-cuck right’ and the ‘mainstream right’, seem to be over small differences. From Ingroup/Outgroup dynamics:

For NRx, the ‘outgroup’ may not be liberals, which is the most obvious choice given than NRx is a right-wing ideology/movement/whatever. Instead, perhaps, it’s ‘low-information’ and ‘democracy’, both from the ‘right’ and ‘left’, as one type of ‘outgroup’. As in the case of utilitarianism, it’s possible to be on the ‘left’ and still reject direct forms of democracy.

As very recent example of ingroup/outgroup dynamics over small differences, the post-2015 ‘cuckservative’ movement, which pitted ‘traditional conservatives’ against ‘establishment conservatives’, with insults hurled between both sides on Twitter and blogs, despite both sides being ‘conservatives’.

Thus, possibly in every group, there may be two ‘outgroups’: one involving small differences (establishment conservatives vs. alt right, neoliberals vs. welfare liberals) and an ‘outgroup’ of broader differences (conservatives vs. liberals).

That’s why I have always found the split in the right between the ‘alts’ vs. the ‘establishment/mainstream’ to be kinda frivolous. They agree one everything except for immigration and Trump. It’s not like the mainstream right is for open borders. Rather they support ‘some’ immigration under controlled conditions. I’ve never heard a mainstream conservative like Hannity or Limbaugh come out and endorse open borders. Sometimes arguments are so heated because the differences are so small. The ‘anti-cucks’ believe that the ‘cucks’ are too moderate on some issues, and there is perhaps some truth to this, but we’re talking about tiny differences when they otherwise agree on 95% of stuff. Ben Shapiro, for example, is a frequent target by the ‘anti-cucks’ on Twitter, but here are a list of his books:

Brainwashed: How Universities Indoctrinate America’s Youth (ISBN 0-78526148-6). WND Books: 2004.
Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism Is Corrupting Our Future (ISBN 0-89526016-6). Regnery: 2005.
Project President: Bad Hair and Botox on the Road to the White House (ISBN 1-59555100-X). Thomas Nelson: 2008.
Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV (ISBN 0-06209210-3). Harper Collins: 2011.
Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America (ISBN 1-47671001-5). Threshold Editions: 2013.
The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration (ISBN 1-47676513-8). Threshold Editions: 2014.

Just going by the titles, how can anyone on the ‘anti-cuck right’ find disagreement here. Isn’t there mutual agreement that universities are indoctrinating America’s youth with leftism. Or that Obama is inept. Or how the ‘left’ has taken over much of popular culture. The disagreement, again, has to do with two issues specifically: immigration and Trump, but otherwise they agree. Yet over the past year and a half, the two sides have been hurling invectives at each other on twitter and blogs over these small differences.

But there is probably more to is than that. The rejection of the ‘mainstream’ is in repudiation of neocon economic policies, as well as a general suspicion that that ‘establishment’ is not acting in the best interests of average, middle-class Americans – but rather the interests of either the really poor who may not even be citizens (illegals) or the interests of elites (business interests, Wall St., etc.) that may have no loyalty or cultural anchoring to America (as Ross Douthat calls ‘faux cosmopolitanism’). Meanwhile, the ‘bedrock’ of America – its middle class and even ‘working poor’ – is being ignored. Since the early 80’s, beginning all the way with Reagan, GOP economic policy has answered to a Frankenstein’s monster-like amalgamation of think tanks – Cato, AEI, and CFR – which tend to promote globalist policy such as free trade, automation, outsourcing, deregulation, and open borders. As Thomas Frank mentions in What’s the Matter with Kansas, to win voters the GOP uses culture war issues but tends to gloss-over the economic ones, using vague language and buzzwords (as all politicians do) such as ‘job creation’ and ‘competitiveness’. Whether or not globalist policy works (creates growth and jobs in the long-run despite the short-term inconvenience of job loss) is subject to some debate, but I imagine that if such policy were presented prima facie (and not obfuscated with buzzwords), many voters would likely not support it, and I think that’s what’s happening with the rise of Trump and the ‘at right’. Trump is arguably the first GOP nominee in over 30 years that is chartering his own economic policy, without the influence of think thanks, wonks, and pundits.