What Is the "Alt-Right"?


We hear and see the news media, and even our friends, portraying people and organizations as "Alt-Right". It is always in a disparaging manner. So, what exactly is this "Alt-Right" and why the disparagement? Further, are such portrayals fair and accurate?

Wikipedia has a decent definition, of sorts, on what the "Alt-Right" represents. A quick look at this article will give a clue to the disparaging nature of the movement.

Basically, the movement/pseudo-ideology has the following tenets:

- white nationalism,

- white supremacism,

- antisemitism,

- right-wing populism,

- antigay/lesbian, etc.,

- nativism,

- the neoreactionary movement,

- neo-monarchists,

- masculinists,

- conspiracists,

- belligerent nihilists,

- anti-mixing of the races,

- opposition to immigration,

- opposition to political correctness

Quite the laundry list. And, to make the waters a little more muddy, varying definitions of each of the above may be found.

The Alt-Right has no consolidated ideology, it has no central leadership. It seems to be an amalgamation, depending on the portrayer, of whatever set or subset of the above list happens to be of use politically at the time.

Therefore, if a person, organization, or other such entity espouses any one in the above list in any form, with whatever definition is applicability useful and however remote the association, they are labeled "Alt-Right".

It is a "catch-all" term used mainly by the left (but, also by some on the right) to negatively characterize anyone/anything with which they disagree.

For example, should I hold the opinion that political correctness is but a political tool created so as to divide people rather than unite them, I would be labeled an "Alt-Right" so as to disparage my opinion (and me, personally). This, without substantiating facts, any inclusion of other tenets of the "Alt-Right", and without context. Note: Attacking a person and not the idea is a favorite tool of the progressive element of politics. It is part of their application of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals", especially Rule # 5.

Labels such as "Alt-Right" applied overly wide only tend to divide people - not unite them. For example, during the recent presidential campaigns almost daily Trump was accused of racism and Islamophobia. This despite the fact that Trump (to my knowledge) never uttered a racist or islamophobic statement or position that fit the definition of either word. Yet, the accusations flew.

Currently, the most wide spread use of the term "Alt-Right" has been to disparage Donald Trump and Breitbart News (i.e., breitbart.com).

This despite Trump's disavowal of things "Alt-Right".

It is true that many of the "Alt-Right" persuasion favor Trump. That does not mean Trump favors their position(s).

As an analogy, during the presidential campaigns Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Pakistan, as well as the Communist Party USA, indicated support for Hillary Clinton. I am certain she more than welcomed such endorsements - ALL SARCASM INTENDED.

With Breitbart it's a little more tricky.

To sort of set the stage, in July 2016 Breitbart had 31,000,000 unique visits to its web site and 192,000,000 visits overall.

I have seen comments that anyone who reads Breitbart is "Alt-Right". Can 31,000,000 Americans truly be "Alt-Right" with all the tenets, or even a few, mentioned above? Think about it.

One must remember that Breitbart is in competition with other media sources for your business. So, is bias possible here from the competition? Also, it, more often than not, is repeating the offerings of other news media sources.

Further, and this can get complicated, news today is not what it used to be. In times gone by newspapers had news sections and the "editorial pages". This latter section was devoted to opinion and commentary only. The former sections were devoted to reporting the news - provable facts, as it were.

Today, all too often news and commentary have become blurred. Opinions are reported as news and vice versa. Conservatives, in general, feel that sources such as MSNBC, CNN, etc. are terribly biased toward the politically progressive side of things. Progressives believe that FOX and Breitbart are terribly biased toward the conservative side of things. Both of these views is fairly accurate.

However, with the conflating of news and opinion, the job of becoming adequately informed is much, much harder. One can no longer rely upon a given news source to provide the truth. One has to crosscheck one story against that same basic story from other sources. And, one has to be able to discern opinion from fact. Not quick or easy tasks, but necessary.

Even videos of people purporting to offer one view or another are not to be trusted. News sources, because they can, often selectively edit videos to fit whatever narrative they wish to present. For stories on this, Click Here, Here, and Here.

Now, to some specifics re: Breitbart.

Breitbart, among other news sources, often include headlines that are meant to attract readers. Many times these headlines do not fully represent the underlying story. Or, let the reader beware.

As an example of one news source "reporting" on another news source, CNN offered an article on Breitbart's most incendiary headlines.

One of the reporters/editors of Breitbart is Milo Yiannopoulos, who, being openly gay, is reputed to advance the "Alt-Right" pseudo ideology. (As an aside, if you'll notice being gay is against one of the "Alt-Right" tenets listed above.).

I personally have never read anything by or about the man (except the afore-linked Wikipedia article, of course), so I won't offer personal opinions further. Why haven't I? The story lines by/about him did not appeal to me as interesting or useful. They all appeared to be "fluff". It's as simple as that. People who have read some of his offerings consistently describe such as satirical, outrageous at times to be sure, but satirical nonetheless.

Steve Bannon, on the other hand, is a slightly different person. Bannon was the executive chair of Breitbart news and is now the chief strategist and Senior Counselor for Donald Trump. Bannon is reported by progressive news sources as being closely associated with the "Alt-Right" movement even though he derides the term "Alt-Right". Why this disparity? This article offers a few of his quotes that, apparently, offer evidence of his "Alt-Rightness" to many. Now, some of the attributed statements are, in fact, 3rd party repeats of what it is asserted he said. The headlines presented are tabloid offerings at best.

I am not certain that offering tantalizing headlines, even if offensive to some or to many, is equivalent to being "Alt-Right" or not. He was in the business of increasing readership, after all. The Left has tried to smear Bannon with statements that he is an anti-semite. Apparently, Morton Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, seems to disagree - as have many others. I can find no factual basis for claims that Bannon is against Jews wherever they may live. Nor have I found any of Breitbart's offerings anything but supportive of the Jewish Nation and peoples.

But, does Breitbart News advocate any of the "Alt-Right" tenets specified above? I haven't seen any evidence of that except for articles on political correctness. Yes, there have been articles which touch on some of the tenets of "Alt-Right"; but these have addressed a person or selected groups of people for their actions or positions always stressing the negative aspects of such tenets; and, never by the entirety of a race, creed, ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation . But, of course, I've not read ALL of what they have offered.

A special note: Just because one may not like a story's content or its message, does NOT mean what one reads is false. Do research to find the truth. As Muldar said, "The truth is out there."

I would strong encourage everyone to consider the following:

1. Never accept sound-bites as factual news.

2. Because we may not be politically aligned with a news source does NOT mean that what they offer is not true. Research everything.

3. Don't use labels to identify persons or organizations. Adequately define your meaning. Labels are all too often wrong, misleading, and/or inappropriate factually. And, in fact, the use of such labels betrays the user's inability to adequately articulate their point.

4. Look for that which tends to divide us as a people. Avoid this type of news - after you research its validity.