When the alt-right — basically a loose cooperation between Tea Party libertarians, far-Righters, Trads, and the occasional monarchist — came together, conventional wisdom said that it would burn itself out quickly. Right-wing movements usually do.
They die not from suppression but from popularity. A new idea forms, and soon all the people who were otherwise clinging to the old one move in. Since the Right has no idea what it is, or even agrees on what it is, the bickering and grifting win the day.
How many YouTube channels, podcasts, blogs, and books have been launched by the alt-right? Almost none of them remain because their creators either bailed out when the grifting and bickering took over or made their fame and money and then moved on to other, bigger things.
Grifters work by offering easy answers. Almost all of human thinking is driven by fear, since that which looks non-threatening can presumably be ignored (this backfires frequently). If shown a complicated political solution, the grifter boils it down to yes-no good-bad questions for the crowd to cheer.
Facing a choice between a complex solution and an easy activity, most people choose the easy activity. This starves the complex solutions. Leftists further encourage decay by immediately targeting the dumbest and simplest conservative ideas, which makes the Right cheer them on more.
In the end, the football game is won by the most chants, not the clearest vision. The Right, urged forward to a false goal, charges for it and achieves it, then goes right to sleep. The Left picks up the ball and carries it to the actual goal.
The weakness of the Right may in fact be its reliance on gut instinct and consequently, refusal to look too deeply into any question. They rely on a few principles — God, guns, strength, history — dislike intellectuals, theory, legal questions, and intangible analysis.
In the end, however, those things are how you work a modern system. They are how you recognize political patterns. When you avoid them, you end up lunging for a symbolic or optical victory while the Left, which does look into such things, seizes the bigger goal.
How many times must we see the Right defend criminalizing abortion, Russia, megachurches, or other symbols of being Right-wing, while missing the point that we are not egalitarians, therefore should not support any egalitarian ideals?
The alt-right died because it became popular without defining itself in clear root principles, allowing idiots to run wild with the surface aspects (nationalism, tradition) and turn it into the usual “Christian libertarianism” with a slightly racially-aware inclination.
As said here many times before, Rightism consists of realism+excellence. That is, we filter out all the novelty and human drama to look at what history and common sense tell us are real, and among those we pick what drives toward qualitative excellence (arete).
Already the audience has been lost. There are funny words here, and nothing tangible has been mentioned. What’s “arete” about the Gulf War? Or is it? How do we translate this into wanting an end to the welfare state that keeps diversity alive to intimidate us into silence?
Apply this test to anything: (1) is it real? and (2) does it bring about something good?
We often talk around here about transcendentalism, or the idea that we can accept life as it is as good, and want to develop that further instead of replacing it. We do not need a human order; we need humans paying attention to natural order, and then making decisions in that which tend toward the good.
What is the good? No topic has fired off more debate — all of literature and philosophy concerns this — but look at history. There are no golden eras, only pretty good ones, and all of those involved people working toward social order, better quality of art and learning, and normal, stable lives.
Sanity is good. Health is good. Rise in quality is good. Normal life is good. Family is good. Culture, civilization itself, art, learning, science, and wisdom are good, if we select for what is good among them and make more of it.
We are gardeners, and we are tending a patch that is our civilization. We have to take out all the plants except the one type we want, then from those remove the weak and sick, and nurture the best examples so that they seed the others and next year, the patch is even stronger.
We want healthier plants, bigger plants, and smarter plants (assuming these plants have thinking, which is probably not entirely off-base). We want plants who naturally work together because they are all similar. We want a balanced hierarchy where the best plants care for the rest.
If you ask humans, they will say that they want their patch in the garden to be whatever they want it to be; what that is, they do not know, and so they chase trends and fads hopening to rationalize self-importance from participation in a bigger thing.
Part of caring for a garden means suppressing its impulse toward self-destruction, something that never announces itself as doom, but always disguises itself as innovation, compassion, patriotism, justice, equality, and other “miracle cures.”
In other words, if someone offers one simple thing that explains everything and makes everything better, back the heck off: it is a lie. Even if that thing is something normally good, like religion or commerce, having one tiny idea try to be the whole is error by itself.
Should our look back over history tell us anything, it is that One Big Idea never fixes everything. All of the big ideas turn out to be details hyped into wholes, and those fall apart when the big concept proves imprecise in situations that should be local, context-dependent, and on a case-by-case basis.
Grifters will try to make this commonsense approach — realism+excellence — into something simpler, like the idea that religion alone can guide us. In reality, we need many things, including ethno-nationalism, culture, community, individual reward not collective reward, faith, family, and hierarchy.
If you need one big idea, it would be that conservatives endorse realism instead of humanism, which is the idea that whatever humans want to be true must be treated as true. However, realism by itself tends to reduce to bare function, so we like to throw in the qualitative aspiration to excellence as well.
The alt-right began with a simple principle. We wanted an alternative to both the “Christian libertarian” GOP and the pointless National Socialist underground (everyone who looks for an excuse for doing nothing seeks a Lost Cause). That means getting to the roots of conservatism.
This “roots conservatism” looks nothing like its mainstream and extremist variations. It is more extreme than either, but also more grounded in what actually works for humanity and nature than either. This is a hard sell because it involves some complexity of thought.
Perhaps our first task, if we want a healthier Right-wing alternative, is to get rid of the idea of simple answers and One Big Idea thinking in themselves. These tend toward human projection, where we pretend that our desires are a good substitute reality instead of merely a part of it.
There are no easy answers to the problems that we face. History is a lesson, let us learn by our mistakes. A wise man once said these things, and they remain true. We can only learn from the past, avoid the pointless simplifications, and live for the best of humanity instead of trying to save the worst.