Who are the conservatives? Let's examine the conservative minds, the various types of conservative, how they think, and their legacy. We shall see that conservatives of different stripes all agree on this: they are superior and right and the rest of the world is inferior and wrong!
The Alternative-Right: The Worst of the Worst!
Sieg Heil! Amerika as the Fourth Reich and Aryan Male Paradise.
They're back! Oh, great.
Despite a few dubious overtures in the wrong direction by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, there has been no serious fascist threat within America since, oh, the last time conservatism went completely off the rails of justice during the free-for-all bullying, including lynchings, of African Americans during the 1960s. Since then there has been a continually simmering toxic brew down in the bowels of society and sporadic tragic episodes, but no fully organized and recognized political movement which would bring such unsavory beliefs and behavior right out in the open and into the halls of power. But that has changed. The toxic gruel has bubbled into the mainstream. Say hello to the Alternative-Right.
If you were to gather up all white conservatives, then flush out everyone with a modicum of human decency, you'd end up with something akin to the Alt-Right. The Alt-Righters basically come in one color: white, and two flavors: Nazi and near-Nazi. Wouldn't you know, they hate each other.
The Alt-Right likes to think of itself as something new and exciting. It's not. It's old and oh, so tiresome. Hasn't human culture evolved away from this kind of self-flagellating dysfunction and downright meanness yet? Nope! So long as there is a nice, moist spot for conservative ideology in society, there is ever the opportunity for such a fascist black mold to flourish.
So what makes them "alternative" anyway? Oh, this is where they will tell you how "dangerously bright" they are, how intellectual, how ironic, how colorful, how cutting edge, how tech-savvy, how flamboyant, how politically incorrect, they just want to have fun being dangerous in their racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, anti-immigrant and militantly nationalist orientations. "Oh, no, no, no, we are not racists or sexists, we're controversial." Yet they are mostly a motley collection of immature, bullying twerps that blends downward into vicious nationalists. They are the slayers of "identity politics" who wallow in "identity politics." They are would-be dominators who hate "victims," while blubbering about what victims they are. They are the fierce Aryan warriors who have been beaten down by... girls. The best these clumsy anti-Semites and homophobes could find for a flashy snakeoil salesman is a half-Jewish homo with a black boyfriend, which Milo Yiannopoulos loves to point out as proof positive of the movement's happy inclusiveness, rather than because of its dearth of other halfway coherent spokespersons, or perhaps for the devilish delight in the spectacle of such a betrayer of his own folk serving as useful fool to the movement as he sells his soul for fame and fortune. Yet in his cartoonish way, Milo emblemizes the utter dementedness of the Alt-Right.
Yes, the poor white, straight, male darlings... they've had it rough in America. For hundreds of years they could bully whomever they wanted, and then "political correctness" swept in on liberal wings and took their country away from them (while they were guzzling bad beer and watching reruns of Father Knows Best). Like spoiled brats, they are going to throw a temper trantrum to get it back. Yet let us not relax as we see behind the malicious but juvenile vacuity of perhaps the majority of this movement's participants. There are a lot of young, conservative males strewn across the country to whom this white, male glorifying and empowering ideology is very enticing. To high school or college chumps who can't get a girl, calling them "feminazis" soothes their self-esteem, while the prospect of a "white genocide" stirs their anxiety and... anger. A writer at the American Conservative quotes one Christian school student as lamenting, "It has swallowed up most of the guys in the senior class." And, of coruse, further right are much nastier people, real neo-Nazis who are aching for a civil war through which they will either take "their" country back, or destroy it in the process.
What makes them "alternative" to more polite conservative society is that they are very plain-spoken and blatant in their white selfishness and illusions of martially-backed domination. It's all about the white, baby! Oh, and gender. Females are to be seen (and felt) but not heard, and should hold no power whatsoever. Did the women of the Vikings or Germanic Tribes have any rights? Uh, no. Sure you might find a few non-whites, even females, pathetically mingling amongst the pale trolls for giggles and a pitiably desperate reach for self-esteem, but this movement is dead serious about restoring white, male supremacy across America. The black, brown and gay fops who dally with this mob will be among the first gassed when the Alt-Right comes fully into its new Reich.
Social conservatives are often racist, but they don't perceive that they are. They think of themselves as decent people, albeit proudly of the white persuasion. Even they buy into a whole lot more liberal values than they imagine, such as the relatively new and novel liberal concept of treating women as fully human and deserving of at least some rights. They look across the changing landcape of America and may be somewhat alarmed by the darkening skintone as the overall cultural tapestry becomes, shall we say, more colorful, and they can be stirred by charlatans to fret about Mexicans or Muslims out to get them; they may raise their eyebrows at liberal cultural evolution that apparently wants to set everyone free: blacks, non-Christians (even atheists, oh my!), gays, lesbians, transgenders, and even animals, too (hell, the liberals want to take way our "sport" of hunting, and even the meat on our tables! But SoCons are more likely to get really fired up about their sports team's triumphs and agonies. They certainly have no interest whatsoever in a Race War. But Alt-Righters are proudly, openly racist, full-voiced white supremacists, and fully and urgently energized to restore white culture. If it takes Race War to achieve this goal, what are we waiting for? Of course, the fairy Alt-Righters will watch the mayhem on their device screens, and after it is all over deny any "real" commitment to the failed cause.
The true origin of this most recent incarnation of semi-organized selfishness, stupidity and intolerance is rather hazy. Some credit/blame the rhetoric and positions of "paleoconserative" Pat Buchanan, while others point to libertarian Ron Paul as inspiring influences, dating back well over a decade. But true Alt-Righters have scorn for any conservative who doesn't put race first. These people are traitors to their own culture. The worst are CorpCons, who the Alt-Right understands would sell out their country, their planet... and worst of all, their race, for an extra sheckle. The Alt-Right term for these traitors is "cuckservative." It's a mashup of the word conservative with "cuckhold," which is the husband of an adultress, in other words a loser. OK, it's clunky and not very creative; conservatives of any kind never are; but it's the best the Alt-Right could do. The better alternative word for their purpose was staring them in the face: suckservative. Instantly more understandable, as well as more lyrical and alliterative. But they went with cuckservative and they've come to love the term. "Cuck" this, "cuck" that. Expect it to be a new dictionary entry soon, and one pontificated widely in the media.
A guy named Richard Spencer claims to have coined the term "Alt-Right," controls the website "AlternativeRight.com," and remains one of the movement's leading figures. He claims not to be a Nazi. Apparently even within the Alt-Right some, especially the leaders, have qualms about aligning too closely with one of history's most evil ideologies. But, hey, if it waddles and quacks like a Nazi, it's a Nazi. Spencer is the "ironic" and "fun" individual who upon the election of Donald Trump proclaimed, "Hail Trump, Hail our People, Hail Victory!" and gave the Sieg Heil salute (Seig Heil meaning Hail Victory). He covets a genetically pure homeland, employs Nazi propaganda, denounces Jews, calls for ethnic cleansing, and has refused to condemn Adolph Hitler.
"So there are Nazis on board, but pish-posh, we are so much more fun and lovable than just that," slightly milder Alt-Righters would demand. That would include much, if not all, of the cheery staff at Breitbart (so-called) News. Helped along by a few scummy and juvenile bloggers and chat sites, it is clear that Breitbart has been the primary hub of the wider Alt-Right movement. Following the sudden death in 2012 of founder Andrew Breitbart, a rabidly conservative Jew who was not actually an alt-right zealot (though he was certainly despicable enough as a purveyor of alt-facts), Stephen Bannon took over Breitbart News and steered it more fully into conspiracy theories, more radical conservatism, and finally into Alt-Right, white supremacist territory.
Bannon is the whale of the Alt-Right. All others are minnows, whether they know it or not. He is the real deal in terms of "dangerously bright," while sideshow whores like Milo Yiannopoulos, not remotely as fabulous or clever as they dream, are mere entertainment and progaganda pawns, fumbling and stumbling to not quite spill the full racist perspective while they dodge and weave behind a fuselage of straight-on insults or catty put-downs served in a British accent. Bannon is a former Naval officer, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He worked at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Bannon was involved in the film business, executive producing more than a dozen films, including several partisan conservative offerings. Working on one of these, about Ronald Reagan, he met Andrew Breitbart. Bannon was there at the formation of Breitbart News, and as executive chair of the news channel in 2016, Bannon declared it "the platform for the Alt-Right." To be sure, Bannon is interested in more than white supremacy. He also holds disdain for Muslims, Jews, liberals (of course), uppity women, and, like a good Libertarian, the government.. and its "ruling class" (whether Democrat or Republican). He is reported to have claimed to be "Leninist... Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal too." He has expressed praise for Mussolini-style fascism, as well as for Russia's Vladimir Putin, insofar as these political figures support the "underpinnings of nationalism." Importantly, Bannon rejects liberal notions that society can actually make progress or achieve any real equality. But he also takes direct aim at some conservatives; he disdains the Ayn Rand-style libertarians, holds contempt for the neocons who drove George W. Bush's administration, and is vehemently anti-CorpCon. If he, not Timothy Geitner, had been advising Obama at the nadir of the Great Recession, as the prime perpetrators, the Big Banks, were giving each other bonuses... the tarred-and-feathered carcasses of a gaggle of Brooks Brothers-suited financiers would have been hanging from gantries up and down Wall Street. Trump, himself, is conflicted. He fully shares Bannon's disdain for many of his fellow New Yorkers, who have repeatedly shunned him socially and denied him loans (rightfully, given his bad business record), and yet he pines for the same deregulation that all CorpCons crave in order to... well, take everyone else to the cleaners. Republicans of just about every stripe should feel very uneasy about Mr. Bannon. Though fully conservative, this ghostlike character who has suddenly wafted, unanticipated, uninvited and uncredentialed, into the very halls of power, beleives in a different kind of Dominator Hierarchy than most of them do. And neither Bannon or Trump has any record of or desire to compromise.
Bannon certainly holds a full hand of, shall we say, unorthodox beliefs, but he is way too clever to get scuttled as an extremist, even if he is some form of such, and someone who boldly claims he wants to "destroy the state" certainly would seem to qualify. Yet Bannon officially claims to be an "economic nationalist" dedicated to "deconstructing the administrative state," with these slippery descriptions absolving himself from direct connection to white supremacy or even the Alt-Right that he has thoroughly championed. It nevertheless leaves us wondering exactly what tone and timbre his "nationalism" will take, and how far that "deconstruction" will go. He reportedly is enamored by a socio-economic history theory that proclaims that America and most modern societies go through a four-way cycle of awakening-renewal, growth-flourishing, unraveling-decay, and collapse-crisis, each stage lasting around 20-25 years. The last stage is termed the "fourth turning." Is Bannon attempting to usher in a fourth turning, or a Fourth Reich? Nobody seems entirely sure, but the Alt-Right is betting on the latter. Ominously, Trump, himself, seems to lend credence to this possibility in his insistence that it is the mainstream press that is lying (not him, ten times a day), that the media (the liberal media, he means) is the "enemy of the people." So far he has refrained from using the Nazi word for the exact same thing, lugenpresse, "lying press," yet treads right into authoritarian-takeover tactical ground that Göring and Goebbels knew well.
All of this might remain of little interest or concern if not for Donald Trump hand-picking Bannon to be the chief executive of his presidential campaign. Bannon was the third leader of Trump's campaign, replacing Paul Manafort who was fired when his Russian connections became a little too hot; Manafort had earlier replaced Corey Lewandowski, who was fired after allegedly assaulting a female Breitbart reporter. It is unclear whether any particular Bannon strategy helped Trump's election as nothing really seemed to change throughout Trump's chaotic, improbable run, but obviously Bannon did nothing to hurt Trump's chances. Win he did, and one of the first things President-Elect Donald Trump did was name Bannon "senior counselor and chief strategist to the President." Trump also appointed Bannon as a member of the National Security Council, an unprecedented and highly criticized move. The NSC, whose sole mission is national security, has traditionally not included political strategists. The fact that Bannon has maneuvered his way on to the NSC is problematical. Many political observers believe it strongly suggests that Bannon is Trump's alpha advisor, the valve through which all communication with the president will funnel and be interpreted, including information from other elected officials and even generals. It is probably not accurate to think that Bannon is to Trump as Karl "Turd Blossom" Rove was to George W. Bush. "Bush's Brain" at least had a functioning adult to deal with with, albeit one whose most precious passion in the wide world was... baseball; Bannon has as his plaything a tempestuous child who is irretrievably lost in mesmerization with... his own image. There is already evidence that Trump will rubber-stamp, without bothering to fully read, an executive order that Bannon puts in front of him (in fact sources within the White House have leaked that this is how Bannon got himself on to the NSC). With growing surety (as if it was in much doubt before his election) that Trump is completely ignorant of and cannot be bothered with the details of governance, we are faced with the chilling prospect that Stephen Bannon is the de-facto President of the United States!
If so, it is not the Republican Party that presides over the White House, it is the Alternative-Right. This would be a stunning and deeply troubling turn of events in the minds of most sane Americans, a shadow takeover of their government by an ideology that they were somehow never properly introduced to during the electoral process, and by a single individual who most Americans had never heard of aand Bannon plan to run roughshod over both Republican and Democratic core principles. He is vowing to ram through a trillion dollar infrastructure stimulus program, Big Government involvement to actually create jobs and help people, something that the conservatives vehemently condemn, refusing to even give Obama $700 billion when it was most desperately needed in the smoldering ruins of the 2008 financial collapse. Of course, this could be a big Trojan Horse where all the infrastructure being paid for by We the People ends up being owned by private corporations. He also wants Big Government to boss corporations around, telling them how to run their business and threatening to punish them if they want to move their factories out of the country, and he plans to use the Big Government to bully Big Pharma into lowering its obscence prices. He even wants paid leave for workers. Minus the privitazation possibility, the Left would approve of most of this, while Republican throats must be gagging. But then Trumpism infuriates liberals by his continued Pied Piper schtick on building his Great Wall of El Stupido, already moving to eviscerate the Environmental Protection Agency, and wants to put the pedal to the metal in heating up the climate even further by egging on the fossil fuel industry, particularly coal, the No. 1 cause of Global Warming. Then there is the "repeal and replace" Obamacare.. "with something much better," he promised again and again. That "something better" seems to be melting by the day back to some melange of the Republicans' long time loser idea of tax breaks and "health care savings accounts," neither of which would come close to taking care of a really sick person. Healthcare it is not. It only soothes conservative ideology.
But if we can tell by their partying, the Alt-Righters think they have control of the White House, whether through Bannon or Trump, or both. Indeed, they are giddy. Yiannopolous, the queen Alt-Right flame-thrower, who calls Trump, "Daddy," embarked after the election on a prancing provocateur celebration tour, spewing lies, distortions and insults on college campuses (often attended by protests, at least one shooting and one riot) and media appearances, until he was flattened by one of his own old flippancies, condoning pedophilia. "I'm grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn't give nearly such good head if it wasn't for him."
That got Yiannopoulos uninvited to speak at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) convention, and then Simon & Schuster dropped his autobiography project, and then he was thrown under the bus by Breitbart. Ouch, ouch and ouch. So much for conservative loyalty... and respect for free speech. But never fear; Yiannopoulos will be back soon. There is ever a ready market in conservative-land for those who will tell the selfish what they want to hear, even from someone they'd like to beat the hell out of. Meanwhile the party goes on at Breitbart and throughout Alt-Rightistan.
There is a torrid love affair between Trump and the Alt-Right. When he started talking about "taking our country back," buildling walls, kicking out Mexicans, refusing entry to Muslims, and spouting some of Ron Paul's anti globalist dogma, that was more than a dog whistle... it was red meat. They began salivating all over themselves. Some of them consider Trump their Aryan warrior champion, a prophecy coming to fruition of a "strongman" who will rise from the ashes of a failed democracy and install a righteous dictatorship that will brutally restore white men to the full power and prestige that they deserve. You can image how this plays in Trump's simplistic, narcisstic, bullyboy mind which is addicted to and craves respect and adoration. They are the ultimate fanboys, and mercilessly cyber-flame anyone the Donald chooses to disparage. They'll be the first in line when Trump begins handing out the brown shirts. Well, the skinheads will be; the only courage the twerp brigade can summon is from the safety of their Twitter accounts or Anime avatar.
Trump's victory and subsequent quasi-fascist executive orders have emboldened the racists, anti-Semites and xenophobes... all potential Alt-Right sympathasizers. Trump's campaign-long scorn for Mexicans and Muslims is taken as just the starter course, and as tacit approval for the fascists to target other traditional victims as well. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported close to one thousand cases of bullying in just the first two weeks after the election. Since then there have been many more. Blacks, Jews, LGBT people, Muslims and Latinos have been targeted. Anti-Semitic intimidation has been among the worse. Surprise, surprise! Multiple Jewish centers have received bomb threats, and Jewish cemeteries have been vandalized.
The term we use here for the primary entity that all of conservatism wishes to "conserve" is the Dominator Hierarchy. Nowhere better than in the Alt-Right can you see this so clearly. Of course conservatism is a spectrum, and the Alt-Right represents at close to its extreme (there could be even worse). Yet that's the essential problem. The Alt-Right and fascism are merely conservative ideology taken to its logical extreme. It is a magnified, blatant and stark example of the vileness of basic conservative selfishness, fear, prejudice, greed, authoritarianism and the ever lurking propensity for violence. On the spectrum of conservatism, it starts bad and just gets worse as you travel to the right. The Alt-Right just takes socio-economic conservatism to its logical conclusion: fascism.
Any conservative who is dismayed or alarmed by the antics of the Alt-Right should take a long look in the mirror and do some soul searching, for these are just your more fundamental, more "pure," ideological kin. The only reason you are not like them is because you are more... liberal!
Of course, few conservatives can do that. Admitting you are wrong is not in the conservative playbook. Apologies from the right for anything the Alt-Right or fascists do, or have ever done, is not going to be forthcoming.
Instead... the traditional, tried-and-true conservative way to deal with this troubling new/old impulse in their midst is to lie... and blame it on the liberals! Take a look at this!
More on Steve Bannon: