2010: The Alt-Right Was Trying To Get Off The Ground

Here is a second excerpt from a book I’m working on: Rad-Trad, Meet Alt-Right.  It is a work that will discuss how the Alt-Right formed, what it was, and what it has become.  This particular passage is from a section that discusses what went through the mind of the Right in the year 2010.  This was an interesting year because the mainstream Right was witnessing the failure of the Tea Party, and Ron Paul was a fantasy candidate for the 2012 presidential election who lacked the fire and brimstone necessary for a virile Republican victory.  And while this drama was being played out, the inchoate Alt-Right philosophy was solidifying into a new form. 

Again, this is a first draft.  But I thought I’d share it with y’all.

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Looking back to shortly after Obama’s victory, former president Bush came out in December 2008 to publicly defend himself, stating: “I’ve abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.”  But by 2010, Republicans discovered they were too late to break with George W. Bush’s economic policies.  Their sluggish response cost them and the country dearly.

Anyone to the right of CNN in America held a widespread sense of crisis and anxiety about the future.  Yet, the Tea Party–that gaggle of elderly, clean, wholesome red-white-and-blue protesters–failed to produce tangible results.  A Rolling Stone Magazine reporter, Matt Taibbi, infiltrated a Tea Party rally in Kentucky that year.  He ridiculed the “teabaggers,” glibly stating that: “Seemingly every third person in the place is sucking oxygen from a tank or propping their giant atrophied glutes on motorized wheelchair-scooters.”  Later that year in 2010, a collection of elected “Tea Party” congressmen submitted a conservative plan to restrict earmarks.  The result?  They were thwarted and stabbed in the back by Senator Mitch McConnell and the GOP Establishment.

Yet as far as mainstream America was concerned, it seemed as if informed Americans would be ready to boot President Obama out of office by the time of the future 2012 presidential election.  Yet the first black president was a formidable challenge.  Obama’s strength was his complete lack of hesitation to utilize identity politics against his white Republican opponents.  Defeating him in an election would require a special kind of philosopher-king.  Most Republican candidates appeared to be susceptible to selling out to one degree or another.  Yet, one man approached the presidential ticket who was a complete outsider.  With a sharp mind and revolutionary ideas, this leader seemed to have thought of solutions to many of the problems that troubled American governmental policy.

That candidate’s name was Ron Paul.

Yet, unsatisfied with Ron Paul and the mainstream trend set by the Tea Party, other thinkers meanwhile plied their ideas together in a less conspicuous fashion.  Taki’s Magazine (Takimag) was an online magazine created by 73-year old, Greek-born, paleoconservative journalist Taki Theodoracopulos, who had set out to, as he put it, “shake up the stodgy world of so-called ‘conservative’ opinion.”  In fact, in 2009, two articles actually called out the Alt-Right by name: Economism in the Alt Right by Patrick J. Ford, and Whither the Alternative Right? by Jack Hunter.

Both of these articles on Takimag compared Ron Paul’s fiscal direction to the paleoconservative anti-immigration aims of Patrick Buchanan.  While these writers enjoyed observing how the nationalist-isolationist aims of Buchanan morphed and evolved into the libertarian-isolationist direction of Ron Paul, both found Paul wanting.  It was clear that focusing on the economy would not be enough, and that the Right needed to pay attention to cultural issues, as Patrick Ford explained:

“Cutting taxes, reducing spending, abolishing federal departments, and ending the Fed are all noble causes as the country flirts with economic insolvency. But the market doesn’t provide solutions for a country that is quickly approaching moral and social bankruptcy.”

Ron Paul’s attitude of fiscal responsibility was a healing balm in contrast to the mad spending proclivities of most congressmen, but it was not enough.  The trend of conservative right-wing thinking was tasteless pablum.

Compelled to act, in early 2010, former contributor for Takimag, Richard Spencer, had split off to begin his own new website: Alternativeright.com.  One of the first articles by Richard Hoste titled Why An Alternative Right Is Necessary, discussed the intellectual hollowness of the modern-day conservative movement.   Specifically, though many public figures had called for it, there was no “conversation about race” in the United States—only one-sided Leftist sermonizing.  Anyone on the Right who dared to appear contrarian to the accepted liberal dogma was silenced and shamed through political correctness.  As Hoste argued,

“There’s an important semantic purpose behind the name Alternative Right. When you live in a society in which you’d like to change the entire idea-making establishment, it makes little sense to call yourself a ‘conservative.’  On the other hand, we shouldn’t do away with the term completely, as there is something inherently conservative about seeking a political and social culture that is a better fit with human nature than the one we currently have.”

Richard Spencer, his writers, and those of his nearby circles would continue to write about identitarianism.  After all, the Left in the United States had been using identity politics against conservative white Americans for years.  Yet there were many more issues besides the topic of race realism that longed to be discussed on the Right.

Spencer’s free-wheeling discussions of formerly undiscussable race topics made him an intellectual shock trooper.  He and others would break some of the most severe taboos with their writing.  They no longer cared what the Left would think of them.  Race realism was merely the first of many targets for the Intellectual Right, and though ethnonationalism was Spencer’s particular monomania, he did manage to carve a societal path for others to discuss other taboo topics.

Whether Spencer and company’s intentions were for good or ill, the very act of breaching the race topic was akin to using a battering ram on a locked door.  This idea of adopting a virile, aggressive, unapologetic tone was translated to other intellectuals—and often, the race realist narrative was left behind.  Soon, other writers and thinkers were beginning to question many things taken for granted in America and the West, such as immigration, democracy, and even the Enlightenment.  A floodgate was being opened.

At this point in 2010, the question was: How long until the rest of the mainstream caught up?  How much longer would the rest of the Right Wing tout and parade shallow, uninspiring ideas?  How long until the others dared to open their minds to formerly locked topics?  The Left had controlled the narrative and vocabulary for so long.  It left one asking himself: “Has everyone but me been turned into a politically correct zombie?”

One Comment on “2010: The Alt-Right Was Trying To Get Off The Ground”

  1. this looks promising. it’s a history that needs to be told now and by “us” or it’ll fade from memory. And it’s a history that, of course, can be presented neither knowledgebly nor fairly by mainstream actors. good on you for doing this. will buy.

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