Monday, November 21, 2016

Dude Who Coined 'Alt-Right' Says It's a White Nationalist Movement

  Obviously the meanings of terms often develop in ways neither intended nor foreseen by those who coin them (see, notoriously, 'pragmatism'). But it's significant that Richard Spencer, the guy who coined the term 'alt-right', says that the alt-right is a white nationalist movement.
   Oh, also the guy is basically a Nazi.
   And I don't mean that as humorous hyperbole, but as an actual description of the guy's position.
   So there's that.
   Incidentally, Bannon disagrees about the alt-right. From the same story:
“Our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment,” he told The Journal, adding that the alt-right had “some racial and anti-Semitic overtones.” [my emphasis]
Also incidentally, compare this to the actual WSJ story:
He acknowledges that the site is “edgy” but insists it is “vibrant.” He offers his own definition of the alt-right movement and explains how he sees it fitting into Breitbart. “Our definition of the alt-right is younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment.”
But he says Breitbart is also a platform for “libertarians,” Zionists, “the conservative gay community,” “proponents of restrictions on gay marriage,” “economic nationalism” and “populism” and “the anti-establishment.” In other words, the site hosts many views. “We provide an outlet for 10 or 12 or 15 lines of thought—we set it up that way” and the alt-right is “a tiny part of that.” Yes, he concedes, the alt-right has “some racial and anti-Semitic overtones.” He makes clear he has zero tolerance for such views. [my emphases]
   Yeah, it's important to include those bold bits. Very important. Yet the NYT leaves them out. Funny, eh? 
   I've got no fixed opinion of Bannon. Nor on the alt-right. I occasionally read stuff at Breitbart if a link takes me there. It seems like a pretty typical right-wing site to me. And IMO: right-wing sites tend to be more overtly nutty than roughly equivalent left-wing sites. However, they're not wrong about everything. Not by a long shot, actually. E.g. they're unabashedly anti-PC, while many mainstream = liberal sites are still publishing piece after piece to the effect that (a) PC does not exist / (b) there is no precise definition of 'PC' so the term is meaningless / (c) PC is mere politeness / (d) anyone who is anti-PC is racist / (e) PC is actually obligatory. Which is not to say that there's not a bunch of crazy stuff on Breitbart. Which should go without saying. But you know how things are.
   Anyway, there's that. I expect that the alt-right is a motley collection of views. But it's a new term, and not worth fighting over. Sounds like it was conceived in sin, and the non-Nazis ought to find a new term. People who like Milo, for example, seem to me to mostly be farbling liberal/leftist pieties, sounding out idols, all that sort of thing. And they're largely right to do so. Raise up stupidities and proclaim them inviolable, and people--especially a certain type of young person--is going to start poking at them. That's what I would have done at that age. Hell, that's what I do now. If you don't want your pieties poked, then don't pietize stupid shit. It's pretty simple, really. 
   Anyway, sometimes its worth fighting over words, and sometimes it isn't. It isn't worth fighting over this word. My advice to the alt-right is: let the Nazis have it. Find a new one. I'm never going to really get along with you-all, but I do want to make common cause with you in the fight against the anti-liberal left. (Unless you actually want to fraternize with Nazis, in which case fuck off.) Both the Nazis and the anti-liberal left are going to want to paint swastikas on you--so you better block that shit right now. (Unless, again, you're happy with that. In which case: see above.)

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