Conservative, ultra-conservative, right wing, far right, extreme right, fascist, and neo-Nazi. The inevitable path down which anyone that, dares to to have a thought to the right of centre. It’s like the argument of the gateway drug, the slippery slope that leads every thirteen year old who starts smoking pot to be destined to become a rent boy in order to facilitate a crack addiction that spiraled rapidly out of control. From the moment you start to ask yourself “Do I understand the complexities of immigration?’ elements in society will make you feel as if you’ve only got somewhere between 12-18 months left before you’ll be goose stepping up and down the street, knocking on doors to ask if they are hiding any Muslims, Mexicans. or the ultimate spawn of Satan himself, Mexican Muslims.
The current sociopolitical atmosphere in the United States of America is unprecedented. Even going back to the dynamic and divisive times that surrounded the civil rights movement during the 1960’s, there has been no other political movement that has so rapidly established a footing in mainstream political discourse as the alt right has managed to do. The burden of history makes it understandable that whenever a branch of new right wing politics emerges, re-branding itself and appealing to the mainstream, people become alarmed. While there are elements of the alt right agenda that I do find it difficult to identify myself with, I find the visceral, mindless, and the hysterical response of the so called progressive liberals to be equally difficult to relate to. This new political paradigm seems to be one that suggests all of our problems can be solved through making the most simple binary choices, Trump or Hilary, pro-immigration or racist, pro LGBTQ rights or homophobia, feminist or sexist. A person who risks to voice an opinion that suggests an alternative view, no matter how mild, to a liberal agenda will often leave that person, pejoratively branded, like Hilary said as “deplorable”. But, these issues are far too complex to entertain the notion that they can be solved with simple, ‘either or’ reasoning. The all or nothing, black and white, binary approach to reason and debate has only has resulted in a political landscape in which the two sets of opinions have been polarized to the outer fringes of reason. To resolve such complex social challenges the level of debate needs to be more informed than ever
Last week I wrote about the alt-right poster boy, agent provocateur, polemicist and troll Milo Yiannopoulos following comments he’d made, over a year ago, on the age of consent. This involved watching a large number of videos and reading a number of articles that I had hitherto never been interested in being exposed to. It did however, become obvious to me rather quickly that the alt-right movement cites facts, and asks questions that deserve considered discussion as opposed to being shut down by large groups of emotional people throwing childlike tantrums. It also became obvious to me that the response following that blog strongly suggests this is an issue engaging an incredibly large number of people.
By now, it should also have become obvious to all of us that many of the issues that the alt-right are attempting to bring to people’s attention, some might even claim baiting the public with, are often multi faceted constructs which extend far beyond political ideology. To attempt to deal with this issue in a single blog would have all the superficial symbolism, of burning a bra or hurling a trashcan through a shop window. It is for this reason that during the month of March I intend to produce a series of four posts that will endeavor to objectively consider the arguments put forward by the alt-right, what they mean and whether they are worthy of the hysterical reactions so many of us have seen on the news. I hope to remain impartial at all times, which should mean that anyone twho reads this series of blogs will feel at one time or another, uncomfortable or offended. If your method of debate only extends as far as pulling out clumps of your own hair whilst shouting incomprehensible obscenities at the television, then what I’m going to write about over the coming month will not be to your taste. If however, you have a genuine interest in trying to understand this argument, no matter how perverse it might become, then I encourage that you come along for the ride, to make comments, and to start dealing with this issue like 21st century adults, not like two troops of opposing monkeys hurling their faeces at one another.
Before even really getting into this properly, following on the back of only the couple of weeks of research that I’ve already done, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to conclude that there are concerns and opinions on both sides of the argument that are valid. It is equally likely that there will be examples of opinions and reactions, of both sides, that to me will appear to demonstrate a deficiency of any informed reasoning. In essence, what I hope to be able to do is approach both sides of the argument with an equal degree of despair.
Over the course of the next four weeks I intend to address the following:
- define exactly what the alt-right is, the personalities that support the movement, and who they claim to be representing.
- Try to understand how the alt-right have made so much progress in such a short amount of time and just how powerful the alt-right has the potential to become, before looking at the values and topics that are at the core of their ideology.
- The alt rights views on Islam, immigration, sovereignty, feminism, freedom of speech and political correctness. While considering the opinions of the alt right on such issues it will be equally as important to consider the arguments that have been expressed challenging these opinions.
- A conclusion and n answer to the initial question: Is the Alternative Right Still Equally Wrong?
While writing these four posts I intend to challenge my own values by considering opinions that for my whole life I have always cast aside without giving them any thought. Failure to reason through the fallacies contained within a simple idea or a complex ideology, failure to engage in conversation with people that hold a different opinion is what has got us into the mess that we currently find ourselves in. If you are unable to challenge your own beliefs, if you are uncomfortable to defend them by answering questions, then what you have can’t be called a belief, nor would it be right to call it a value. All you might actually be clinging onto is nothing more a half understood idea.