The Origins of the Alt-Right and the Excluded of Society
An ideology that excludes people cannot function sustainably.
When a society seeks to push away large swathes of its own population, we see a backlash. This was evident during the French Revolution, the anti-colonial rebellions throughout the 20th century, and in the reactions towards left-wing hegemony. What has become clear is that exclusion cannot be the basis of a society – but why, what is the cost if this warning is not heeded?
A stable society requires that all stakeholders are included in some way. This is the essence of democracy. A just society requires a sense of inclusiveness.
It is not so much that decisions need to be made through consensus, but that all stakeholders within a society feel that they are a part of said society. This can be accomplished through civic education, but also through costless mechanism such as simply allowing the vote or not actively working against said group politically. But even without a desire for justice, a society always needs this sense of inclusion, or we descend into rebellion and chaos.
If you don’t include people in a society, they will work against that society.
This becomes worse when entire groups are, as it is called, ‘disenfranchised’ from the institutions of a society. Individuals, too, often feel excluded from society, but this cannot be avoided. There are many that feel depressed, hard done by, or simply do not gel with a society. They are seldom a threat (but can be, with the case of lone wolf school shooters). The real threat is in the disenfranchisement of people based on group criteria.
When group criteria is used to exclude, especially based on something as arbitrary as race or gender, then those who are excluded based on the criteria will band together. It isn’t because they have any natural inclination towards unity, but simply because adversity from the outside does push people together. It is simply human survival instincts at play.
This is seen very poignantly in the creation of the European Jewish identity.
In response to the dictates and abuses of European society over the Jewry, communities of Jewish people banded together to defend one another and help each other. The Jewish community in Europe was tight-knit purely due to adversity. One could say that anti-Semites constructed the Jewish identity.
The Jewish community, in hindsight, didn’t suffer from banding together (but no doubt suffered from the exclusion and abuses by the states). What did suffer, however, were the societies that lost the loyalties of crucial stakeholders.
The goal of a civilization is to unify the populace along lines greater than arbitrary group criteria. Civilization seeks to turn tribes based around race, ethnicity, and religion into citizens under the greater idea of a united humanity seeking prosperity and progress.
But, like everything, civilisation is fallible.
Those with tribal mindsets do rise to power in civilisation, and seek to destroy it.
Hitler and the Nazis sought to destroy civilisation and replace European society with tribes. The same goes for many societies afterward and before. Apartheid itself was a tribal-based system. But often, even ideologies that claim to be against the tribe end up perpetuating it.
Communism in Russia was meant to be an egalitarian experiment. Anyone with a vague understanding of history will know that it turned out to be anything but.
Even with the atrocious economic ideas of the communists, it could have still constructed some semblance of a civilization (albeit a bad one). But it didn’t. To maintain power, Lenin and Stalin both took advantage of tribes. This time, the tribes were the kulaks, who spat in the face of the communist tribe.
Communism actively excluded groups. It actively excluded those who wanted to function in a free economy, or think freely, or worship freely.
A limitation of my article is that the idea of a ‘tribe’ is broad. This is not too much of a problem, however. Our understanding of humans and what unites us had to be broad. We are not only divided by race, gender or arbitrarily-assigned ethnicity, but also by class, religion, interests, ideology and goals. I purport that the latter categories divide us more than the former.
Today, there is active exclusion in many of the institutions of our civilisations.
In South Africa, we have institutionalised racism. No, not that bogeyman that the vitriolic left love to lie about; this is a very real and substantive set of legislation called “Black Economic Empowerment” which actively excludes whites and other non-majority population groups from the economy.
Moreover, the government participates actively in fostering hatred towards whites as a means to distract the populace from political corruption. They don’t realise that there is always a tipping point, however.
Another group that is only now beginning to realise that there is a tipping point to exclusion is the vitriolic left, the social justice warriors, the intersectional critical theorists who infect our campuses and echelons of our government and legal frameworks.
There has been a worldwide backlash against the left, not all taking a form that I would like – but that is the inevitability of tribal politics.
The left created a world vision that excluded white men, so white men banded together into their own tribe to combat them.
I’m too much of an ultra-individualist to ever support the formation of tribes, but I can understand why it is done. It is simply a reaction to attacks, don’t lie to yourself if you think otherwise – the left is attacking the white man.
When I was doing English as an elective in my first year at university, I was subjected to an hour-long lecture apologising for doing Albert Camus as a set work simply because he was a white man.
The course was constantly attacked by “fallists” (South Africa’s rough equivalent of Black Lives Matter) as being dominated by “old, dead, white men” despite only three of the around twenty authors being white men, and one of them being a communist.
Our academia wants to eliminate all mention of Shakespeare, the veritable father of the English language and literature, just because he is white and male. People like Anita Sarkeesian have risen to celebrity status because of their blatant attacks on people merely based on their gender – going as far as suggesting a gendercide against men.
I cannot blame people who feel threatened. I honestly can’t blame those people who believe South Africa is under threat of a “white genocide,” despite evidence to the contrary.
It is natural to be fearful – especially when all the rhetoric being aired is designed to fuel this fear and actively exclude.
Every action has a reaction, and the active exclusion of white males from the society that leftists want to construct has met a reaction, as seen in Charlottesville and the rise of the “alternative right” and “Meninist” movements.
I disagree vehemently with the “Alt-Right,” and don’t see this as some sort of disclaimer to try to hide my guilt. I have been an active decrier of those short-sighted and edgy communitarians since day one. But it is important to know why they exist.
They exist because the left forced them to. The left forced them into a tribe as a need to survive in a society that seems to want to actively exclude and destroy them. Many white men are sick of being treated like oppressors regardless of their actions, and are sick of being abused because of their biology.
When edgy “Alt-Rightists” play Nazi, there may be genuine neo-Nazis among them, but I doubt that there are very many.
In reality, the “Alt-Right” is a tribe constructed to defend against a hateful narrative. As is unfortunately commonplace, the reaction to this narrative is even more hatred. But don’t forget that this is all a reaction. Without the left’s attacks, the “Alt-Right” would not have found enough people feeling disenfranchised to join their ranks.
It is right to condemn Nazis. They are a tribalistic ideology incongruent with civilisation. It is also right to condemn the left, whose active exclusion is tantamount to Nazism, not to mention their role in reviving neo-Nazism as an ideology.
Going forward, it is important to keep these events and all events of the past in mind when constructing a vision for society and our institutions. A society that excludes those who are a part of it will not stand. It will fall into tribalism, with everyone at each other’s throats.
Politics is the art of compromise, and society needs to find a way to compromise the desires of tribes so they can work towards a greater unifier – the pursuit of human liberty and prosperity.
Featured image: AJC.com
* Nicholas Woode-Smith is the Managing Editor of the Rational Standard, a South African classical liberal commentary site, and Regional Director of Southern Africa for Students For Liberty. He writes both pro-liberty commentary and science fiction from his home in Cape Town, South Africa.