To battle the alt-right, one must first understand the enemy and make no mistake, the alt-right is an enemy of true conservatism. The alt-right is basically the political progeny of those previously purged from conservatism by William F. Buckley. That should give conservatives heart since it was accomplished once and can be again.
But, first allow me to make a controversial comment. There can be found shreds of truth in some alt-right beliefs. For example:
- wanton acceptance of refugees certainly increases the chances of terrorists slipping through;
- open borders places a strain on social services and education;
- multiculturalism has weakened the common bonds that hold all Americans togther, and;
- Black Lives Matter is a radical black nationalist movement.
These are maybe a few areas. However, the solutions have nothing to do with conservatism. In fact, despite the sometimes conservative overlap, they actually have more in common with the Left. Both groups are great at manipulating the media; the mainstream media in the case of the Left, and social media in the case of the alt-right. Their basic philosophical beliefs, often called “radical realism,” is akin to the Left’s “microaggressions.”
Both groups have an over-reliance on identity politics. To the Left, everyone is part of a hyphenated group. The alt-right depends not on a coalition of hyphenated groups, but only one- white Americans, and then if you are of the correct religion (i.e, not Jewish).
Like the Left, true entitlement reform is absent from their set of solutions. They, like the Left, advocate for the expansion of a welfare state, but with one exception- for those of the right ethnicity. Like the Leftist policies of Bernie Sanders, they argue for a form of American isolationism. They reject the exceptionalism of the United States in global affairs. Their views toward Israel and the Middle East mesh nicely with that of the Left. Whereas the Left dresses it in humanitarian terms, the alt-right’s position is motivated by unabashed anti-Semitism.
True conservatism looks to the Constitution for guidance. The alt-right wants to shred the Constitution. To them, it and the Enlightenment thought that gave birth to it are quaint and outdated. True conservatism appeals to the aspirations of our Founders, not destroying the political order. That is why they view the country as a “blood and soil” country- one founded by and exclusively for a white, Christian population. True conservatism understands that our country was founded on an IDEA enshrined in our Founding documents. To the alt-right, America is just another country. True conservatism does not see individuals as belonging to “tribes,” but as each person having inherent worth (even the unborn) and equally worthy of achieving the “American dream.”
They may believe in Christendom, but not Christianity. To them, Christendom is what united the white European continent. But, their actions and rhetoric are anything but Christian. The alt-right’s solutions to the many problems facing this country are simple and simple-minded. True conservatism stresses that the solutions are to discovered in the beliefs of our Founding fathers, not the color of one’s skin.
As such, the alt-right is the immature, childish face of an old movement. They are anti-intellectual and, again like the Left, develop their rhetoric to appeal to the heart and emotions rather than the brain and rational thought. That is why they aspire to, in Nietzsche terms, “destroy all idols.” They are infantile and reactionary. And they are like a spoiled brat who doubles down on bad behavior when reprimanded. And quite frankly, they are not even anything new. The paleo-conservatism of Pat Buchanan comes to mind.
That being said, how does one combat and start the purge of the alt-right from conservatism in general and guilt by association with the GOP. No amount of condemnation is going to change them or shame them. In fact, it emboldens them. However, a massive educational campaign portraying the alt-right as being, at its core, a Leftist movement can pay double dividends.
Second, these people lurk in and network through the Internet and social media. Instead, of calling for bans and resorting to nonsensical (and dangerous) ideas like hate speech legislation, fight them on their territory. One of their more popular websites had rules for trolls. Release a massive army of true conservative trolls into their websites. Extol the virtues of Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell on one of their websites; that will keep them busy for three days with apoplexy. Use links and articles to prove a point. Inundate them with articles about how great Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio are; their heads might explode. Call George W. Bush the best President ever! But, do not overplay your hand because you want to return and not be blocked.
When they come into the real world to have rallies and marches, let them, but ignore them. This is virtually impossible in today’s 24/7 news cycle where we have citizen journalists with cameras on their cell phones. But imagine if 3,000 neo-Nazis show up and no one else. Talk about an echo chamber. Or better yet, instead of the antifa showing up looking to break some heads, imagine if they showed up and just laughed and made fun of them. Ridicule is a great weapon!
Most importantly, a “movement” cannot survive without money. Its nice that GoDaddy is disassociating itself from the repugnant Daily Stormer, but they will just resurface elsewhere. Instead, let it be known that if any violence occurs, if there is any destruction of property, or if anyone is injured, they will pay the financial cost (and this goes for Leftist groups and speakers also). Everyone of those injured in Charlottesville should sue the driver of that Dodge Charger and any group he was associated with. The chances of winning such a lawsuit would be slim, but that is not the point. The point is to hit them in the wallet no matter how much a nuisance the lawsuit may be. And conservative groups should step forward and foot some of the legal bills of the injured.
Some of their financing is through advertisements on social media. For example, for every 10,000 views of their YouTube videos, they get about $7.50. Some raise money by linking to Amazon where they get a commission for directing traffic that way. Advertise these sources of income and let the marketplace take care of it.