Dave Weigel’s otherwise solid analysis linked Steve Sailer and Jared Taylor as “alt right” or “race realists”, which made me very nervous. Yes, Steve is an influential writer at Taki and VDare, and I thought he was well-represented in that piece. But Steve is a writer whose primary sin is that of noticing, as he often says. He’s snarky and sarcastic and occasionally brutal, but if he’s a racial separatist, the sentiments don’t make their way into his writing. Jared Taylor is a political activist with explicit goals of giving individuals and businesses the legal right to self-segregate. If these two are in the same region, it should be a very large one. Weigel makes it sound small.
A December piece by Rosie Gray that I reread after listening to her on NPR does the best job of capturing “alt-right” beliefs. Jared Taylor, who I heard for the first time on that same NPR show, strongly approved of Gray’s work and didn’t mention anything about the reassuring (to me) fact that Gray omits Steve Sailer. She gives plenty of space to some major players in what is clearly a fringe movement, capturing both the beliefs and the behavior, while allowing conservative pro-Trump folks like Coulter and Limbaugh a chance to clarify whether or not they were part of the alt-right, rather than just assuming it. I learned a few things–that The Cathedral , as Moldbug calls it, is their Synagogue, and how “echo” links to the multiple parentheses. Gray even explains the frog.
Up last is my favorite of the three alt-right descriptions by TA Frank, How the Alt Right Became the Party of Hate. While Gray reports from the inside, Frank examines the movement’s path from unknown to mainstream, spotting this Evan Osnos piece as the initial piece connecting Trump to the alt-right, and pointing out that Breitbart is “nowhere near” the alt-right, linked to them only through its “biggest provocateur, Milo”. Frank’s piece often delights, for example: He was not reading Carl Schmitt. Neither is Bannon. And neither is the 70-year-old billionaire for whom Bannon is now working. (Trump’s staffers would be lucky to get their boss to read his own policy papers.)
But more importantly, from my admittedly self-absorbed perspective, Frank likewise portrays the “alt-right issue” as one of different regions. The alt-right–white-nationalist, anti-Semitic, democracy doubting– is fringe, a tiny country with rocky terrain and few friendly neighbors. Another region, according to Franks, is white resentment and tension as more whites struggle economically, while thanks to continuing progressive disparagement makes them feel under attack. In my geography the men’s rights movement, neoreaction, the Dark Enlightenment proper, all live here. This region is, I believe, consistent with what Breitbart writer Milo considers the alt-right–and, possibly, accounts for the behavior problems mentioned above.
The third region contains the people who notice and describe the denial ferociously practiced by those responsible for our nation’s social policies. In this world lives Ron Unz, hbdchick, Razib Khan, Jason Richwine, JayMan, Greg Cochrane, VDare magazine (I think), John Derbyshire, Steve Sailer, and, yeah, me. People in this space have either suffered professionally for their opinions and writings, or are anonymous because they fear repercussions. But it’s their opinions, not their political objectives or behaviors, that are at issue.
The three regions don’t overlap much. The first two read the third, but the reverse is less common. The first two are safely described as alt-right. The third is the one that is cause for disagreement.
What binds the three regions, why they think of themselves as related in some way, is not anti-Semitism, not racism, (or “race realism”), not men’s rights, not separatism, not political objectives. I can’t stress this enough.