What’s the difference between the New Right and the Alt-Right?
Don’t be confused by similar names and alleged timing, the New Right or Alt-Right are very different.
The New Right is a right-leaning populist and nationalist political coalition of contrarians, meme magicians, disaffected Democrats and Republicans, and disappointed conservatives. What seems to unite them is a belief that the status quo hasn’t worked. Currently, the New Right is united by tactics and a loose network that can be found on internet social networking platforms. Its strategic aims and ideological pinnings have not yet settled.
The New Right: Extreme Tactics for Center-Right Politics
While “America first” is at the core of this young movement, its members and leaders have yet to agree on tenets that will continue to hold them together. Don’t let the love for all that is Americana be confused with cultural traditionalism which holds large numbers in the Republican Party and the social conservative movement. The New Right refuses to be relegated to the past and does not embrace even a Pat Buchanan-level of protectionism. The media, failing to recognize the subtle differences between a love for retro-America and traditionalism or America first and America alone protectionism, frequently mischaracterizes the New Right as far-right or traditionalist reactionaries. Most paleoconservatives are not in the New Right.
Represented by President Donald Trump, the New Right is a centrist mix of cultural libertarianism (“live and let live”) and fiscal conservatism. There is a flat out rejection of fiscal libertarian purity, social conservatism, neo-conservatism, and nation-building. While the Trump ordered strikes on Syria divided many in the New Right, it was over fear of ground troops and nation-building, not limited intervention. This distinguishes the New Right from paleoconservatives, protectionists, and libertarians. The New Right lacks an ideology because it is currently more of a populist coalition than an movement of thought, where self-identifying members aren’t completely shedding more traditional political labels, but instead picking up new tactics and re-prioritizing their positions based on the growing hostility from the institutional Left. The New Right is responsive, without being a reactionary movement, but still sensitive to its youth.
The New Right can be described as right-leaning, moderate, and populist—all terms being true to its current make-up.
In an attempt to marginalize this growing center-right coalition, the left-wing Anti-Defamation League (ADL) teamed up with the Alternative Right (“Alt-Right”) to label the New Right, the “Alt-Lite.” Alt-Lite is a term coined by white nationalist members of the Alt-Right. Whiplash yet? Yes, a left-wing Jewish group adopted a term by anti-Semitic white nationalists in an attempt to herd the New Right back into the false choices between the Republican establishment and the so-called “Alternative Right.” Alt-Lite is a moniker—a suggestion that the New Right is a watered down version of the Alt-Right. Some serious thinkers within the Alt-Right believe that the gradual progression of modern politics (or Overton window) will lead all members on the right-wing to the Alt-Right’s same positions.
The America-based New Right has no affiliation and should not be confused with the European New Right.
The Alt-Right Ain’t Right and Didn’t Father the New Right
Most unstudied people might assume that Baptists came from the Anabaptists, when that isn’t at all the case. Too, many, even in the media, lump the Alt-Right and New Right together, eager to explain the origins and schools of thoughts surrounding these two coalition-movements.
While the Alt-Right has many white supremacists and white nationalists (those two terms meaning different things), not all members of the Alt-Right are white supremacists or white nationalists.
It’s also important to understand that there is inherently nothing racial or bigoted about nationalism. White nationalism is something completely different. A white person who is a nationalist would be a “white, nationalist” (in fact, his skin pigment wouldn’t be relevant to his labeling in most cases), while a white person advocating for an ethno-state, exclusively for white people would be a “white nationalist.” A nationalist who happens to be white is not a white nationalist.
There are no white nationalists in the New Right. There are white nationalists in the Alt-Right.
There are American nationalists in the New Right, Alt-Right, and in both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Although, these rare breeds are few and far between in the modern, “progressive” Democratic Party.
What is happening in politics today is more about the death of the liberal and the rise of cultural Marxism.
With the advocacy of an ethno-state, Alt-Right white nationalist leaders, such as Richard B. Spencer, find themselves advocating for a large central government. They’ve advocated for single-payer healthcare and a welfare state. The size and scope of government is literally what determines if a movement is left-wing or right-wing, the left favoring a larger government.
The Alt-Right is an identitarian movement, while the New Right refuses to put ethnic identity at the forefront of its movement. Clearly, these are not the same movements.
Few outside observers acknowledge that these two movements are also cultural movements. Journalist Andrew Feinberg, noted this observation after familiarizing himself with many of the players in these two movements.
While the New Right and Alt-Right are both cultural movements, the Alt-Right is more stringent and uniformed in its cultural positions. Most in the Alt-Right are opposed to cannabis for example, labeling consumers “degenerates.” Many in the Alt-Right openly mock homosexuals and the lifestyle, while okaying homsexual activity, so long as it doesn’t impede with their mission to breed and find mates and build their welfare-drive-ethno-state.
“The Alternative Right” reportedly began in November 2008, in the defeat of the right. Months later, The Tea Party was born in February of 2009. No one heard of the Alt-Right. The New Right began around December 2016, in the victory of the right. Confusion, lumping the New Right in with the Alt-Right, stems from the fact that many in the New Right flirted or excused the accusations made by the Media-left against the Alt-Right during the summer and fall seasons of 2016 when the term was more all encompassing of first-time Trump and rebellious Republican voters. This is why Breitbart.com’s Stephen Bannon once said, “we’re the platform for the alt right.” When it became apparent that the original leaders of the Alt-Right that predated the surge of interest were advocates of big government, an American ethno-states, and in some cases, outright socialism, interest waned and disaffected Republicans and conservatives found a new label.
Today, is it racist to be a Democrat even though theirs was the party that had a paramilitary arm to stop blacks from voting—Ku Klux Klan? No. Movements and parties migrate and change.
Today, Bannon rightly calls the shrinking Alt-Right, “losers.”
Consider that the Alt-Right predated the birth (but not the roots) of the Tea Party movement and wasn’t at all a topic. The Tea Party was the alternative to the Republican and conservative establishments! It’s taken 8 years for the Alt-Right to find itself leaders and core ideas and still lacks a coherent ideology. Movements take time to find their roots.
There can be no confusion after any real study on the topic: the New Right did not grow out of the Alt-Right. The New Right is far from “alt-Lite;” unlike the Alt-Right which believes in a large, militaristic government and socialist policies, the New Right has a more actual conservative view on the size and scope of government.
Too often the media is lazy. They should talk to those of us in the movement and do more research. Everyone is entitled to self-identification—but also correction when they are in error.
Reason Magazine and the ADL’s adoption of Alt-Right talking points is disingenuous at best. At worst, their actions seek to kill the New Right movement so that the Alt-Right can act more as controlled opposition.
It’s worth asking, why would a libertarian magazine and a left-wing, Jewish advocacy organization adopted a white nationalist’s pejorative of a group of center-right activists? Why do CNN and other mainstream media outlets give the tiny Alt-Right an over-represented platform while ignoring more traditional conservative and widely-held views? Why has the Alt-Right been so critical of conservative policies and Donald Trump’s presidency without the same media coverage? Why aren’t they talking to the propelling New Right movement so that we can describe what we believe?
In her time of peril, America can neither afford nor tolerate journalistic laziness or the agenda-driven alliance between the Alt-Right and the left.
Suggested reading and videos:
READ: How the New Right Succeeds Where Republicans Fail, Ali Akbar.
The Alt-Right Branding War Has Torn the Movement, Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker.
The Flight 93 Election, Publius Decius Mus, Claremont Institute.
Ali Akbar describes who and what the New Right is and isn’t, and gives a September 2017 progress report (video).
Will Chamberlin exposes libertarian Reason Magazine’s Zach Weissmueller poorly researched video tying the Alt-Right with the New Right, exposing factually incorrect information (video).
Lucian Wintrich, Kimberly Coulter, and Ali Akbar have a conversation about Alt-Right members attempting to become New Right after Charlottesville (video).
A New Type of Republican — Jeff Giesea’s Remarks At The Deploraball, Danger and Play.
Jack Posobiec welcomes people to the New Right and gives a brief history (video).
What Is The New Right?, Jack Murphy, From Democrat to Deplorable.
‘New Right’ and the ‘Alt-Right’ Party on a Fractious Night, Rosie Gray, The Atlantic.
Ali Akbar teaches on the various terms used to describe the American Right and the subtle differences between them—Trump voter, Republican, New Right, Alt-Right, Neo-conservative, etc. (video).