Untimely Observations

AltRight / Old Right

Jim Kalb is certainly correct that "Alternative Right" is an ambiguous monicker -- and one could, of course, interpret it in a host of crazy ways: alternative-lifestyle conservatives, "Conservatism for punks" (as Todd Seavey jokingly titles his blog), etc.

When I first started using the term Alternative Right a couple of years ago, I certainly wasn’t referring to a unified intellectual movement, one in control of think-tanks, publications, and an army of staffers and lobbyist.

If only!

I was pointing instead to a group of bloggers and writers (many under 35, but not all) who were noticeably right-wing but who were discussing things that American conservatives didn't want to hear, or which generally couldn't be squared with their favorite movement slogans. "Human Biodiversity" is the most obvious of these issues, for we operate in an intellectual climate in which Liz Cheney has informed all that it's wicked to even notice Barack Obama's skin color. But beyond HBD, there will be much more at AltRight that will greatly perturb and confuse the conservative establishment.


I always viewed a prospective AlternativeRight.com website not so much as a webzine as a constellation of different blogs, allowing writers of various viewpoints to react to one another and foster a larger community (and one that hopefully won't remain "virtual").

I think there are many important thing that bring together, say, Richard Hoste, Jim Kalb, Christian Kopff, Jack Donovan, and Richard Spencer, and I'll have more to say on this in the future. But what I'd like to focus on at the moment is the degree to which "alternative" is how we should think of ourselves.

Conservative wars have been going on for ages. Indeed, a state of internecine civil war seems to be the norm on the right, consensus being a luxury reserved only for the liberal establishment. This said, I still think we're in a position structurally different from that of our predecessors.

In paleo and libertarian circles, much is made of the great purging from major publications and institutions of the "Old Right" (a "movement," it should be pointed out, that only came into existence after the fact in the scholarly work of followers of Murray Rothbard.) The divisions between the Buckley-ite movement and the "Old Right," which were mostly over foreign policy and the scope of the welfare state, were real, to be sure. But looked at from the perspective of today, what's most remarkable is just how much the two camps agreed on and how willing they were to work with one another. For instance, the individualist libertarian Frank Chodorov (a god among "Old Right" admirers), founded ISI (then known as the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists) along with William F. Buckley, who became the organization's first president. Chodorov's publication, Analysis, even merged with Human Events in the mid '50s.

Reading Justin Raimondo's fine book Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement, one gets that sense that the "Old Right" and Buckleyites were sworn enemies and combatants (much as Justin is with the hated neocons.) But the truth is that however much the two groups differed on, say, the Cold War and Federal Reserve, they were in full agreement on how America should be socially ordered, the general confines of public discourse, and most issues of culture, both high and low.

I can say without hesitation that AltRight writers are in agreement with the neocons and mainstream movement on absolutely nothing of importance, from foreign policy to public policy to the status of American heroes and statesmen to our intellectual canon to the roles of the sexes to America's place in the world and world history and more. Easy consensus over, say, the ruinousness of Obamacare only masks more fundamental divisions. And AlternativeRight.com -- or Antiwar.com or VDARE.com -- is about as likely to merge with Human Events -- which just this morning emailed me an advertisement for George W. Bush "Miss Me Yet?" T-shirts -- as with Good Housekeeping.

I think "right" is a good descriptor for what we're doing at AltRight (along with "radical traditionalism," a term that's worth discussing in more depth later). But little that we publish will fit easily into the Left-Right spectrum as it's been established for us by the media and the two-party electoral racket.

Carving out a new intellectual space for us was my central goal in founding this website.