One of the biggest goals of the left in recent years is to portray those on the right as racists. It saves them the effort of having to refute the right’s arguments substantively. If they are successful, they can discredit all of the right’s viewpoints since they’re views held by racists. There are few white supremacists left, but the media and left love to feature them as if they’re a huge threat from the right.
One way they’ve set about accomplishing this is through use of the term alt-right. They use it to lump white supremacists in with some regular conservatives who are dissatisfied with the mainstream Republican establishment. It’s a brilliant tactic, since the two are not similar, but it makes people start to think they must be.
The reality is many white supremacists are on the left. The National Socialist Party, which calls itself “the largest and most active National Socialist party in America,” has plenty of views on the left.
The right denounces white supremacists and kicks them out of their events. There is no overlapping. And this is nothing new. Back in the 1960s, William F. Buckley Jr., editor of National Review, ensured that racists were not allowed in the conservative movement. As one of his biographers wrote, Buckley “stood guard over the movement he founded and — in what he called his greatest achievement — kept it free where he could of extremists, bigots, kooks, anti‐Semites and racists.” In 1993, Buckley fired Joseph Sobran over a series of columns he considered antisemitic. Buckley and National Review defined the essence of conservatism for multiple decades, so this was nothing to be dismissed.
Adam Bhala Lough recently wrote and directed a documentary currently popular on Netflix entitled “Alt-Right: Age of Rage.” But the only people on the right it features are white supremacists (some may call themselves white nationalists or other variations). There are no white supremacists on the left. The ones featured are shown saying vile things followed by conservative viewpoints; it’s very cleverly done, as if white supremacist and right wing are interchangeable. One headline states, “Right-wing e-zine calls for black genocide.” Racist images are posted in a row followed by Breitbart logos.
The left is represented by Daryle Lamont Jenkins, a charismatic black man who is a member of Antifa. Now that already raises red flags, because Antifa is almost completely white. So they’re trying to portray the violent hate group Antifa as a likable black man. They show him criticizing racism repeatedly and posing next to paintings of civil rights leaders. He brings up his military background, saying he took an oath to defend against foreign and domestic enemies. But both the right and the left find this admirable.
Antifa’s violent tactics are mostly ignored, except when one punches one of the worst white supremacists in the face, Richard Spencer. He is the main white supremacist featured and interviewed, a truly vile human being who is probably the most well-known since he craves attention. He says horrible things about Jenkins, like claiming he weighs at least 400 pounds and is gross looking. When he runs into him, he tells him he thought he would be dead by now because of obesity. To tie him to conservatives, Spencer is pictured standing in front of the Jefferson Memorial, then giving a speech where he yells “Hail Trump!” He denounces multiculturalism.
What the documentary won’t tell you is that Spencer was kicked out of CPAC, the leading annual national conservative conference, in 2017 when he tried to show up. CPAC spokesman Ian Walters said Spencer wasn’t a conservative, "He's anti-free markets, anti-Constitution, anti-pluralism."
Jenkins helpfully lumps Spencer in with the right by referring to Spencer as a “right-wing propagandist,” which is the same phrase someone on the left might use to label anyone on the right. Jenkins blames President Trump for “giving them their juice.” He uses “Trump supporters” interchangeably with “white supremacists.” The late Andrew Breitbart, a leading figure in the conservative movement during this century, is shown yelling at Jenkins to get out of his face, but tellingly the documentary doesn’t reveal why. Breitbart was Jewish and hated racists. Jenkins says he goes after the National Socialist movement — but there is no admission that the group is more on the left.
Another white supremacist the documentary prominently features and interviews is Jared Taylor, the founder of the racist site American Renaissance. Superficially, he looks like a traditional statesmanlike conservative and uses a tone of voice that sounds like it could be any thoughtful person on the right — except vile things come out. He decries the people who criticize him in patriotic terms, saying “We’re the land of the free and the home of the brave.” It is no coincidence he was chosen for this documentary. He puts on an annual conference of white supremacists every year, and complains that because of the efforts against him, they had only 300 show up instead of 400-450. Yep, that’s how many in the entire U.S. would show up. Protesters show up outside his conferences. Tellingly, they are practically all white — most black people realize his group is just a handful of losers who no one pays attention to except the media.
Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center chimes in periodically to reinforce the connection. He says that Dylann Roof, who shot and murdered people in a black church, was influenced by the “radical right,” a term commonly used for regular conservatives. He says there has been a rise in racist groups — which might seem believable if you’re now lumping in regular conservatives. Nowhere is it revealed that the SPLC is itself a hate group, labeling regular Christian organizations as hate groups. It’s great to hear Potok denounce white supremacy — but that’s something we all agree on except a handful of white supremacists. Someone knowledgeable on the right could easily have sat in his place and said the same things.
The documentary covers the deadly Charlottesville riots of 2017. That event played right into their hand, because its organizer, Jason Kessler, a known white supremacist, named the rally “Unite the Right” as if he was including regular people on the right too. It’s not very likely there were regular people on the right there, because one of the speakers said the rally was meant to unify various white nationalist factions against unidentified enemies. But the title even fooled President Trump, who denounced the violence but said there were "very fine people on both sides.” Taylor helpfully stated that Trump appeals to those who are “racially conscious.” Even if true, as I’ve explained previously, this is no reflection on Trump.
People on the left are shown saying in interviews that they denounce violence by their side, while the white supremacists are shown saying it’s necessary. Jenkins says violence should only be engaged in as a form of defense, but we all know that’s not representative of Antifa.
The problem is conservatives don’t understand what’s happening to us. They blindly accept the clever lumping in of white supremacists with regular conservatism and accept the phrase alt-right. I don’t know anyone personally who refers to themself as the alt-right. Why don’t conservatives create a documentary about the leftists in the National Socialist Party, the white supremacists who supported Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as well as the antisemites in the Democratic Party vs. the conservatives who fight that racism? Perhaps feature the group Patriot Prayer, which is run by minorities and finds itself frequently the victim of Antifa, and gay Asian reporter Andy Ngo who covers these protests and was savagely beaten by Antifa. Maybe call it “Alt-left” and contact me to help fundraise.
Rachel is the editor for intellectualconservative.com and an attorney.