Alt-Right against O’Donnell

Richard Spencer at Alternative Right sides against Christine O’Donnell, mainly on the basis of her strange lawsuit against the Intercollegiate Studies Institute in 2005, and apparently untrue statements she made in that suit. He concludes:

Democracy is rule by the terminally mediocre, so perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that the likes of Christine O’Donnell can win Republican primaries. But let there be no mistake, if this woman is the type of person conservatives are putting forth in their “class war” against the establishment, then let me declare my allegiance to the RINOs.

Spencer wrote this on September 16, after O’Donnell had won the primary. So the RINO, Michael Castle, was already out of the race. To side against O’Donnell at this point is to side with the left-wing Democrat, Christopher Coons. I still say, despite O’Donnell’s odd, incomplete, and in some ways troubling life history, that she can obviously speak well and handle herself well in public, that she represents conservative positions very well, and that she is obviously capable of serving as a U.S. senator. Further, the Congress is filled with people (think Harry Reid, think Nancy Pelosi) who seem much weirder than she, as well as being flat-out idiots.

Meanwhile, Spencer’s shocking readiness to declare his allegiance to the RINOs—that is, to liberals like Michael Castle, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe—is emblematic of the nihilism that is the real ruling principle on the Alternative Right. As an example of Spencer’s negativism, consider his remark last month that the “neocons are far, far, FAR worse” than a mass invasion of Mexican immigrants. Note the similarity between his two statements and the style of mind they indicate. Just as Spencer, to express his disapproval of the conservative O’Donnell, declares his allegiance to liberal Republicans, in the same way, to express his obsessive opposition to the neocons, he states that a mass invasion of the U.S. by Mexicans would be better than having neocons in America. These dishonestly named “radical traditionalists” of the Alternative Right, most of whom previously called themselves paleocons, don’t believe in anything, they only react against things—against conservatism, against the Jews, against America; and in order to express their opposition to those things, they always end up siding with the respective enemies of those things, e.g., liberals, Muslims, and a Mexican invasion of the United States.

- end of initial entry -

James P. writes:

What is “alternative” about someone who aligns himself with RINOs like Castle? He might as well call his publication Establishment Right, not Alternative Right. He gives his raison d’etre as to create “a new intellectual right-wing that is independent and outside the “conservative” establishment”—yet now he says he wants to side with the Republican establishment against someone who is clearly outside both the Republican establishment and the conservative movement! The man is hopelessly confused.

LA replies:

Whether or not he’s actually aligning himself with the RINOs (which I don’t think he’s doing in this case), his declaration of support for the RINOS is his way of expressing his total opposition to the Tea Party.

The starting point for the paleocons and Alt-Rightists is that are not oriented by any objective good that they believe in. They are oriented by the things they dislike and oppose. Therefore their operative philosophy is always the relativistic cry: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.


  • They oppose the liberal state that fought and won and grew great from World War II: therefore they side with the enemy of that liberal state, which is Hitler (Patrick Buchanan).

  • They oppose the massive security and anti-terror measures that America has put in place since the 9/11 attack: therefore they downplay the terror threat and say that America could absorb the same damage from Islamic terror attacks that Germany absorbed from Allied mass bombing in World War II and that would be ok (Buchanan); or they say that the equivalent of a 9/11 attack once a year would be no more damaging to America than routine traffic fatalities (Richard Hoste).

  • They oppose the state of Israel, therefore they support or excuse or cover up the evil of the Muslim enemies of Israel (most of the paleocons and Alt-Rightists).

  • They oppose the neocons, therefore they say that they would prefer that America be invaded by the entire population of Mexico, if only that would result in the disappearance of all neocons from America (PC Roberts, Richard Spencer).

  • They don’t like the Tea Party, therefore they side with the liberal/moderate Republicans whom the Tea Party is campaigning against (Richard Spencer).

  • They have, they imagine, been gravely and permanently injured in their career by the neocons; therefore, even though they are Jewish, they make common cause with right-wing anti-Semites, because they are the enemies of the neocons (Paul Gottfried).

More examples could be adduced. But the common pattern is this: the paleocons/Alt-Rightists don’t believe in the good, they believe in the bad, so long as it will hurt their enemies.

And why don’t they believe in the good? Because they feel that their world is already lost and cannot be regained. The Jews, the neocons, the modern Provider State, have destroyed their world. Therefore all they want to do is strike back in vengeance at that which they think has ruined their world. It is the psychology of cultural despair, it is the psychology of Satan in Paradise Lost. They declare war against the present order of things, against America herself, in the same way that Satan declares war against God and his new creation, Man, who has displaced Satan:

“All hope excluded thus, behold, instead
Of us, outcast, exiled, his new delight,
Mankind, created, and for him this World!
So farewell hope, and, with hope, farewell fear,
Farewell remorse! All good to me is lost;
Evil, be thou my Good: by thee at least
Divided empire with Heaven’s King I hold,…
As Man ere long, and this new World, shall know.”
Gintas writes:

They like to call themselves “radical traditionalists”, but that comes from Julius Evola.

Entry into esotericism

Around 1920, his interests led him into spiritual, transcendental and “supra-rational” studies. He began reading various esoteric texts and gradually delved deeper into the occult, alchemy, magic, and Oriental studies, particularly Tibetan Lamaism and Vajrayanist tantric yoga.

In 1927, along with other Italian esotericists, he founded the Gruppo di Ur. The group’s aim was to provide a “soul” to the burgeoning Fascist movement of the time through the revival of an ancient Roman Paganism.

There is a heavy gnostic flavor to the things I’ve read of his (I’ve looked at Men Among the Ruins). He just knows. I was trying to figure out how to say he was some kind of spiritual-transcendental Nietzschean, and then I read this:

Friedrich Nietzsche heavily affected Evola’s thought. However, Evola criticized Nietzsche for lacking the “transcedent element” in his philosophy, thus ultimately leading to the latter’s mental collapse. A reference point is needed according to Evola, and this point can not be reached with senses or logic but with transcedental experiences achieved through symbolism of the heroic element in Man.

James P. writes:

Your point about Buchanan and Hoste saying that America could easily absorb additional 9/11-type attacks reminds me of this article today, which shows that Obama, Buchanan, and Hoste are reading from the same sheet of music:

Woodward’s book portrays Obama and the White House as barraged by warnings about the threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and confronted with the difficulty in preventing them. During an interview with Woodward in July, the president said, “We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever … we absorbed it and we are stronger.”

Too bad there is no explanation of why we’re supposedly “stronger” now than in August 2001. To the casual observer this is not obviously true.

Alan Roebuck writes:

Recently, the phrase “Disreputable right” popped into my mind as an alternate appellation for Alternative right. At first, I thought it a cheap shot. But we of VFR also hold to some disreputable beliefs also held by the people at Alt Right: racial and ethnic differences, drastic immigration reduction, and a traditional social order, for example. So it is not inherently insulting to call them disreputable.

But Alt Right deserves my nickname because they also subscribe to all the things that make some rightists genuinely disreputable: Jew hatred, sympathizing with the West’s foreign and domestic enemies, and a general schadenfreude, for example.

I think your observation:

The starting point for the paleocons and Alt-rightists is that are not oriented by any objective good that they believe in. They are oriented by the things they dislike and oppose. Therefore their operative philosophy is always the relativistic cry: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

is fundamentally accurate, even if there are counterexamples. And this reminds me of an observation I made long ago about The Closing of the American Mind: Bloom opposes liberalism (without naming it) not because it attacks our society, but because it is gauche.

The instinctive response of most Alt rightists to sociopolitical events is not one of alarm that something good is threatened, but rather one of revulsion. And this leads them not to try to counter the threat, but rather to push the object of revulsion away and symbolically to neutralize it, via the expression of scorn and contempt. Instead of lighting candles, they curse the darkness.

LA replies:

Instead of lighting candles, they curse the darkness, while wishing darkness on their enemies.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 22, 2010 08:33 AM | Send

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