This is part one of a series. The introductory post can be found here.
The alt-right is a triangle of political thought whose space encompasses, roughly, Ayn Rand (Objectivism), Edmund Burke (French Revolutionary Reaction) and Fascism which, if it has any philosopher it is Nietzsche, regardless of whether that is an accurate understanding of his writings.
This definition is entirely subjective, and the ideologies in the picture above come from my impressions from reading a large amount of alt-right writing. It generally supports a natural hierarchy, militance, and individual exceptionalism. Misogyny and racism follow almost inevitably.
Some writers, like Moldbug, are aware of their intellectual pedigree. Others, like Chateau Heartiste (formerly Roissy), probably are not. If you’d find it in Taki’s Magazine, it’s a safe bet it’s alt-right.
From Moldbug, Fascism:
It so happens that, until I read Carlyle, I thought of myself as a libertarian. For me, a better government was a smaller government – case closed. Carlyle is often thought of as a prototype of fascism, a direction easy to see in even an early bit of late Carlyle such as the Pamphlets, and of course the absolute nemesis of any libertarian is the fascist. So how was I won over?
For me, quality of government comes in two dimensions: responsibility and authority. Both qualities are monotonically positive. There is no Goldilocks about them. A government cannot be too responsible or too authoritative.
From Koch Fellow Bryan Caplan, Objectivism
If Rand has so much to recommend her, why the hostility? Non-leftists rarely do well in intellectual popularity contests, but even thinkers who broadly agree with Rand express distaste for her. The main reason, I have little doubt, is that she had a touchy personality, and lots of sour and dogmatic followers. I doubt I could have stayed friends with her for long. But that’s a flimsy reason to snub her work.
The secondary reason, I suspect, is that disappointment with Rand as a human being has led critics (many of them former admirers) to apply unreasonably high standards to her work. Yes, many of her philosophical arguments are question-begging. Shocking… unless you’ve read the work of Descartes, Locke, Kant, or Mill. They all make plenty of embarrassingly bad arguments. If you don’t want to dismiss their whole subject matter, you’ve got to judge philosophers based on their best work and/or the novel questions they raise. And by that standard, Rand more than holds her own.
From Chateau Heartiste, Reaction:
I have a theory that is perhaps the most politically incorrect thing you will read at the Chateau. The 800 pound bulldyke in the room that “””progressives””” of all stripes don’t want you to notice is that a lot of their radical regressivist shock troopers are comprised of biologically faulty men and women who are at the extremes of effeminacy and masculinization respectively. If it came to be widely understood and socially acceptable to acknowledge that, due to hormonal imbalance, genetic glitches, or gross environmental insult, 90% of radical femcunts are lesbians or manjawed atrocities, and 90% of manboobs are closet cases or soft, pillowy micropeens, the general population would be less likely to seriously entertain their insipid drivel. The mask would have slipped, revealing the feminist death underneath.
While researching this post I came across this handy infographic from this blog. Notice the presence of unapologetic racists Steve Hsu, Michigan State’s Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, and Steve Sailer, both of whom I’ve written about before, albeit briefly.
The blog also provides some handy definitions:
2. Nick Land charts three paths in neoreaction: traditional theonomists, ethno-nationalists, and techno-commercialists.
3. Spandrell charts more or less the same paths: religious/traditionalist, ethnic/nationalist, and futurist/capitalist.
My triangle above fits in with this nicely, if less complimentarily.
I think most people, reading the lengthy quotations above, would come to the reasonable conclusion that the alt-right is nasty, especially Roissy, who may be the most influential of them all. So how anyone could be seduced by their ideas?
That will be the subject of the next part of the series. A teaser: they start by calling out what you, correctly, perceive to be bullshit, and conscious dissembling (“I’m not saying I’m a Nazi, I’m just saying the Nazis had some good ideas”).