Why it’s too early to define the Alt Right

The 2016 presidential election has been one of the most bizarre elections i have ever seen, and the most notable thing to arise from this bizarre election is probably the equally bizarre Alt Right movement.

What exactly is the Alt Right? Well it’s a movement largely online based of young far-right white millennials who feel alienated from the political mainstream, and generally promote hyper anti-PC views and Machiavellianism to disrupt elitism in media culture. The movement also tends to be united in their support for white identity, nationalism and racialism which they describe as Human Biodiversity. The Alt Right pretty much sprung up out of nowhere as a notable political player in American political culture alongside progressivism, conservatism and libertarianism thanks to the rise of Donald Trump who is currently leading the Republican Party presidential primaries. I could go into detail about every single part of the Alt Right such as the internet “Chan Culture” behind it, the paleo-conservative magazines that give it a platform, their influences from the European Far-right and Neo-reactionary movement. But i feel like it would be redundant to do so at this point as i just want to focus on how the Alt Right is portrayed.

Despite the movement being small and mostly online based it has gained significant national attention and as a result there has been a lot of speculation on what the Alt Right is and what their goals are, and this has created quite a lot of divides and disagreements.
For example Breitbart duo Milo Yiannopoulos and Allum Bokhari whom are known for explaining underground internet culture within the context of politics described the Alt Right as a harmless group of mischievous trouble makers who use black comedy, shock value, and culture jamming to upset the establishment. Freelance journalist Cathy Young however disagrees, believing that there is a very serious racist and anti-Semitic component that use their rejection of Political Correctness as an excuse to spread hatred and bizarre pseudo-scientific views.

I think however that both are missing each others point. The Alt Right is a grassroots online movement that’s leaderless, decentralized, has a combination of anonymous users & high profile spokespeople, is relatively new, and is debated on whether it’s simply fighting against elitism or whether it’s a hate movement. Sounds Familiar? That’s because this is the exact same description as another certain internet movement that was huge in Late 2014 and 2015: Gamergate. Now i am not saying that Gamergate and the Alt Right are the same or are misunderstood in the same way. But it’s very uncanny how similar these movements are.

Like Gamergate the Alt Right started off as something created by the anonymous internet community (though the term Gamergate was coined by Adam Baldwin), like Gamergate it started as a backlash against left-wing media culture’s hostility towards white men, like Gamergate it gained a mainstream platform through people with a public image (Gamergate via people like Christina Hoff Sommers and Alt Right via paleo-conservative sites like VDARE, Radix, Counter-Currents, ect), like Gamergate it’s so decentralized and leaderless that it’s very difficult to pinpoint what exactly their goals are. The biggest difference is that Gamergate mostly focused on a scandal where as the Alt Right has bigger plans, they want to become a player in mainstream politics.

This is why I think trying to define the Alt-Right as either Dennis the Menace or Adolf Hitler is too broad of a generalization. As a movement the Alt Right is simply too young and incoherent to really know where it is going. Some people who are more defined for their white nationalism like Richard Spencer and Jared Taylor want to use the momentum of the Alt-Right to grow their white nationalist influence, which in that case Cathy Young is right. Others, like many in the 4chan community, simply want to use the Alt-Right as shock humor to subvert media culture, in that case Yiannopoulos and Bokhari are right.

Before we can really consider the Alt Right a hive of white supremacists or the 21st century right-wing equivalent of hippie culture we’ll have to wait how it will develop first, will it even survive as a movement or fade into obscurity? Will the movement be defined by public figures such as Richard B Spencer or by anonymous internet users with Pepe memes and smug anime profile pictures? Will the movement take a more National Conservative stance or will they go full 14/88 neo-nazi?

I have no idea, but from a political science perspective there’s at least one thing i can say: The Alt-Right is a very entertaining addition into the Bizarre world of Social Media Politics.