Recently, the media has done the alt-right a favor. A series of polls have asked people to rate their agreement with, or favorable feelings towards, the alt-right, White nationalists, White supremacists, Neo Nazis, and the KKK. This, in essence, is consumer research that the alt-right can use to inform how it labels itself.
This first poll was done by Marist/PBS and included 1,125 participants.
The poll found that people expressed much stronger disagreement with the Klan and White supremacists than they did with the alt-right. White Nationalists scored in between these two groups.
A second poll of 1,500 participants carried out by YouGov showed that White Nationalists were viewed as more favorable than Neo-Nazis and the Klan.
This data implies that the public does not consider the alt-right and White Nationalism to be the same thing as Neo Nazism and the Klan even though the media has exerted a great deal of effort to make these terms synonymous.
Sometimes, White Nationalists will say that there is no point in denying that they are Nazis because the media will call Nazis no matter what they say. This data shows that the public does not believe everything the media says. Given this, the fact that the media will label the alt-right as Nazis does not imply that everyone will, therefore, believe that the alt-right actually are Nazis.
This is especially true of Republicans who increasingly distrust the media.
Of course, people might believe the alt-right are Nazis if the alt-right gives people good reason to do so. We saw an example of such behavior recently when the Alt-right was publically marching around yelling Nazi phrases and carrying Nazi flags in Charlottesville.
This will only damage the alt-right’s public image and they will gain nothing in return. Their chances of stopping Whites from becoming an oppressed minority in America are only lessened by such antics.
This brings us to the subject of framing. It is obvious that, when trying to convince people of something, you should frame it in a way that maximizes your probability of persuading them. It is equally obvious that your opponents will try to frame the issue in a way which minimizes your probability of persuasion. A common tactic is to associate what your opponent is saying with something that the audience already dislikes. This is what the left did when it associated White identity politics with Nazism.
We (America) fought a big war with the Nazis. Generally speaking, people don’t like governments who their nation recently fought a big war against. The left engaged in massive propaganda to connect Nazi Germany with random beliefs they didn’t like about race so that people would hate these ideas as much as they hated Nazi Germany. Then, with this connection in place, they vilified Nazi Germany to the greatest degree they possibly could. In this way, they could grow people’s hatred of, for instance, White nationalism and IQ testing, without ever having to argue about White nationalism and IQ testing.
Some racialists have been duped by this and have come to identify with Nazi Germany because they agree with the things the left has associated with the Nazis, even though those things have no legitimate association with Nazi Germany outside of the left’s propaganda. Unfortunately, such people actually help to build an association between, White nationalism and Nazism by identifying with both labels.
Optics and Punching Right
Many in the alt-right don’t care for talk about optics. This stems, in part, from the fact that the mainstream right ostracized racial thought in the 1950s and 60s as a form of optics control. Members of the alt-right will note this, point out that the work of the conservative movement may be undone by future demographic shifts, and thus conclude that “optics cucking” does not work.
This argument is simply invalid. A strategy being used for questionable ends does not negate its efficacy. The American conservative movement had moderate success in many areas. Real socialism is largely gone from American discourse. Price controls are rare. Reagan slowed the speed of regulation growth. Marginal tax rates and tariff rates are down. Major welfare reform was passed. Gun restrictions have been liberalized. Etc.
Of course, there have also been failures. The left gained control of the courts and, through that mechanism, enacted unpopular social change in the areas of abortion and gay marriage. The left also came to dominate media and academia, causing major shifts in religiosity and family structure. The total number of regulations has increased, and the debt has risen, though that later issue has only recently become a conservative concern.
The right and the left have had successes and failures over the last 50 years, suggesting that neither adopted a completely ineffective strategy.
We can plausibly argue that the right chose the wrong goals. When they abandoned race, when Republicans voted for 1964 civil rights act and the Hart-Cellar act, when Nixon strengthened affirmative action, and when Reagan passed amnesty, the American right helped to set in motion demographic trends which will replace the US public with a non-White population which may undo the right’s free market reforms.
This may be true, but that does not change the fact that the American right was reasonably effective at getting what it wanted a good deal of the time. Their strategy, which included punching to the right, worked even if their goals were bad. Given this, when we look back at their history we should not throw out an effective strategy just because it was used to pursue the wrong ends. Nothing about the history of American conservatism actually justifies the belief that attacking fringe elements is a bad strategy.
It is often said that the left rarely attacks their extremists. This is true, but this is not to say that the left embraces them. Rather, they often ignore them and present a relatively moderate image of themselves which the public will immediately disassociate with the radical left.
Never was this truer than when, after many years of defeat in national elections, the democrat party de-radicalized its public image and nominated Bill Clinton, a moderate Southern Democrat, to run for president.
Was this “cucking”? Maybe, but it was also an effective strategy which helped the Democrats to regain national power.
The left and right have utilized different ways of dealing with their fringes. The right openly attacks them while the left ignores them. Both sides attempt to associate the other with its fringe. The left calls all conservatives racist nazis, and conservatives perpetually try to tie Democrats to communism and the Soviet Union. Both sides have the sense to adopt some strategy to try and stop the public from falling for this.
The alt-right does not ignore the fringe while presenting a moderate image so as to make their fringe seem irrelevant to them, nor does the alt-right attack the fringe to make it clear that they are distinct from it. Instead, the alt-right often embraces its fringe and adopts the imagery and chants of literal war enemies of the United States, playing directly into the hands of Leftist propagandists.
Of course, some people in the alt-right really do self-identify with the Nazi regime. Ryan Faulk recently made some relevant arguments concerning this which I am going to elaborate on here.
Some people identify with Nazi Germany because they are White nationalists. This is a mistake because White nationalism was not something which distinguished Nazi Germany from other nations at the time. The sole reason why these two concepts are related today is because of leftist propaganda the aim of which is to discredit White nationalism.
America has a long tradition of racial nationalism which can be traced back to the naturalization act of 1790 which made being White a condition for naturalization. This national racial awareness was asserted again with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and the Johnson-Reed act of 1924. This latter law set up an immigration system aimed at keeping America a North Western European nation.
This sentiment was still present in WW2. Harry Truman, the president at the end of the war, summed up White nationalism well when he stated: ” I am strongly of the opinion that negroes ought to be in Africa, yellow men in Asia, a
nd white men in Europe and America.”
Similar to the Johnson-Reed act, the 1905 Aliens Act limited the number of Eastern European and Jewish immigrants entering England. As time went on, legal control of the ethnic character of Britain was compromised by their Empire, but even in the post WW2 era leaders like Churchill were deeply concerned with the possibility of non-Whites coming to England.
It is also worth noting that many in the alt-right believe in a pan-European White nationalism, while the Nazis did not. In his Table Talks, Hitler called the Slavs natural born slaves and spoke of conquering them in the same way that Britain conquered India. Few, if any, people in the alt-right would condone such ideas.
Granted, other Western nations also looked down on Eastern Europeans, but America and Britain did not have plans to rule over them.
Since both sides of the second world war had racialists nations, and the alt-right is an identity-based movement in a historically racialist allied nation, it makes absolutely no sense for them to identify with Nazi Germany on racialist grounds. It is obvious that the alt-right, an American White identity political movement, should identify with the White Nationalism of America first and foremost, not Germany.
Like White Nationalism, Anti-Semitism was widespread in the early 20th century. This can be seen most obviously in the Russian Pogroms. In America, Jews were banned from many establishments, and Universities often had quotas which limited Jewish influence in academia. As already mentioned, during this same time period England passed laws limiting Jewish immigration. Going back further, you can find instances of Jews being entirely expelled from nations like Spain and the United Kingdom.
Given this historical context, it makes little sense to identify with Nazi Germany on the grounds that, like them, you too have a problem with Jewish people. Lots of people have had problems with Jews.
You might say that the holocaust shows that Nazi Germany was the most anti-Semitic nation in history. Most people I know who identify with Nazi Germany don’t believe in the mainstream account of the Holocaust, so I don’t know that many of them actually have good reasons for thinking that Nazi Germany was the most anti-Semitic country in history.
Regardless, the focus of the alt-right is not, or at least should not be, being as anti-Semitic as is humanly possible. Rather, the point should be to reawaken racial consciousness in White people and to prevent Whites from becoming an exploited minority in currently majority White nations.
Identifying with Nazi Germans because of shared problems with Jewish people is also off base because of how radically different the situations are. In 1939, there was no Jewish ethnostate. Many Jewish people tried to leave Germany in the build-up to the second world war, but Western nations would not take many of them in. Had Israel existed at the time, far more Jewish people would have left Germany. In fact, Germany may have just exiled Jewish people the same way Spain and England did earlier.
The tension between Jewish people and Europeans for a large segment of history has been fundamentally defined by the fact that Jews were a permanent immigrant group everywhere they went. This made them naturally in opposition to European nationalism. Israel changes this.
In sum, anti-Semitism was not unique to Nazi Germany, and the specific problems that the Nazis had with Jews, and the actions they took in response, make no sense in a contemporary context. When you identify as a Nazi simply because you are an anti-Semite, you are doing exactly what the left wants, and only serving to further the public’s deep dislike of anti-Semitism.
Of all the things Nazi Germany has come to be erroneously associated with, none is more absurd than racial science. Nazi Germany stands out as being unusually opposed to empirical, naturalistic, racial science, at a time when many Western nations were in favor of it.
In the late 19th and early 20th century, the evolutionary and racial thinking which took hold in Germany had a metaphysical and anti-positivist bent. I don’t know that there is a systematic way of demonstrating this, so what I have elected to do is briefly point to a few thinkers who I believe exemplify this trend.
Arthur de Gobineau (1816-1882) was an important racial thinker who seems to have been an important source of the Nazi’s conviction that the rise and fall of civilizations was largely a function of the degradation of the genetic quality of populations. Gobineau spent a great deal of time justifying this belief but did not rely on empirical evidence to do so. Gobineau was part of a romantic intellectual tradition and opposed the application of scientific methodology in the humanities.
Ernst Haeckel (1834 – 1919) popularized evolutionary theory in the German speaking world. Haeckel was a great biologist, but he was also famously not held down by the facts. He would speculative about all manner of things, ranging from cell chemistry that was not yet observable to species which no one knew of but which he thought would someday be discovered. Moreover, he had a tendency to blend science with metaphysics and regarded evolution as an all encompassing theory which could explain all of nature rather than just biology.
Houston Stewart Chamberlain (1855 – 1927) was another key thinker in the development of Nazi racial thought. Born British, he would eventually become a naturalized German citizen and a German supremacist, marry Wagner’s daughter, have his birthday celebrated as a holiday in Germany, and become an early member of the Nazi party.
Chamberlain was an important proponent of the idea that civilizational success was largely a function of the degree to which a civilization was managed by Aryans, and that the degradation of Aryan bloodlines and, therefore, civilizations, was often the fault of Jews.
Chamberlain was also an advocate of a “moral” definition of race whereby he labeled Jesus, Shakspere, and Dante, among others, “Germans”. Chamberlain was radically anti-positivist and regarded over reliance on science to be one of the greatest problems with the thinking of his time.
It is worth noting that the German and non-German speaking world had increasingly divergent schoolf of thought following the First World War. This was evident when, for instance, Germans were barred from attending the Second International Eugenics Congress of 1921 (an event which was attended by Winston Churchill and Herbert Hoover). In the 1930s, population geneticists in America helped form organizations which denounced Nazi uses and understandings of racial science.
An especially clear area of difference between the Germany and the Anglo world concerns IQ testing. The most important people in the early development of intelligence testing were probably Franci Galton (British), Charles Spearman (British), Alfred Binet (French) and Lewis Terman (American). By the first world war, the American military was mass administering IQ tests. By the second world war, IQ testing was being utilized in schools in America, England, and France.
By contrast, the Nazis did not trust IQ testing. Hans Eysenck, a psychologist who grew up in Nazi Germany, recalls that psychometrically valid intelligence tests were banned under the Third Reich. On page 16 of his 1979 book The structure & measurement of intelligence he wrote: “Stalin, as already noted, banned intelligence testing for being “bourgeois”, and Hitler did the same because it was “Jewish”.
Some people will be surprised to hear this, as it is often said that the Nazi used IQ tests to determining who to sterilize as part of the eugenics program. Nickolas Mackintosh clears this up on page 20 of his test book IQ and Human Intelligence:
“German doctors did indeed cobble together a few questions, “Who was Bismark?”, “Who discovered America?”, which they could put to those suspected of mental disability, but they regarded the results of such tests with scepticism – especially when it was found that they failed to discriminate between normal and backward children in East Prussia, and that far too many members of the Nazi party were unable to give the correct answers (Burleigh, 2000)… Doctors were more likely to rely on their impressions of the victim’s behavior at the interview, and their interest in moral feeble-mindedness resulted in many of these questions being superseded by ones asking why people pray, or why you should tell the truth”.
Clearly, these were not the sort of well-validated intelligence tests used in the English speaking world at the time, and relied heavily on subjective impressions of doctors. Nazis did use tests of intelligence, but they were not the sort of thing that people commonly refer to when they talk about IQ tests.
Eugenics is also commonly associated with Nazi Germany. Eugenics as a term was coined by Francis Galton (British). The related school of thought called Social Darwinism was headed by Herbert Spencer (British). Eugenics programs were set up in the United States before the Nazi state even existed. In-between the two World Wars, the most important Eugenicist thinker was Madison Grant, an American whose work Hitler referred to as his bible. Eugenics was an idea that the Nazis embraced, but it was not one they thought of. Rather, it was a set of ideas they adopted from the English speaking world. Given this, the idea that English speaking people have rejected eugenics in part because of its association with Nazism should be seen as nothing but the work of rank propaganda.
Eugenics was an idea that the Nazis embraced, but it was not one they thought of. Rather, it was a set of ideas they adopted from the English speaking world. Given this, the idea that English speaking people have rejected eugenics in part because of its association with Nazism should be seen as nothing but the result of dishonest propaganda.
To be clear, I am not suggesting that the Nazis had no interest in science, or that Germans contributed nothing of value to racial thought. Rather, what I am trying to point out is that there was an anti-empiricist streak in German racial thought, and a disregard for serious psychological testing, which made it less similar to contemporary race realism than was the popular thought in many other nations of the time. At the same time, ideas that the Nazi regime did embrace, such as Eugenics, were not native to Germany or the Nazis. Given this, identifying race realism and eugenics with the Nazi regime is totally invalid.
Being an antisemitic, race realist, eugenicist, White nationalist does not make you especially similar to the ideals of Nazi Germany. Rather, it makes you similar to most of the Western world before the Second Wolrd War. This includes America. In fact, no other nation came as close as America did to having the pan-European White nationalism that is common in the alt-right today. Given that most alt-righters are Americans, they should opt for American history as their foundation rather than inauthentically attaching themselves to a nation which no longer exists and which they were never a part of.
Larping as a Nazi is bad for public relations. In so far as the alt-right is good for Whtie people, that makes Nazi larping bad for White people too. Refusing to identify with the Nazis is not “optics cucking”, as American White nationalists in the 21st century are not, in fact, Nazis, and they are more similar to early 20th century American racial thought than actual Nazi thought anyhow. If the alt-right wants to progress as a movement, public displays of Nazi behavior should be severely looked down upon, and identification with the Nazis in private should be discouraged.