UNDERSTANDING ALT-RIGHT THINKING: 5 Things to Know

It is hard to ignore the rapid rise of so-called “Alt-Right” thinking in popular culture. Here are five observations based on my encounters with this discourse:

  1. It is heavily invested in utilitarian-individualism. This form of individualism finds the meaning of life in the maximization of individual self-interest (above all else).
  2. It champions social inequality which is viewed as natural, good and the result of innate individual characteristics; moreover, this inequality is seen as a necessary condition for competition.
  3. It is attracted to scientific racism. It embraces the notion that the human race can be divided into sub-species and that empirical evidence exists to support claims regarding the superiority and inferiority of these sub-species.
  4. It displays reverence for rationalism. It venerates opinions based on reason demonstrated through either inductive or deductive reasoning while eschewing opinion based on lived experience and observation.
  5. It demonstrates a propensity towards moral agnosia. It refuses and/or fails to qualitatively distinguish between different types of statements and levels of claims-making and in the process weaves a seemingly endless string of false equivalences.

These characteristics give some shape to the Alt-Right’s pronounced antipathy towards notions of social obligation, social equity, shared responsibility and, most of all, social justice.

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