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 is unabashedly anti-feminist. It refuses to recognize the existence of patriarchy and naturalizes gender differences in terms of social status and social roles as biological outcomes rather than socially determined.

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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