America Cannot be saved?

No Horizontal Way Out

America Cannot be saved?

In his comments on my discussion of alternate modernities, Paul Gottfried observes that in our present situation there’s no educational program, system of alliances, or political and cultural strategy that seems likely to get us out of the hole we’re in.

I agree. If we start with what I called the modern “attempt to base social order simply on this-worldly empirical man,” we can’t get anywhere, because we can’t escape the problem of conflicting wills fighting over who gets what. The only way to deal with that problem is by some combination of force and fraud, and any new combination of programs, alliances, and strategies is just going to be one more configuration of force and fraud. Why should our force and fraud work out better than everyone else’s? Haven’t the possibilities been tried and found wanting?

The problem, it seems, is the basic modern understandings that make our present situation what it is and so condition all the programs, alliances, strategies, and so on that now seem reasonable and practical. Things won’t get a whole lot better until those understandings change, and that won’t happen because some group of activists and theoreticians puts together a system of understandings that’s more to their liking and tries to get them adopted by the dominant forces in society.

In particular, as Paul notes, right-wingers aren’t going to create a better world by getting together and aligning themselves with selected religious institutions, “command[ing] the political class and its allies in the media, the entertainment industry, and public education to change their worldview,” and educating the masses into an outlook more to their liking. Among other problems, religious institutions themselves are affected by the dominant understandings.

But what then? If we don’t like the way things are there must be some response–alcohol, skydiving, suicide, whatever–that makes sense even if political maneuvering is not likely to do much for us.

My proposal was to “go back to first things.” What defines the political situation is what seems best and most real to the people involved, and if the situation is impossible those things must change. Current understandings have basic problems that (among other things) lead to a view of man as essentially asocial and eventually mean various forms of tyranny as well as “mindlessness and incompetence on the part of rulers and ruled.”

It follows that the dissatisfied need first of all to understand the world better, and in a way that enables them to live in a manner more worthy of human nature. That, of course, is a prepolitical issue. It’s worth dealing with in itself, since doing so will help ourselves and our families and friends. It’s more than just a personal matter, though, since such initiatives can spread and transform social life. At some point some initiative will–it’s happened before and will happen again–so why not ours if it’s superior?

The present setup has basic contradictions, and won’t last forever any more than other social arrangements have. With that in mind, those with an outlook and way of life that is more true and more worth living by should make their pitch and see what catches on and endures. As I commented, “revolutions begin in thought, and the way of thought that makes people most functional and enables them to deal most intelligently with the world has a good shot at winning eventually.”

The proposal sounds impossibly conjectural and long-range, but when there is no obvious quick fix you drop day-to-day events as your reference point and do what you can for what could work in principle. If what’s needed is a change in basic understandings then that’s what you should pursue. Modernity makes effectiveness the measure of thought, but to deal with the world effectively you have to deal on their own terms with issues that precede effectiveness, like what is real and good.

Such an approach might get results soon: things might be better than they seem, late modernity might be a bubble about to burst, the Church (which like everything else has its own characteristic way of functioning) might be about to revert to type, or something nobody has thought of might happen. Or it might take effect slowly or not at all. The same is true of every approach, though, and the basic point is that this approach–unlike others–could work in concept, and is worth pursuing on its own terms even if it does not.

The big question is what a superior way of thought would be. On that point opinions differ and discussion is necessary. In order to deal with man as he actually is and the problems politics actually present we need an outlook that’s adequate to the world as we experience it. It seems clear, to me at any rate, that such an outlook requires an understanding of practical rationality not limited to technology and of knowledge not limited to modern natural science.

Otherwise we cannot, among other things, understand people. To understand and deal with life and human beings as we find them, I suggested that “something like the Christian soul, or at least a human essence that by nature is oriented toward the good” is necessary. Whether I’m right on that is a matter for discussion. Still, each of us in his manner of life displays what he thinks is most real and most worth living by. We’re more likely to make progress on basic issues to the extent we articulate and examine such commitments. Our problems today really are that basic, which is the reason there seems to be no exit from them.

Semper PC

The Real Agenda Behind the Repeal of DADT

The forces behind the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), namely homosexual activists, the media elite, Obama, leading Democrats, and some Republicans, have portrayed their efforts as a matter of “fairness,” “equality,” and “inclusion.”

Overturning the Clinton-era law isn’t about allowing individual gay servicemen to serve honorably as airman, sailors, soldiers, or Marines. What the repeal of DADT really comes down to is power and influence—the never-ending recognition and affirmation of homosexuality as a publicly sanctioned alternative “lifestyle”—and the political establishment rewarding an important constituency of liberal activists.

It is the latest attempt to normalize behavior that society has historically considered destructive and debauched. It is about extending group rights and privileges, societal recognition, and acceptance to a previously shunned subculture.

Author and Philosopher Michael Levin has identified the crux of what lies behind activist agenda:

It is commonly asserted that legislation granting homosexuals the privilege or right to be firemen endorses not homosexuality, but an expanded conception of human liberation. … A society that grants privileges to homosexuals while recognizing that, in the light of generally known history, this act can be interpreted as a positive re-evaluation of homosexuality, is signaling that it now thinks homosexuality is all right. … Many commentators in the popular press have observed that homosexuals, unlike members of racial minorities, can always “stay in the closet” when applying for jobs. What homosexual rights activists really want, therefore, is not access to jobs but legitimation of their homosexuality.

Supporters of the repeal of DADT frequently argue that purging the armed forces of homosexuals hurts the operational effectiveness of the military since many homosexual servicemen and women are highly skilled professionals. Hence, not allowing homosexuals to openly serve as homosexuals drains the military of much-needed talent. But it’s hard to imagine that a serviceman can’t adequately perform his job without announcing to everyone his sexual orientation.

The DADT repeal ultimately marks an attempt by activists to keep homosexuality before the public until this subculture is fully integrated into all spheres of American society. Today the military, tomorrow marriage.

In voting to repeal DADT, Sen. Richard M. Burr (R-NC) stated that repeal was “generationally right” and argued that Americans “don’t think exclusion is the right thing for the United States to do.” However, exclusion—maintaining high standards for selecting qualified applicants—is what has historically made the U.S. armed forces an effective and efficient fighting force. Stripping away the military’s exclusionary character, lowering standards for politically correct social experimentation, will eventually erode its combat effectiveness.

Every year, thousands of applicants are rejected from serving in the military because these prospects do not pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a multi-aptitude test. Scores in four critical areas (arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, and mathematics knowledge) comprise an applicant’s Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score. Passing the baseline AFQT score determines whether or not applicants are qualified to enlist in the U.S. military. (A recent report by the Education Trust found that 23 percent of high school graduates fail to meet the minimum threshold on the enlistment test to join any branch of the U.S. military.)

The ASVAB is discriminatory in the sense that it weeds out unqualified applicants and the results often have “disparate impact,” in other words the disqualified applicant pool has a greater impact among ethnic and racial minorities.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Griggs v. Duke Power Co. that the use of an IQ test for employment selection is discriminatory under Title VII of Civil Rights Act because of the test’s “disparate impact” on racial minorities. The U.S. military has, by law, been exempt from discrimination lawsuits under the Civil Rights Act.

Granted, the military has recently both dumbed-down admissions as well as begun to eclipse the private sector in terms of “Diversity” hiring, but the point is that the cohesiveness and operational effectiveness of the U.S. military and the military’s primary mission of national defense depend upon preserving this exclusionary factor in recruit selection. The United States Armed Forces should remain isolated from egalitarian coercion—external pressure to conform and shape our military to contemporary fads and fashions.

Lifting DADT is indicative of what author John Kekes describes as the “Rhetoric of Toleration” in his book, The Illusions of Egalitarianism:

The truth is that egalitarian liberals advocate toleration of discrimination in favor of minorities and women (but not against them); of obscenity that offends religious believers and patriots (but not blacks and Jews); of unions’ spending large sums in support of political causes (but not corporations’ doing the same); of pot smoking (but not cigarette smoking); of abortion (but not capital punishment); of the public lies of Clinton (but not of Nixon); of hate speech against fundamentalists (but not homosexuals); of sex education in elementary schools (but not prayer); of jobs open only to union members (but not private clubs open only to males); of lies about American imperialism (but not the Holocaust); of sacrilegious language (but not of language that uses he to refer to all human beings); of scientific research into just about anything (except racial differences in intelligence); and so on and on…. [E]galitarian liberals are unique in favoring limits on what they dislike while claiming to champion toleration.

Repealing DADT is simply the removal of one more exclusionary barrier that egalitarians find contemptible. In the not too distant future, given the repeal of DADT, one can easily foresee “Gay Enlisted Clubs” and “Gay Officer Clubs” or the “Gay Leatherneck Association” or the Marine Corps branch of the Mattachine Society as the extension of this privileged group reaches new zeniths within the ranks of the U.S. military.

Worse, would not a logical extension of “non-discrimination” be granting the disabled—including the blind and lame—full “rights” as soldiers? Don’t laugh, moves in this direction have already been made.

Is it really worth jeopardizing the cohesiveness and combat effectiveness of an overwhelmingly macho institution such as the USMC for the sake of accommodating the agenda of the Stonewall Brigade?

The Optimistic Tribalist

Reading James Kalb’s thoughts on Alternative Modernities and Paul Gottfried’s pessimistic assessment of proposed solutions put me in the uncomfortable position of disagreeing with men I respect immensely. Mr. Kalb dismissed racial preservation as an intellectually weak guiding principle of social order; Dr. Gottfried warned that creating a biologically homogenous community may be wishful thinking. I agree with Dr. Gottfried that there presently seems to be no hope to be found in working through the system in order to save society from late modernity’s decay—which is why I think we should physically separate ourselves from it.

A separatist movement today would be no less practical than the Massachusetts Bay Colony was in the seventeenth century. Indeed, given the advancements in transportation, communication, medicine and material resources, the main obstacle to sparking such a movement might be that its goal would be too easily attained. The call to create a separate society summons men who seek to live dangerously; imitating the Amish in that respect does not strike most as a particularly risky endeavor. Still, if it is the best chance we have at making our ideas matter I think it should be seriously considered.

In his analysis of modernity’s various forms of political organization I’m not sure that Mr. Kalb himself has stepped outside of modernity’s perspective. He says that the preservation of a race cannot serve as a guiding principle of social order because that is not what men find worthwhile in life. Well, it is a commonplace in these quarters to say that man is a tribal animal. There are certainly limits to our sympathies but the proposition that tribal loyalty is not a healthy or effective basis for binding an individual to a community is one of the more egregious lies of liberalism. Racial exclusion has been the rule, not the exception, throughout human history. Living with people who look and act like you is not a convention that needs to be imposed on society by tyrants; it is a preference rooted in our blood. Try telling the Japanese that racial exclusion is not a healthy or effective principle; they would probably pay even less mind to that argument than the Israelis.

What Mr. Kalb apparently misses is the extent to which culture is shaped by human biology. Culture is an “extended phenotype”: different races will produce different cultures even given the same environmental conditions. This is why a degree of racial purity is vital for cultural homogeneity and its preservation. As Sam Francis famously said,

The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people.

That statement has powerful implications which should not be dismissed as intellectually weak. Most whites may not rank preserving their race as a personal priority but most will admit that they do not wish to see America look more like Mexico.

Furthermore, is holding that the guiding principles of social order need to be based on what men find worthwhile in life not the liberal perspective in essence? What men find worthwhile has shallower roots than I think Mr. Kalb supposes. Religion is a natural phenomenon but it is not a universal need. We should not underestimate how much of what we value in life is shaped by those we consider moral authorities. Indeed, a basic problem is that we lack the kind of noble and charismatic leader whose moral authority commands the attention of a significant number of men; we have not heard a convincing political leader tell us that the preservation of the tribe is a worthwhile duty in a long time. (Jared Taylor would be a worthy candidate.) Pericles did not ask men what they thought was worthwhile in life: He told them their duties and they found honor in fulfilling them.

Now, it may be worth making a distinction between tribalism as a guiding principle and tribalism as a founding principle. Tribalism makes no sense as a guiding principle for a society that seeks to be more than one dimensional and in a world where men depend on people whom they will never meet for nearly all of their material needs; but we should not discount it as a founding principle. From there it follows that to preserve what has been founded is to be assumed.

Our Glenn Beck?

Alex Jones and the Alt Right

Our Glenn Beck? Alex Jones at work (photo: IFC)

In the early 1990s, a then-recent high school graduate named Alex Jones began hosting a cable-access program in Austin, Texas. By 1996, he had become the host of a local talk show called “The Final Edition” on Austin’s KJFK radio station. This was during the height of the 1990s “patriot” movement, which spawned the notorious militia groups of the time, and Jones’ program became a local voice for causes championed by the movement, such as criticizing the federal government’s massacre of the Branch Davidian sect in Waco in 1993 and opposing supposed plots for a “one-world government” being advanced by global elites at the expense of American sovereignty.

Jones’s antigovernment rhetoric alienated the station’s advertisers, and he was fired from KJFK in 1999. Fortunately for him, his program was picked up by the Genesis Communications Network and is now syndicated through over sixty radio and Internet outlets. Alex Jones likewise maintains two websites, Infowars.com and PrisonPlanet.com, where he disseminates his ideas and promotes his program. He has built his audience of fans into the millions.

The primary significance of Alex Jones is that he is arguably the most popular of any “alternative grassroots radio host” (his own self-description) that offers an authentic right-wing populism and takes a consistently anti-establishment line regardless of which political party is actually in power. That the most well known supposedly “conservative” talk-radio hosts like Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, and Ingraham are simply Republican Party shills and propagandists on behalf of the neoconservatives who provide the GOP’s intellectual leadership is easy enough to ascertain. Alex Jones is miles apart from the official “conservative movement” at both the leadership and rank-and-file levels.

Jones regards American political leaders as front men for shadowy international elites who are identified as hated perpetrators of the “New World Order” with electoral contests between the two major parties simply being an elaborately constructed ruse, the purpose of which is to deflect attention from the real overlords of the global order by creating the divisive distraction of partisan politics. Jones repeatedly and emphatically states that he rejects the conventional Left/Right model of the political spectrum and that not only partisan politics but the mainstream “culture wars” are manufactured by the globalists’ minions as part of their strategy to “divide and conquer” Americans and bring about their enslavement at the hands of the NWO.

His stated position on issues of controversy is simply, “If the globalists are for it, we have to be against it.”

Indeed, Jones seems to have a gift for constructing a message and a worldview that allows him to have an appeal to each of the varying sects of the grassroots “radical right” without fully alienating anyone. His ideology gives the appearance a cautiously balanced synthesis of ideas lifted from constitutionalists, survivalists, firearms enthusiasts, libertarians, Ron Paul fans, evangelical Christians, immigration opponents, and nationalists without fully embracing any of these tendencies to the exclusion of others.

Jones’s broader worldview consists of standard brand conspiracy theories of the types previously advanced by groups like the John Birch Society involving plots for one-world government sponsored by international financial elites, with a specific animus for both older targets like the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, or the Bilderberger group as well as more recently emergent international demons like George Soros.

Jones’s conspiracism is likewise ecumenical in nature. He specifically denies that such common targets as the Catholic Church, the Freemasons, or the Jews are the real forces behind the evil machinations of the globalists. Jones’ worldview tends to identify Anglo-American elites as the primary sponsors and beneficiaries of the New World Order, with other nations merely being puppets of such elites. For instance, “communist” China is described by Jones as a mere “guinea pig” state deliberately created by the globalists as a kind of test market for some of their more unsavory ideas, such as population control through forced abortions, sterilizations or euthanasia. He suggests that the 9-11 attacks were likely carried out by British and American agents. Indeed, global elites are regularly accused by Jones of hatching all sorts of sinister plots involving eugenics, genetic engineering, the use of technology towards tyrannical ends and the like, with references to dystopian novels like Brave New World or 1984 being recurring themes of Jones’s program. Jones also frequently identifies the European royal families, particularly the British, as key purveyors of evil around the world, something he shares in common with the Lyndon LaRouche sect.

One interesting aspect of Jones’s message is that he deliberately downplays ordinary culture war issues while playing to grassroots right-wing populist phobias of a more exotic nature. On the question of homosexuality, for instance, he will employ conventional Religious Right rhetoric about homosexuals having to perpetuate their ranks through “recruitment” (with the implied accusations of pedophilia and pederasty behind such claims), while at the same time claiming that proponents of the New World Order wish to divide Americans according to matters like race, religion, or sexual orientation in order to prevent a united front against the globalists from developing. He has referred to abortion clinics as “abortuaries” and implied that abortionists may well be involved in some sort of Satanic ritual practice. And interestingly, he has also compared to the supposed massive deaths caused by the abortionists to the vast casualties generated by the neoconservatives’ war in Iraq.

Yet the pro-life cause is not a particularly significant aspect of Jones’s rhetoric and ideology. Instead, Jones devotes an inordinate amount time to a variety of alleged conspiracies such as plots for drugging the drinking water of Americans through fluoridization or exploiting fears of vaccinations. True to his claims of non-partisanship and transcending the Left/Right divide, Jones endorses the ideas of both the “birthers” and the “9-11 truthers.” While holding to conventional conservative positions on issues like global warming, Jones also dismisses the hand-wringing of FOX News fans over matters such as the appointment of Van Jones or the construction of the mosque at Ground Zero as inconsequential distractions from the globalists’ agenda.

Alex Jones’s stance on economic questions reflects a much more genuine populism than the corporate apologetics of conventional “movement conservatism.” His broadcasts are filled with news of economic gloom and doom, which is not surprising considering both his audience and contemporary times. His attacks on NAFTA and other manifestations of the global economy mirror those of the left-wing “anti-globalization” movement, and he often sounds not unlike Noam Chomsky in his denunciation of corporate control over the American regime, which he describes as “a completely evil government run by completely wicked corporations.”

Jones attacks the Rockefellers for having invented philanthropy for the purpose of masking their evilness, including their exploitation of workers during the era that Rockefeller wealth was being built up. This view of philanthropy is actually not dissimilar to Left-anarchist and Left-Marxist views of private charity or even the welfare state as a means of masking the social injustices perpetrated by plutocrats by pretending to be doing something about them. Jones regards the plutocrats and financial elites as working hand in hand with socialists and communists as a means of bringing about centrally planned totalitarian tyrannies, insisting that the financial oligarchs always prefer collectivist regimes as more compatible with their own interests.

As evidence of this, Jones cites a 1973 op-ed in the New York Times by David Rockefeller praising the regime of Mao Tse-tung. Rockefeller did, indeed, write the editorial in question, though his actual assessment of Maoist China was somewhat less enthusiastic and more nuanced than what Jones claims. Jones also parrots the Ron Paul line on central banking and the Federal Reserve. He mocks Glenn Beck fans who regard Obama as a communist, pointing out that the president’s biggest backers are Goldman-Sachs, and describes Obamacare as advancing the interests of big insurance companies.

It is on the question of foreign policy that Jones differs most from “movement conservatives” and the neoconservatives in particular. He is a staunch immigration restrictionist, and is an outspoken supporter of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 law. He insists that immigration control is a matter of national sovereignty, economic wellbeing and crime prevention rather than race, and cites purported Hispanic-American support for immigration reduction as evidence for this claim. The global elite are accused of overrunning the traditional populations of individual nations with incompatible immigrants as a prelude to enslavement.

Jones is likewise critical of the Israel lobby and its influence over US foreign policy, even to the point of accusing Israel of staging false terrorist attacks against itself in order to generate international sympathy. He insists, however, that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism, and indeed he walks a fine line as both an immigration restrictionist and a critic of Israel without veering off into the wilder forms of nativism, racialism, or Judeophobia. Yet, Jones is not wishy-washy on these questions, either. For instance, he stridently attacks organizations such as MECHA and La Raza as “racist cults of death,” and talks about his experiences as a “yuppie white kid” who was taught white guilt in school but was subsequently enlightened by immigration problems first brought to his attention by Hispanic-American friends and acquaintances while still in high school.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as U.S. threats against Iran or involvement in other places like Colombia, are dismissed by Jones as serving the interests of the New World Order. In addition to consistent outspokenness in his opposition to features of the terror war like secret trials, torture, the Patriot Act, etc. Jones denounces the present day United States as an aggressive imperialist empire and one of the world’s most oppressive police states, insisting that “the military-industrial complex has taken America over.” He has gone much further than simply opposing the police state provisions of the terror war.

Jones also denounces the war on drugs and supports decriminalization and he has featured guests on his program discussing the ills of the “prison-industrial complex,” the medical neglect of prisoners, and so forth. Indeed, Jones’ denunciations of the state are frequently Lew Rockwellian in nature: “The state is the most frequent cause of unnatural death.” On the Iraq war, Jones has acknowledged that perhaps as many as one million Iraqi civilians have been killed as a consequence of the war. He even interviewed Vincent Bugliosi on his program when Bugliosi’s book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder came out it 2008. Bugliosi, of course, is most famous for his role as the lead prosecutor in the trial of Charles Manson. More recently, Bugliosi has endorsed putting the architects of the Iraq war (i.e. George W. Bush and his inner circle) on trial for the murder of American troops killed in Iraq on the grounds that it was initiated under fraudulent pretenses and is therefore an illegal war, with a possible death penalty if convicted. Jones has endorsed Bugliosi’s efforts in this regard. Clearly, Jones’s ideas and rhetoric are worlds away from that of the knee-jerk jingoists, Israel-firsters, and terror war hysterics who make up much of the more mainstream “conservative” talk radio milieu.

Of course, the key question that arises for Alternative Right readers from any assessment of Alex Jones’s work is the matter of to what degree he is helpful, harmful, or even relevant to our own purposes of creating an intellectually independent Right that is devoid of the pernicious influence of the neoconservatives and the official conservative movement held in their grip.

Jones is clearly not an intellectual. Indeed, even his demeanor and tone of voice resembles that of a carnival barker. One has to wonder how much of Jones’s rhetoric he actually takes seriously and how much of it is simply a product he is selling to his audience. It is a fair question, given that he hawks soap during his program’s commercials and regularly features advertisements for the kinds of quack products common to tabloid right-wing populist media outlets. The worldview he promotes relies on the purveyance of conspiracy theories of a dubious and often silly nature rather than serious political, economic, structural, and institutional analysis. His positions on certain questions at times involve pandering to genuine obscurantism, for instance, Jones’s regurgitation of hoary phobias regarding fluoride and vaccines, his claims that evolutionary biology is a pseudo-science fostered by sinister eugenicists, and his throwing bones to biblical fundamentalism with suggestions that the New World Order might be some kind of fulfillment of ancient religious prophecy.

Still, it is refreshing to have the opportunity to listen to a right-wing talk radio host who actually refers to Glenn Beck as a “punk” and a “whore” for the Republican establishment and who calls Bill O’Reilly a “pinhead” while praising Lou Dobbs as a “trailblazer.” Jones’ interpretation of the role of “conservative” media outlets like FOX News in American politics is actually fairly accurate. For instance, he suggests that libertarian critics of terror war police state policies and legislation like Judge Andrew Napolitano are given an occasional corner in mainstream “conservative” media out of recognition that an audience for such views does exist, but that those holding such views are kept off the main stage so that their message is obscured by the broader focus on those personalities who loudly parrot the neoconservative line on issues of substance.

Judging by the comments of callers into his program, Jones seems to have a fairly diverse audience. Not only are the aforementioned sects of the radical Right well represented, but he also seems to have something of a following among ordinary libertarians and even some leftists, particularly young people who are attracted to his rebellious anti-establishment posturing, his attacks on multinational corporations, and the resemblance of some of the conspiracy theories Jones’ promotes to similar theories found in New Age and occult circles. The ethnic accents of his callers indicate that he has something of an audience among Blacks and other minorities as well. He also seems to have a large audience among dissidents within the rank and file of the military.

These factors would seem to be the most important aspects of the Alex Jones phenomenon. Most of us who are sympathetic to the Alternative Right are no doubt rather elitist in our thinking. We know that most people are not capable of being intellectuals, and that most people are indeed more motivated by habit, custom, myth, cues taken from peers and perceived authority figures, or the norms of their community or culture of origin than by a thoughtful contemplation of ideas. For instance, our discussions of Nietzsche, Evola, Schmitt, Hobbes, Heidegger, or Benoist would no doubt be either uninteresting or incomprehensible to many hard-core Alex Jones fans. Not being egalitarians, we should not necessarily have any problem with that. But there is the wider problem of how to disseminate ideas to a wider audience in such a way that the ideas in question can actually take root and evolve into an actual movement capable of exercising genuine political influence.

A successful political movement must attract the attention of the mediocre as well as the superior and, to paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, the incompetent many as well as the capable few. On most major issues of importance, Alex Jones does indeed hold positions that would overlap relatively well with those of many among the alternative Right. That the wider analytical framework he draws on may often be rather shabby or that he wraps many of his more solid ideas in ornamental obscurantism may be frustrating to those who aspire to high intellectual standards. Yet high intellectual standards are not what would keep Jones’s audience listening. Instead, his fans appear to be mostly people who recognize instinctively that something is very wrong with the society around them, and that the performance of its institutions continues to deteriorate noticeably with its leaders being increasingly inept.

Further, Jones is in a position to function as a siphon capable of pulling ordinary fans of mainstream “conservative” media towards a more genuinely anti-establishment perspective. No doubt he reaches much of the same demographic that a politically influential alternative Right would need to reach. Alex Jones provides something of a glimpse into what a “movement alternative Right” as opposed to “movement Conservatism” might look like at the lower levels. No doubt the Kristols and Podhoretzes of the world look at the context of FOX News and “conservative” talk radio and privately snicker at its more lowbrow content. The elite among an alternative Right might well view the crudities of its lower order elements and do the same.

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