The Establishment And The Alt-Right


Since this is the Internet, I should make it plain that discussing a thing does not make you part of the thing.

Strikes me the Establishment’s reaction at the rise of the Alt-Right is like that of an intellectual Stick Boy who has been teasing what he has been taking to be a dim-witted Ruffian, but a Ruffian who was just a little sharper than Stick Boy thought, and whose blood is now up.

Ruffian finally has taken one too many jibes. He stands, his fist clenched, spittle foaming at the edge of his mouth. He’s ready to crush Stick Boy, who finally senses the danger he is in, but whose only recourse is to screech, “You Brute!”

It is not going to end well for Stick Boy.

Take the well known pirate Ace who for years was a loyal ruffian. He thought the good-natured pranks pulled on him by Establishment (GOP branch) stick boys were signals the Establishment liked him. But he wised up. “You know, for years, I felt it was my duty to sell these [Establishment crap] sandwiches to readers for the Greater Good of winning elections.” Now he says, and means it, “the establishment has to be destroyed.”

He’s raised the Jolly Roger:

We will not be ignored, we will not be condescended to, we will no longer accept broken promises and lies as our payment for our service to the GOP.

And if it requires destroying the GOP and electing a Democrat to teach the establishment this lesson, to chastise them and to humble them, then we shall do just that, and do so happily.

You will either come to terms, or you will be destroyed.

Ace was not alone. There were many others, which frightened the Establishment. It knew it had to do something. It looked upon the gathering forces and cast spells on them. “Racist!”, they shouted, “Fascist! Populist!” The stick boys did not, and still do not, understand these words, so powerful in the pass, now have the opposite of their intended effect. Besides, calling somebody a “populist” in a democracy makes as much sense as yelling “Driver!” at a man behind the wheel of a car.

The Establishment believes the ruffians have no idea what they are doing in supporting Trump. This is why they post broadsheets listing Trump’s deficiencies, in hopes of teaching ruffians the truth. But the ruffians already know, or think they do. It’s just that the ruffians hate the Establishment more than what Trump might do. As it is, at this moment anyway, Trump is thrashing the stick boys. Not in a pretty way, of course; but that he is doing it at all is enough for the ruffians, who have been spoiling for a fight and for the chance to act like men in a culture saturated in effeminacy.

What a shock it would be to the ruffians if Trump turned out to be part of the Establishment! This, I think, would be the one jibe too many. Or Trump could turn out just like the Establishment fears, and call the ruffians his own. Or the whole thing could blow over and we continue our picturesque descent into decadence (this is my guess).

On the second possibility, we agree with Nick Land that “If you think people power is basically great, but the Left have just been doing it wrong, the Alt-Right is most probably what you’re looking for.” Land says:

Alt-Right is inclined to anti-capitalism, ethno-socialism, grievance politics, and progressive statism. Its interest in geopolitical fragmentation (or Patchwork production) is somewhere between hopelessly distracted and positively hostile. Beside its — admittedly highly entertaining — potential for collapse catalysis, there’s no reason at all…to have the slightest sympathy for it. Space for tactical cooperation, within the strategic framework of pan-secessionism, certainly exists, but that could equally be said of full-on Maoists with a willingness to break things up.

So you don’t want to join the Establishment but aren’t thrilled with the Alt-Right, what’s the alternative? Theoretically or practically? Well, forget theoretically, as least for today. We’re stuck with what we have. Practically, since it was the Establishment that created the Alt-Right, and nobody sees the Establishment giving up, well, look for more of the same, only more so.

Update: I’m afraid I didn’t make it clear that I am not talking about the election per se, but of our cultural situation in general.


  1. “Since this is the Internet, I should make it plain that discussing a thing does not make you part of the thing.”
    I’ve tried that line. Many people simply do not comprehend this and insist if you report on it, you believe it.

    It is fascinating that Obama was elected TWICE as hatred of Bush and Republicans. So now there’s a move to elect Trump because Obama and Democrats are hated. Same action, expecting a different outcome. Let’s hope “Hopey-Changey” Trump works out better than “Hope and Change” Obama did, but don’t count on it. Voting without regard to anything but hatred of the other party (and this is hatred of Obama, which includes anyone who went along with him) generally has bad outcomes, especially when the entire campaign is based on hatred.

  2. Anon

    It is the “hatred” thing that is the problem. I’m not completely thrilled with the policies and direction of the Obama administration (hello, IRS, ATF, NSA, and EPA), but I don’t think my disagreement would fall into the area of “hate” (the range of feelings go from discouragement, disappointment, and distress to grudging acceptance—but I hasten to add that I have had the same reaction to some of the things dreamed up by Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan).

    I don’t entirely fault the presidents, as they largely inherit a workforce that has more staying power than their term of office. I am pretty sure that the president does not know in fine detail what is happening in the myriad of federal agencies. (And, it would not surprise me to find out that the average government work leans left, as leaning left [usually] leads to job security.)

    In earlier days of US history, men and women who disagreed with each other could be civil to each other and have genuine conversations that would lead to solutions and compromises that would benefit the “greater good.” That former spirit of cooperation—not animated by hatred (or vengeance or grievance-mongering)–has been lost, and has been lost for quite some time.

  3. Jim Fedako


    “We’re stuck with what we have. Practically, since it was the Establishment that created the Alt-Right, and nobody sees the Establishment giving up, well, look for more of the same, only more so.”

    Was that an implicit endorsement of a Jeb / Kasich ticket?

    There is the option of withdrawing your support from the political game, advocating for liberty while exposing the state for what it is.

    Once your friends and neighbors come to believe that non-coerced men and women can coordinate their efforts do the simple things, like removing garbage, inspecting homes, etc., they will realize an all-intrusive government is not required, despite what statists on both sides of the aisle claim — as well as those who agitate for the state out of a fear of liberty, in support of political tribal-alliances, or in order to become political rent-seekers.

    Note: To desire the strongman who will exert total control over the unwieldy, bureaucratic Leviathan is to desire that which will never happen. The strongman will only exert more control, via an expanding Leviathan, over you and me.

  4. At first reading I couldn’t guess what the “alt-right” was, so I googled and found this:
    which seems to be a pretty reasoned discussion.
    My beef with the alt-right, as manifested by their actions as Trump supporters (to not offend tender sensibilities I’ve decided to avoid that happy term, “Trumpkins”), is that they are not rational. They ignore all of Trump’s prior political actions–support for Planned Parenthood, the Clintons, Eminent Domain–and his bankruptcies and listen only to his claims of what he will do–without telling how he’s going to do it.
    Well, as the old saying goes, “The people get the government they deserve.”
    Would that we could go back to the 40 shilling freehold requirement for the franchise.

  5. DAV

    Here’s the NRO response to the Trump backlash

    And quite frankly, nominating Trump would give Hillary a clear path.

    Been following the betting market for some time. Hillary has been at around 50% for the presidency for some time (several weeks, although it has dipped as low as 40%). Trump is favored for the GOP nomination. Maybe the punter belief in that is keeping Hillary up? Hard to say.

  6. Bob K: I don’t think the fact that Trump is not a conservative is as important as his being a copy of Obama—all flash, promises and no real platform. People voted for “hope and change” and they certainly got change. Trump is promising the exact same thing—hope and change. With no real plan. (He is not against amnesty—he has said he will “let the good ones back in” after they are deported. So he’s against “bad” immigrants, not all immigrants. Ask yourself if Trump would be in favor of removing all Spanish from packaging, etc and making English our official language. Odds are, he’s not. He knows immigrants are not going to assimilate.) Electing another hope/change guy seems a bit irrational at this point, unless the idea is four more years of a guy running over all laws and concerns while running his own little fiefdom. Conservative or not.

    DAV: It may be worse than you think—Trump attacking Hillary may give Bernie Sanders a clear path. Unintended consequences.

  7. DAV


    If nominated, Bernie Sanders is likely to lose the national election. Even the Democrats think this. If Hillary doesn’t make it in IA or NH, there will be a scramble to find a replacement like Biden or anybody but Bernie. I get the impression even the Dems hate Hillary but right now she’s their best option for winning the general election.

  8. DAV: Bernie Sanders is Obama the Santa Claus all over again. Twice Obama the Santa Claus won. People love free money and handouts. Note that Trump dare not tell Iowans they don’t need their subsidies for ethanol, even though the subsidies result in higher costs and more prairie plowed up. He doesn’t care about the reality. He dares not tell them no. I would guess he can’t oppose wind and solar subsidies until much later, since many states including Iowa, lap those up those subsidies like candy too. Americans love handouts—Enzi got re-elected in Wyoming promising handouts. He delivered closed coal mines and a dying oil-industry. But if he ran tomorrow on the same platform, he’d win. Americans want “free” money. They’re no smarter than those who bought “cures” from gypsy wagons. Why do you think global warming has sold so well—free money to poor countries. It’s all about who you can promise money to. You NEVER have to actually deliver.

  9. DAV

    Yeah maybe but Bernie slipped and said how he was going to pay for things.
    1) He currently mostly appeals to millennials who think they have nothing to lose assuming they have actually thought about this at all.
    The vote for O was,
    2) it’s about time a black got in office and
    3) he’s one of ‘us’ so he’ll take care of ‘us’. Some of the ‘us’ are beginning to realize he was lying — especially when the monthly Ocare bill comes due even after an 80% subsidy.
    3) There was a ferocious backlash against the O in 2010 giving the republicans more seats in Congress since the 1920’s. I think these people will turn out again — particularity when they learn the Cost of Bernie and where the money will come from:

    Even the Democrats realize Bernie is a disaster hoping to happen. Nobody in Congress plays with him now. Try to find a list of his achievements. The people putting money down on the outcome believe at best he has a 10% chance of winning.

    Even if he got to the polls, Bernie would lose even if his opponent was Reagan’s Bonzo.

  10. Land is correct that the Alt-Right is not really as radical as the Reactosphere, and this largely stems from the fact that it is very single-issue-oriented usually. However, once one enters the Alt-Right, the hermetic brain lock has been busted, and we can pour all kind of ideas into their heads. The high IQ ones, we can recruit for more Reactionary ends. The rest can remain Trump’s Twitter-mob, all the better for us.

  11. DAV: Obama had no achievements in 2008 and definitely none in 2012 that were on the positive side. For that matter, Hillary has no accomplishments either. The “ferocious backlash” resulted in the $1.1 trillion budget being signed in 2015. There really was no backlash after the votes were counted. As for where the money comes from, the takers don’t care and at this point, the takers number very high. I guess I don’t share your belief that Sanders cannot win, since in 2012 everyone was sure Obama couldn’t.

    As for Trump, he told a group in Iowa he could “Shoot someone and not lose followers”. Obviously, even Trump recognizes how irrational his followers are.

  12. Jim Fedako


    “Update: I’m afraid I didn’t make it clear that I am not talking about the election per se, but of our cultural situation in general.”

    Correct. The problem is the culture … and its relationship to the state.

    A friend’s daughter hit a patch of ice — yeah, it is winter in Ohio — and slide into a ditch. Minor damage to the car. No one injured (neither driver nor passenger).

    A passerby stops, asks the girls if they are OK, and then says he’ll call the cops. Call the cops???

    The girls had cell phones and were in contact with their parents. Everything was being sorted out. In fact, a farmer was on the scene to pull the car out with his tractor.

    So the deputy arrives. After telling the girls it was too cold for him to be standing in the afternoon wind, he wrote the driver a ticket for the ultimate tautology — failure to control the car … on the ice. $176 smackeroos to add to the damage.

    After handing the ticket to the driver, he turned to open the door of his car, the “To Protect and Serve” sticker going unnoticed.

    There is no way to know if the passerby had an inkling that his call would result in the fine. Assuming he didn’t (i.e. he was acting in what he believed was the appropriate action — just as he was instructed on the playground in first grade), we are far from a time when it was expected that folks could sort out minor issues without involving the state. Today the mantra is, “Call 911.”

    As long as folks see the state as the solution in every aspect of life, the Establishment is needed … and happy that it is.

  13. DAV


    The point about achievements was evidence for how well Bernie might fare against a Congress he doesn’t get along with now. Nobody in Congress has payed any attention to him. There is no track record for Hillary, of course. Obama was an “it’s about time” candidate pushed by the party and it worked. His achievements were irrelevant. There are few who think “it’s about time” we double the national debt.

    And yes there was a backlash. More Republicans were voted in. That sentiment hasn’t vanished despite the apparent Republican acquiescence. People are still fed-up. Bernie is promising more reasons to be fed-up.

    Bernie won’t be popular once it becomes clear that the takers have to be in a very low income bracket (like near zero) to avoid being pinched by Bernie’s $18T plan. Nearly everybody will have to pay. Raising taxes is not popular and Bernie is not trying to hide his intentions.

  14. Briggs, the GOP made this bed when it absorbed the old, shall we say socially conservative, Southern Democrats after the Civil Rights Movement. This is not news to you or anyone else paying attention. This was a strategic political decision and it’s consequences are now long born. It is up to the GOP to either elevate it’s electorate or continue mucking around with the dullards.


  15. Nate


    Economics calls it “crowding-out”. The state “crowds-out” other institutions (even such simple ones as folks helping each other out). In many ways, the left sees this as a *good* thing, because folks helping each other out is messy and can’t be easily tracked and reported on (and made into a state-run enterprise – see “social work”).

  16. Yawrate

    I see the alt-right as a protest against the GOPe. They are composed of tea party and libertarian leaning conservatives. They feel shafted by both the Democrats and Republicans. They don’t care that many of Trump’s positions are not inline with the GOP. He hits the notes on important ones: Immigration, economy, debt. Even if he has no comprehensible plans he gives the impression that he can fix it. Further, the GOPe hates him. Trump thumbs his nose at the Republican establishment and supporting him means you too are thumbing your nose at the GOPe.

  17. DAV: Achievements don’t determine how well a president fares against/with Congress. Probably the biggest factor is “Does the media love the President and hate the Congress”? Because as we all know, Republicans are cowards and will do anything, kiss any part of the anatomy, etc, to be loved and adored by the press. If the press loves Bernie over Congress, Bernie wins.

    A backlash, perhaps on the part of the voters, but nothing on the part of those elected. It continues down the socialist path just as fast and furious as always, in spite of a repeated “backlash” in 2014. So if it’s a backlash, it’s a useless snapping about of a wet noodle. “apparent Republican acquiescence”??? I would really hate to see a “real” quiescence, since this “apparent” one resulted in funding terrorists.

    You’re thinking like a rational person here and voters are not rational, as witnessed by Trump’s statement. A free handout reads a free handout. Bernie is going to tax the rich and the greedy. That’s all his followers hear. He’s not hiding anything and they still love him. They loved Obama in 2012 after taxes were raised and jobs lost, because “taxes on the rich were not raised enough and the mean Republicans wouldn’t cooperate and Rush Limbaugh is to blame for all of this”. And raising taxes on the rich is very, very. very popular, right JMJ?

    JMJ: What you really mean is Republicans need to become Democrats to win. So you are in favor of a one-party rule, as long as it’s your party??? Of course, because this is about winning, not what is best for the country or anyone. Just win. You should LOVE Trump, you know. He’s all about winning. He said so.

    Nate: Agreed. There are two ways to take over a country—tanks or the government regulations. Tanks are messy. (Though government regulations are proving to be somewhat messy in Europe….)

  18. Yawrate: Yes, Trump followers are against the establishment. So were Obama’s—they were against Bush and Republicans. Voting for someone because the establishment hates them is equal to voting for Hillary because she’s a woman. Many people who would call voting for a woman irrational will turn around and support Trump.

  19. Geezer

    This was a strategic political decision and it’s consequences are now long born. It is up to the GOP to either elevate it’s electorate or continue mucking around with the dullards.

    I wonder if the dullards ever learned the difference between a possessive pronoun and a contraction.

  20. k. Kilty

    Jmj: you spout the usual Democrat history of politics post 1964, but the actual situation is more complex. First, the absorption of whatever southern Democrats willing to be absorbed was a Nixon southern strategy to win an election–cynical, yes, but it was the strategy Democrats had already practiced for a century. Your argument is, once again, Democrats good, Opponents bad.
    Second, factors other than civil rights are important, Wyoming was quite solidly Democrat for a long time, and stayed so after the mid 1960s . However, by the mid 1970s it became Republican and has stayed so ever since. Perhaps you can think of a landmark decision in say, 1972, that might have had some impact here. I suspect Roe v. Wade has had more impact reorganizing political parties than did the civil rights movement.
    Third, lots of the south’s old Democrats still exist. My accountant’s parent are staunch Democrats in Arkansas and were appalled that their party would nominate a black candidate in 2008. They did not voted for a Republican as a result, however, they stayed home. Their initial reaction was due racism, yes, but now they have seven years of what they see as wrongheaded policy to point to and will vote for Trump if he runs on any ticket. This is why I find most of the analysis on Trump, who I do not like as a candidate personally, to be wrong. He may bring lots of voters from the 45% who do not vote into play.
    I am happy that you find the world to be as simple as you philosophy, but I see it as pretty complex.

  21. Jim Fedako


    Actually, my example has nothing to do with the crowding out effect. The state is not crowding out a service or good. The issue is an over reliance on the state.

    Note that the state is worshipped by many on the ideological right (however that is currently defined). And there are many on the left who dislike and distrust the state — the homeschooling movement started on the left, though it’s now considered to be a movement of the right.

    Your will find hardliners on both sides who believe the state must educate children, even those on the right who shout slogans of liberty.

  22. Joy

    Geezer attack the argument not the apostrophe.

  23. Geezer

    Geezer attack the argument not the apostrophe.

    Silly me. I was thinking about living in a glass house or having a beam in one’s eye.

  24. Milton Hathaway

    Can’t say I agree with much of anything here so far. Everyone seems to falling into the ‘labels’ trap – lump people into a group, apply a label, assign a characteristic or common belief to the group, then use that as a hammer for some follow-on arguments or assertions.

    The reason this is a trap is that it leads to ‘preaching to the choir’. People tend to be very attuned to erroneous or unfair labels, since we are subjected to so much of it in day-to-day discourse (e.g., name-calling). The only people left reading are the ones that agree with the label to start with.

    I label myself a conservative. To me, that means I believe in what works, what makes the world a better place for humans, at present and in the future. A consequence of this definition is that I have to constantly reassess my beliefs in light of new arguments or new evidence that there is a better way. At the core of this belief is the idea that humans are imperfect and require a self-correcting societal structure for best results (e.g., distributed capitalism with a lot of individual freedom).

    I label many other people and beliefs as liberal. To me, this means subjugating the idea of what works to what should work or what superficially seems fair, with little regard for unintended or long-term consequences.

    So yes, I use labels too, but for purposes of understanding or predicting behavior, but not as a means to win converts.

    I have no idea what to label Trump, and I really don’t care. He wouldn’t be my first choice, but here’s what I do like about him:

    1) He appears immune to political correctness, which is a huge weapon in the liberal arsenal (“just shut up, you nasty human”).

    2) He appears immune to the donor class, whose objectives don’t align with my definition of conservatism.

    3) He is sucking up all the poison from the Demorrhagic press. The last few presidential elections have been characterized by the press, in effect, choosing the Republican nominee by picking off front-runners one at a time, leaving Republicans uninspired by election time. That hasn’t happened this time with Trump as the front-runner.

    4) He’s from the private sector and understands economics (contrast Obama).

    5) He appears to understand teamwork and putting the right people in the right places (contrast Obama). I have a gut feeling he will put the right people on the Supreme Court.

    6) He appears to have little respect for precedent, especially ineffective precedent. This is probably the biggest difference I see between the governing class and the business class, the attitude toward precedent. Since the Demorrhagics have little respect for precedent when it gets in the way of their goals, this has been severe handicap for the precedent-worshipping Republicans.

    7) He appears to deeply love the country and understands that the best future for the USA aligns with the best future for the world (contrast Obama).

    Here’s what worries me about Trump:

    1) Will he cave after the election?

    2) Does he understand that while a powerful president can undo much of Obama’s damage with another pen-stroke, a permanent fix requires structural changes to halt and reverse the huge accumulation of power in the Federal government? Trump could alleviate much of this concern for me personally by promising to call for a Constitutional Convention as part of his core campaign.

    Most of the reasons given by others about Trump don’t bother me. I see these as labels, either how he is labeled by others or how he labels himself now or how he labeled himself in the past. Every one of those labels has an ulterior motive behind it aimed at a specific audience, and I’m too lazy to try to decipher it all. I need something more concrete than axe-ground labels to decide who gets my vote. Like some verifiable facts, maybe?

  25. Milton: It doesn’t bother you that Trump said he could shoot someone and his faithful followers wouldn’t desert him?

    (Note: I am not trying to talk you into or out of supporting anyone. I’m genuinely curious how people cannot be bothered by a man proclaiming he could commit murder and still have people lined up to elect him. Do you think he was “funning” with us and didn’t mean it? He sounded pretty sincere to me, but I could be wrong.)

  26. DAV

    I’m genuinely curious how people cannot be bothered by a man proclaiming he could commit murder and still have people lined up to elect him. Do you think he was “funning” with us and didn’t mean it?

    Quite likely. IOW: “When it comes to getting elected I can’t do anything wrong.” Hillary thinks like this also.Neither should get elected but it’s beginning to look like one of them will.

  27. Interesting that now both parties think it’s okay to advocate murder “in fun” and use violence and bullying to get elected. We really are in trouble here.

  28. Joy

    Milton Hathaway,
    This is all music to my ears a pragmatist.
    Why persist with the tennis match. It’s as if republicans
    might finally get what they want. Now they don’t like the package.
    Of course people will vote for Trump for all sorts of reasons. It seems to me that Trump is giving them all sorts of reasons and this is the way to win. Given that it looks like Trump v Hillary, they must decide whether they hate Trump or are frightened enough of him not to vote at all. We”ll see.

  29. Nate

    Trump has made his appeal by making everyone believe that he is “just like them”. My father-in-law claims to be a conservative, and is a big Trump supporter (and a racist to boot). When I told him about Trump using eminent domain to steal land for his business, he immediately went into defensive mode “well everyone does it it’s just business”. This is a man who railed against the government taking people’s property last Thanksgiving dinner.

    Trump is an identity politician first and foremost. Polybius’ analysis remains as correct as ever – he’s the mob’s man, and we’re headed into Ochlocracy. Obama was the first. I may end up recanting my prediction – Trump may end up the winner over Hillary after all.

  30. Joy: Perhaps you could explain to this uneducated American what it is that Donald Trump is giving his followers other than the promise of revenge. What are his positions—he is pro-immigration. He plans on bringing back the deported “good” ones from Mexico. He has no desire to stop immigration. These are his own words. He’s going to get Mexico to build a wall? He’s going to “make America great again”. Obama was “hope and change”. Explain the difference. As for who will be the nominee, election 2008, it was Hillary right up until it wasn’t, which was after Iowa and NH. In 2012, there was no clear winner until the votes were counted. Hillary has not yet bet Sanders and Bloomberg is talking third party. If polls before the first caucus are all we need, America is wasting a ton of money on elections and campaigns. Just let Iowa and NH have caucuses and primaries and use those results.

    Nate: Well said.

  31. DEEBEE

    Seems to me that all this time GOPe been asking for majorities to save the country from Dems. But then get told that the cannot or will not negotiate with Obama or vice versa. So now GOPe is being handed a democrat on a republican ticket. Sort of like a kid throwing a tantrum on wanting to eat his cream first and not the broccoli and the parent acquiesces and gives the kid a heap of broccoli ice cream.
    I know, I know all you ZIQ types cannot cotton to the idea that the knuckle dragging trump oils could be. This smart

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