Home/Rod Dreher/The Left, Feeding The Alt-Right

The Left, Feeding The Alt-Right

A star-spangled Nuremberg rally? Really? (Jim Lambert/Shutterstock)

Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick draws a line in the sand:

If you were sickened and horrified by the images of Nazis openly marching through a town and its university, brandishing weapons and symbols of mass extermination, please know that Donald Trump and his attorney general are attempting to enact and effectuate policies that ring in the key of “You will not replace us” every single day. Their programmatic efforts to disenfranchise minority voters, gerrymander minority voting districts, end affirmative action, ban transgender soldiers from serving in the military, increase deportations, curb immigration, and foment racially discriminatory policing, sentencing, and incarceration systems are all the modern-day equivalent of this week’s ugly battle cry, “You will not replace us.” The same courts that have largely thwarted such efforts over time are the ones Donald Trump now seeks to pack with racists and homophobes. If you cannot see a straight line between this project and that espoused by Richard Spencer and his “blood and soil” pals, please look again. If you don’t recognize the inspiration for James Alex Fields Jr., the man charged with ramming his car into protesters opposed to the alt-right and killing one of them, know that his mother told the Associated Press she believed he was simply going to support Trump, that he couldn’t possibly be a white supremacist. Because he had a black friend.

This is madness. Half the people who voted for president in this country voted for Donald Trump. Are every one of them closet Kluckers and crypto-Nazis? Really?! Of course they aren’t, not by a long shot. I didn’t vote for Trump, but most of my friends did, many of them with heavy hearts and great distaste, doing so only because they considered the alternative to be worse. These are people who are disgusted by what happened in Charlottesville, and who would no more cheer for a Klansman than they would a Maoist. But Dahlia Lithwick, a leading progressive journalist, cannot see half the people in her country — including my friends — as anything other than Nazi supporters. The reader who sent in Lithwick’s article writes:

Essentially, she says anyone not precisely as progressive as Dahlia Lithwick is a dangerous goon on the wrong side of history. Really? If that’s the case, and people have to choose… they might just choose. I am pretty sure nobody will like the outcome.

I disagree with quite a few of the Trump policies she mentions. But even in those instances, is it REALLY a direct line from the bumbling skinheads to Jeff Sessions? Great balls of fire. Look at that list of supposed evils. A desire to increase deportations is not an obviously wonderful policy. But isn’t it POSSIBLE to think that more robust enforcement of existing immigration laws is not “the modern day equivalent” of a Nazi battle cry? Is it POSSIBLE to have reservations about people with penises serving as women in the military without being a heartless bigot? Because until about three days ago, that was a policy that pretty much everyone on earth agreed with. ANY desire to “curb immigration” is, on it’s face, racist. And by the way, are there ANY measures meant to verify who people are at the voting booth that do not qualify as attempting to disenfranchise minority voters?

Is Neil Gorsuch a racist and a homophobe?

In her eyes? Yes.

I don’t want to be too glib here, but if Neil Gorsuch is a racist and a homophobe, if we can all agree that he is a racist and a homophobe, I guess I am OK being considered a racist and a homophobe.

If supporting Neil Gorsuch makes me a neo-Nazi … I guess I am a neo-Nazi.

You know, I really don’t think I am a neo-Nazi. But if that’s the standard that Dahlia Lithwick, Slate and polite society is going to set, I think that I and a lot of people are going to fall into that category.

Not so long ago you could disagree with someone on these major issues and still respect them. I thought Andrew Sullivan was wrong about SSM, but I thought that he was a smart guy who really challenged my position, made me think, etc. I did not think that he was a Dan Savage kind of radical. Such people existed, of course, but I could make those distinctions. I have long thought liberalizing drug laws made sense, but I never thought that all people who disagreed with me were Fascist dictators in waiting, eager to enslave another generation of inner-city people. I thought they were wrong. I thought some of them were disingenuous. But mostly I thought they were just wrong.

I think it is entirely possible for people to genuinely and sincerely disagree about the proper level of immigration to the country and how it should be administered.

Lithwick? Nope. Racist. Homophobe. Wrong side of history.

To me, long term, she’s just as dangerous as the losers marching through Charlottesville. She is BUILDING the goon squad who marched through the streets. Not so long ago, the policies she decries were the platform of the Democrats. Bill Clinton was against gays in the military, he was for more restrictive immigration, etc. Obama was against SSM.

Or were they? I think people have the sense, more and more, that they were lied to. Duped. Invited to the cool kid’s party, but as a joke. No they realize the nature of the game. And they are saying well, Ms. Lithwick, we tried to stay in tune with polite society. But if you are saying even these things make me a neo-Nazi, then F it. All the sh*t I was lying to you about is out the window now, too.

Uh oh.

Again, I didn’t vote for Trump, but I support some of his policies. If the sanctimonious, witch-hunting progressives come for me and my friends, there’s no doubt on whose side I’ll be. Note well: fear of a Lithwick-style progressive persecution is exactly why many conservatives who don’t particularly like Trump voted for him. They saw a Hillary presidency as handing over the government to a left-wing culture warrior who sees them as “deplorable,” and therefore worth running over.

Another reader sent me a link to this piece from what appears to be a Miami-based conservative Christian blog. Notice this bit:

Third, this entire event lies outside the purview of Christians, even though the left wants to make white nationalism justification for persecuting us. Like a friend of mine says, “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” Christianity is not compatible with white nationalism or any other type of identity politics. It doesn’t matter if some of the racist nuts claim they’re Christians. The movement is not primarily Christian, and it does not have the backing of white Christians, generally.

This was not a battle of Christians versus “progressives.” It was two collections of Satan’s drones, pitted against each other for his amusement. Christians don’t have a dog in this fight.

Trump isn’t involved, either. Maybe most white nationalists support him. So what? Most people convicted of violent crimes support Democrats, as do most terrorists. Doesn’t make Hillary Clinton a murderer or terrorist.

People who go to rallies like this one, on both sides, should leave Jesus out of it. They certainly aren’t consulting him when they plan these disgraceful events.

The murderer is a wicked buffoon, and prison is better than what he deserves. The people who showed up at the rally to pepper-spray white supremacists are the devil’s puppets. White supremacy is a joke, and the tiny fringe group that keeps it alive is an embarrassment to everyone who uses sunblock. They need to go back to their Section 8 housing and part-time jobs at convenience stores and beg God for forgiveness.

As for Christians, this isn’t our party, but we will be presented with the bill. We are the Clevingers of the world. It doesn’t matter what we do or say. We will be blamed and attacked. “Christians are the problem” isn’t the conclusion. It’s the premise. Just like, “Jews are the problem.”

I had a funny thought the other day. I realized I would rather live among white racists than among progressives or in areas thick with minorities. At least white racists wouldn’t come after me. They wouldn’t see me as a threat; they would tend to give me the benefit of the doubt. I would be hassled less, unless I were put in a position where I had to speak up.

If I had to choose, I would rather live among alt-right nuts than in Baltimore. It’s not much of a choice, however.

People complain about “white flight,” especially in Miami, but the simple truth is that people leave places where they’re mistreated. This is why Chicago is full of black people; they moved there from places like Mississippi. “Black flight” isn’t even a recognized phrase, and if it were, who would criticize? I certainly wouldn’t. I would not want to live in a place where I had to get off the sidewalk when a person of another race passed by.

Here’s something else that’s sort of funny. A black friend will be house-sitting in my dad’s Miami house after we move. I’m going to leave him a signed document saying he has the right to be in the house, and I’ll put my contact information on it. Cubans have serious racial issues, and Cuban cops here are just too itchy. One hassled him the other day while he was riding his bicycle through the white neighborhood where he lives. I don’t want to have to come back to Miami and bail him out of jail once a week, because he has been arrested for serious crimes such as having an unregistered bicycle or walking on the wrong side of the street.

It would have been nice had integration been more successful, but we seem determined not to get along.

I’m moving to an area where, as far as I can tell, there are a lot of nice Christian people with good intentions. Supposedly, there is not much racial tension there. Hope I’m right.

To get back to the Virginia nightmare, I won’t bother to watch the news. I don’t have to. With leftists in charge, I can predict it.

Indeed. The key to interpreting the media coverage are these two tweets by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, who covered the events in Charlottesville for The New York Times:


The conservative Christian author of that blog post despises white supremacists. But notice: “If I had to choose, I would rather live among alt-right nuts than in Baltimore” because “at least white racists wouldn’t come after me.” What people like Dahlia Lithwick are doing is teaching conservative people who can’t stand the alt-right to sympathize to some degree with them, because unlike the Dahlia Lithwicks of the world, the alt-right won’t come after them. Actually, the alt-right will, if they ever get power; the Nazis persecuted dissident Christians. The point here is that if Lithwick and her allies insist that every Trump voter in this country is a fascist, and if they write and broadcast as if all the states in Red America are 1934 Bavaria, they will send many more of them into the welcoming arms of the alt-right.

The Lithwicks are living in a dangerous bubble. I’m serious. They are feeding a movement that they rightly loathe, but the potential appeal of which they do not understand.

UPDATE: Go to Twitter and read the great thread that starts with this tweet:


His argument is that there are lots of people who want to be united against white nationalism, but the Left, by demonizing anyone to the right of them as Nazi, is making this issue “repellently partisan.” He’s right about that.

UPDATE.2: I’m not going to post comments accusing me of blaming the alt-right on leftists. I do no such thing. I have been crystal-clear on this blog in calling on conservatives to condemn white supremacy with no equivocation. The point I’m making here is that some on the Left speak and act in ways that make it harder for us all to unite against the racialist right. I’m not blaming the Left for creating the alt-right, but I am saying that many on the Left inadvertently give it fuel. If you wish to speak to that point, please do. If you want to mischaracterize my views and this post, save your time, because I’m not going to approve the comment. — RD]

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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