On Nazis and the Alt-Right: Moral Clarity is Demanded

Trump and His 'Very Fine People'


The truth is that, with his statements on the Charlottesville protests, the president of the United States disgraced himself and his office.

On Saturday, the president referred to the neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan protests in Charlottesville as an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” repeating the phrase “on many sides.” It was a bizarre bit of reticence from a man known for censuring those he deems worthy of it in the harshest terms. As the vagueness of this condemnation drew sharp criticism, the president issued a more direct statement on Monday. “Racism is evil,” Trump said, “And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Well, fine. Much too late, but fine. Then on Tuesday, rather than allow his critics to say whatever they would say about his initial procrastination, he defended himself by insisting there were two sides to the violence, both more or less culpable. Why the bland statement on Saturday, then? “I didn’t know all of the facts,” and “I wanted to make a statement with knowledge.” And what were those facts? “You had a group on one side that was bad and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent.” Again: “You had a group on one side and you had a group on the other and they came at each other with clubs and it was vicious and horrible. And it was a horrible thing to watch. But there is another side. There was a group on this side, you can call them the left. You have just called them the left, that came violently attacking the other group.”

There were indeed a small number of leftist or “antifa” thugs at the Charlottesville event, but that is beside the point. The Charlottesville protest was planned and staged by white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. Were it not for these people, there would have been no protests, no offensive displays of racial bigotry, and no violence or death. That the president couldn’t or wouldn’t simply condemn the event’s instigators in direct terms—that he preferred to justify his indecision and so give the impression that he has some sympathy for white supremacists and neo-Nazis—is a scandal for which there is no excuse and no mitigating factor.

Trump went on to draw an imaginary distinction between good and bad protesters on the white supremacist side—“you had some very fine people but you also had troublemakers”—and to suggest that the “very fine people” were “protesting very quietly the taking down [of] the statue of Robert E. Lee.” But as he must have known by this point, the white supremacists and neo-Nazis came from all over the country to stage a rally of hate; the statue of Marse Robert was a secondary concern.

So a sitting U.S. president couldn’t condemn neo-Nazi agitators until prodded into it, and even then couldn’t do it without circling back to claim falsely that some of the agitators were “very fine people” who wanted only to protest “very quietly.” There may be other points to make about this embarrassing episode, but they are secondary and simply cannot be made with any moral force until you acknowledge the primary one: Irrespective of anything else, Donald Trump’s behavior since Saturday has been a disgrace.
All the President’s Advisers


Even many opponents of Donald Trump as a candidate were cheered by the quality of his early appointments, especially his Cabinet. But as his behavior as President has become more erratic, and especially after the moral confusion of his response to Charlottesville, the question becomes whether there will be a rush to the exits that sends this Presidency into an even faster decline.

This is no exaggerated fear. John Kelly, the new chief of staff, looked visibly uncomfortable as he listened to Mr. Trump’s self-destructive, off-the-cuff riff about Charlottesville on Tuesday. The former general is supposed to bring order to White House chaos.

Gary Cohn, the chief economic adviser who is Jewish, is widely reported to have been upset as he stood nearby as Mr. Trump struggled to distinguish between neo-Nazis, whom he condemned, and “very fine people” who merely wanted to support Confederate statues. The press event was supposed to be about infrastructure.
Trump Criticized by James Murdoch: ‘There Are No Good Nazis’


“I can’t even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists. Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so,”
Trump Follows Obama’s Example of Moral Equivalence - When five Dallas cops were murdered last year, the 44th president faulted police as well as the killer.


If you were shocked that President Trump had to be pressured into condemning by name neo-Nazis, Klansmen and white supremacists, then you probably haven’t been paying enough attention. His Saturday remarks on Charlottesville, Va., where protesters clashed violently over a statue in a park of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, showed again that Mr. Trump has little use for Oval Office norms. But his initial reaction also evinced an Obama-like reluctance to denounce despicable behavior forcefully and in no uncertain terms.

When five policemen were gunned down in Dallas last year, Mr. Obama said there was no justification for violence against law enforcement—but then he added a comment about racial inequity in the criminal-justice system. After violent demonstrators pillaged Baltimore in 2015 following the death of a black man in police custody, Mr. Obama dutifully condemned the rioters—but not without also noting that “we have seen too many instances of what appears to be police officers interacting with individuals, primarily African-American, often poor, in ways that raise troubling questions.”

What we heard from Mr. Trump on Saturday, when he said “many sides” were to blame for what took place in Charlottesville, was more of the same equivocation. Both presidents were less interested in moral clarity than in placating fringe groups out of political expediency. The difference is that Mr. Obama’s caucus mostly indulged his racial innuendo, while Mr. Trump’s called him on it. That’s why the president reluctantly issued a more forceful second statement on Monday.
5 Facts about the alt-right


A rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend ended in violence and domestic terrorism, as white nationalist groups clashed with counter-protestors. The Unite the Right rally was intended, as co-promoter Matthew Heimbach explains, to unite the alt-right around the “14 words”: “We must secure the existence of our people and the future for white children’—as our primary motivating factor.”

The objectives of the alt-right movement are antithetical to the mission, values, and principles of the Acton Institute and other like-minded groups. Yet the movement is often associated with traditional forms of conservatism and libertarianism even though its supporters frequently rejects issues such as economic freedom and the dignity of all people that we consider foundational.* For this reason, you should know what the alt-right believes and the agenda they work to promote.

Here are five facts you should know about the alt-right:
  1. The alt-right—short for “alternative right”—is an umbrella term for a host of disparate nationalist and populist groups associated with the white identity cause/movement. The term brings together white supremacists (e.g., neo-Nazis), religious racialists (e.g., Kinists), neo-pagans (e.g., Heathenry), internet trolls (e.g., 4chan’s /pol/), and others enamored with white identity and racialism. These groups seek to provide an “alternative” to mainstream American conservatism, which they believe is insufficiently concerned about the objectives of white identity, the defining concept that unites the alt-right. “Racial Identity,” said Arthur Kemp in March of the Titans: A History of the White Race, “can be defined as the conscious recognition that one belongs to a specific race, ethnicity, and culture and with that comes certain obligations toward their own welfare.” And the alt-right leader Jared Taylor of American Renaissance defines “white identity” as “a recognition by whites that they have interests in common that must be defended. All other racial groups take this for granted, that it’s necessary to band together along racial lines to work together for common interests.”
  2. This association of the term alt-right with white identity politics first appeared in December 2008 when Paul Gottfried wrote an article for Taki’s Magazine titled, “The Decline and Rise of the Alternative Right.” (The article itself does not use the phrase “alternative right,” and the editor of the magazine at that time, Richard Spencer—the current leading figure in the alt-right—claims to have added the title.) At the time, the “alternative right” was loosely associated with “paleoconservatives” (another term created by Gottfried). Paleocons were self-identified conservatives who rejected the neo-conservatism of the George W. Bush-era. While the group tended to be anti-globalist and anti-war (especially opposed to the Iraq War) it was not necessarily associated with white identity politics. But in his article Gottfried identified “postpaleos” as a “growing communion “that now includes Takimag, VDARE.com, and other websites that are willing to engage sensitive, timely subjects.” The “sensitive, timely subjects” Gottfried refers to are topics that had previously been the main concern of white identity groups, issues such as non-white immigration (“being physically displaced by the entire Third World”) and “human cognitive capacities” (i.e., the belief that certain racial groups are, in general, intellectually inferior to others). In 2010, Richard Spencer launched a website, AlternativeRight.com, to promote these views. Since then, the term has been associated with the white identity movement.
  3. The alt-right is a mostly secular movement that frequently embraces leftist political views (especially on economics) and rejects traditional conservatism. As George Hawley, a University of Alabama professor who has studied the movement, told The Washington Post, “the modal alt-right person is a male, white millennial; probably has a college degree or is in college; is secular and perhaps atheist and [is] not interested in the conservative movement at all.” What puts the movement on the “right” is that it shares, along with conservatism, skepticism of forced egalitarianism. But that’s generally all it shares with mainstream conservatism. In fact, many on the alt-right (such as Spencer) hold views associated with progressivism (e.g., support for abortion and opposition to free-market economics). The confusion about the movement’s politics lies in thinking that extremist groups are on each “end” of the left-right political spectrum. It is more accurate to consider them through the lens of the horseshoe theory, a concept in political science that claims the far left and the far right, rather than being at opposite and opposing ends of a linear political continuum, closely resemble one another, much like the ends of a horseshoe.
  4. While generally secular, the alt-right sometimes embraces “Christendom” (their version of a white European cultural Christianity) and some (such as Vox Day) claim that Christianity is a “foundational pillar” of the movement. But what they mean by Christianity is often a heretical form (Day rejects the Trinity and doesn’t believe the races are “spiritually” equal) a racialized version of the faith (e.g., the Kinist movement), or “religion as culture” (Spencer says he is both an atheist and a “culture Christian”). The movement is also frequently embraced by neo-pagans. As alt-right leader Stephen McNallen has said, “I am a pagan because it is the only way I can be true to who, and what, I am. I am a pagan because the best things in our civilization come from pre-Christian Europe.” McNallen says he opposes Christianity because it “lacks any roots in blood or soil” and consequently can “claim the allegiance of all the human race.” The true religion of the alt-right is white identitarianism.
  5. The alt-right embraces white identity politics and almost all of them embrace white nationalism. But not everyone on the alt-right embraces white supremacy. White supremacy is the belief that lighter-skinned or “white” racial groups are superior to all other racial groups. Modern advocates of white supremacy (such as the KKK) almost always advocate for white identity, though the reverse is not always true. As alt right leader Vox Day says, “The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.” White supremacy is also often conflated with white nationalism, the political view that merges nationalism with white identity. White nationalists are racial separatists who believe that to preserve the white race, other racial groups must be excluded or marginalized in “white states” (i.e., countries or regions that have historically had majority-white populations). White nationalists are frequently concerned about miscegenation and non-white immigration because it contributes to what they consider to be “white genocide,” i.e., the replacement of the “white race” by other racial groups.

Comment: We must stand against the White supremacists, the neo-Nazis and the Alt-right! (Superman covers from here) Batman image source


  1. JP, are you sure you don't work for the CIA? Is Sharper Iron really just a CIA front organization in support of Black Lives Matter and similar groups?

  2. Yes, true. If conservatives are not clear about distinguishing themselves from neonazis it's unlikely that the general public will make that distinction.

  3. JP, thank you for accepting comments. I am not as left or liberal as most of the people at that Sharp site, so I have no interesting in joining. It's fun to come over to this site and see once in awhile a general human interest story that is apolitical. Even though I am probably much more conservative than you, I do appreciate your site and your points of view.


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