If you read Salon, the New York Times or peruse the webpages of the Southern Poverty Law Center, you will likely come to the conclusion that the Alt-Right is comprised of Roman-saluting Hitler fetishists who believe that Jews are responsible for every one of humanity’s woes, from hurricanes to poor performance of the Detroit Lions.
While there are certainly members of the Alt-Right, on the extreme fringes, who believe some variation of anti-semitic conspiracy theories, relying on such broad and unnuanced strokes to form a mental image of a complex and diverse movement does not help in actually understanding it.
Serious intellectual pedigree, not bigotry
In fact, many of the Alt-Right’s most prominent members are not only not anti-semitic, they are themselves Jewish. Others, such as Jared Taylor of American Renaissance, have worked extensively with Jewish coauthors are rigorous, academic papers and books.
Further putting to the lie to the idea that the Alt-Right is comprised of classical bigots, many of its members have taken wives of different races. John Derbyshire, one of the most prominent figures in the movement, is, aside from being an excellent writer, the husband of a Chinese woman and father of two mixed-race daughters. Milo Yianopolous and Jack Donovan, two other figures many consider part of the movement, are both homosexuals. Clearly, the caricature of the Alt-Right as being little more than a meeting of toothless, backwards klansmen is spitefully inaccurate.
What’s more, by characterizing the movement as being made up of Deep South cartoon bigots, it actually helps the Alt-Right, when people first have real contact with its actual participants and ideas. Far from a ignorant racist, for example, Jared Taylor comes across as a hyper articulate, rigorous scholar. His debating skills are unmatched, frequently winning even before hostile audiences. And his arguments are mostly irrefutable, even if one disagrees with the principles on which he constructs his worldview.
For those who view the Alt-Right as a threat, a realistic appraisal is the best hope at combating it.