Steve Bannon is gone.
The comments Trump’s former senior advisor made about Trump’s family members and his accusations of treason all but sealed his fate. His remaining allies have sided with the president against Bannon.
I’ll admit it. I couldn’t be happier that Bannon is on his way out. His downfall is good for the conservative movement and good for America.
Bannon was never a benefit to the Trump administration or the conservative movement. Indeed, he caused significant damage to the conservative brand.
I’m about to do something that I don’t do lightly. I’m going to call out racism.
Thanks to Steve Bannon the alt-right has glommed on to the American right wing to promote their brand of white ethnonationalism. This group’s racist ideology has become a liability to the American right wing, and it’s time for us to repudiate them once and for all.
The Alt-Right’s Racism Harms The Conservative Movement
The alt-right’s enthusiastic embrace of ethnonationalism and bigotry has already caused damage to the conservative brand. For decades, the left has used unfair accusations of racism to discredit their conservative opponents. The presence of the alt-right has made it easier for the left to use this tactic.
The alt-right promotes an ideology that promotes the notion that whites are superior to other races. Richard Spencer, one of the alt-right’s key leaders, is known for his virulently racist views. In a post on Radix, he wrote, “This country does belong to white people, culturally, politically, socially, everything. We defined what America is.” He added, “Martin Luther King Jr., a fraud, and degenerate in his life, has become the symbol and cynosure of White Dispossession and the deconstruction of Occidental civilization.”
The question is: should conservatives be linked to a group who believes that America belongs only to whites and that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a “fraud?”
The Alt-Right’s Racism On Display
To be fair, not all members of the alt-right are racists, but a significant number of them are known for disseminating bigoted memes on social media and espousing distinctly racist beliefs. They did not gain prominence until Bannon, as the head of Breitbart News, gave them the platform they used to increase their influence. In 2016, the former advisor bragged that the site would be “the platform for the alt-right.”
Through their newfound influence, the alt-right became a disgusting blight on the conservative movement. There are several examples of how the alt-right has displayed their racism.
Members of the alt-right movement label conservatives with whom they disagree as “cuckservatives,” or “cuck,” for short. The term refers to conservatives who have abandoned true right-wing ideals. However, it also has a racist undertone. It also refers to white men who allow black men to sleep with their wives. I suppose that’s one way to get more diversity in the GOP, but the implication is still pretty racist, right?
The alt-right also promotes the absurd notion of “white genocide.” This is a popular conspiracy theory in white supremacist circles. It asserts that there is an overreaching plan by minorities and leftists to render the white race extinct through abortion, mass immigration, and forced assimilation. Apparently, some super-secret cabal wishes to destroy “whiteness” in the west. This sense of victimhood has inspired the alt-right to embrace their own version of white identity politics.
Finally, one of the major components of the alt-right is ethnonationalism. Their slogan “blood and soil,” which is also used by white supremacist groups, refers to the idea that western culture is superior because it was built by white Europeans, who are of greater worth than other races. Whereas most nationalists believe that western culture is superior because of our values, the alt-right believes that it is the white race that is responsible for the success of the western world.
Politically, conservative ideas have no real relation to the likes of Richard Spencer and his ilk. Many of those on the alt-right are closer to socialists than actual American conservatism. However, race is the main issue that most sharply divides us from the alt-right.
It Is Time For Conservatives To Jettison The Alt-Right
The alt-right would have remained in its obscurity if Bannon hadn’t given them prominence through Breitbart News. They would have been relegated to sharing their silly memes and racist diatribes in their internet forums. However, thanks to Steve Bannon, the alt-right has gained a foothold in the conservative movement, and it has made it easier for the left to label right-wingers as bigots. You only need to look at how the establishment news media reports on the alt-right to see how they link the alt-right to mainstream conservatism.
In the ‘60s, The National Review’s William F. Buckley drove racist elements out of the GOP. He obviously saw the dangers of ignoring their presence. Now, we are faced with the same situation. The alt-right’s presence in our movement is not a benefit -- it is a serious detriment to conservatism. Like Bannon, the alt-right is not interested in promoting true conservative values – they are latching on to our movement to further their ethnonationalist agenda. We can’t allow this to happen.
We must protect the integrity of the conservative brand. If we fail to define our brand, the left will do it for us, and it won’t be pretty. Defining our brand involves repudiating harmful ideas that are in opposition to our most deeply-held values.
Put simply; we must ruthlessly cut out the racist ideology of the alt-right like a surgeon removing a bloody, cancerous tumor. Otherwise, we risk allowing their influence grow into a disease we can’t cure. This isn’t idle alarmism -- we have already seen how the far left took over the Democratic Party. It did not happen overnight, did it? Like Buckley in the ‘60s, we must attack evil ideas in our movement before they grow stronger. Otherwise, we will lose what ground we have gained in the culture war.