Today in the news I learned a new term -- the "Alt Right." Apparently the Alt Right represents the radical edge of the conservative mindset. They espouse values such as white supremacy, American nationalism, anti-Semitism, and a generally insular and tribal approach to world affairs.
While I decry whatever life conditions might have inspired such feelings in otherwise relatively well-fed, adequately-housed Americans, I am glad to be able to distinguish this group from the generally more fair-minded and better balanced "conservatives" I remember from my earlier years. The volume at which these Alt Right personalities have tended to dominate our airwaves in recent decades has had me thinking that all our current day conservatives were of this provincial and generally selfish mindset.
Now I find I have been guilty of faulty reasoning. For at least a decade or more, I have been mistaking a few radical examples that heavily imposed themselves on my consciousness for the general mindset of the average conservative. In my mind I have treated conservatives unfairly based upon the actions of a small and radical subset of their group. I have been guilty of profiling all conservatives as holding a narrow-minded, insular, and generally spiritually immature mindset. I have suspected them of focusing all their efforts on keeping others from getting what they have. Now today I have learned that these characteristics represent only a small subset of conservatives. Thank goodness there must still be some reasonable conservatives out there whose values are not based on greed, self-interest and fear of "the other."
Making the same type of logical error, some people have profiled all Muslims, suspecting they all share a similar mindset with terrorists. This is obviously just as unfair as me lumping all conservatives in with supporters of the Alt Right. In fact from a spiritual development standpoint, terrorists share more in common with the Alt Right than they do with the average peace-loving Muslim. Both terrorists and the Alt Right represent an extreme form of ethnocentrism: "my group is more correct|deserving|worthy|justifiable|valuable than all the others. I have a right to feel superior, and to impose the values of my group on those outside it." This mindset represents the lower end of the spiritual development ladder. More tolerant and more inclusive values--on the part of moderate Muslims, conventional conservatives, typical progressives, anyone--are a sign of a more evolved consciousness.
Some conservatives of my acquaintance have asked "well, if the average "reasonable" Muslim does not condone the actions of terrorists, why haven't more of them spoken out against Muslim terrorists?" I admit I have found this question puzzling. But today I am haunted by a different question: "If the average conventional conservative is not guilty of the abject tribalism of the Alt Right, why have members of this group not spoken out against the Alt Right?"