The Alt-Right Has More in Common With Economic Leftism Than Salon Wants You to Think

Journalist Donna Minkowitz of The Nation was brave enough to venture into an alt-right conference hosted by prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer a couple of months ago. Some of what she found was to be expected, such as how the individuals there were fueled by racism and hatred. Yet, when the conference’s attendees began to speak about economic issues, they started to sound a lot like leftists. Though some on the left have moved quickly to dismiss this as a cynical attempt to pick up recruits from the left, there is more to the commonality between the economic views of the left and the alt-right. Rather, the alt-right’s economic views jell so smoothly with those of the left because the ideological underpinning is so similar.

A few days after Minkowitz’s article came out, writer Conor Lynch wrote in Salon characterizing the alt-right’s economic leftism as “anti-Semitism wrapped up in an economic veil.” The alt-right, Lynch claims, is simply jumping on the anti-capitalist bandwagon to try to appeal to the left. Yet Lynch ignores the very real illiberal impulses at work behind anti-capitalism of all stripes.

To be clear, I do not mean to compare the left’s social views to those of the alt-right. However, in terms of economics, there is little to separate the underlying philosophy of the left from that of the alt-right. In fact, the alt-right’s economic philosophy looks a lot like leftism repackaged specifically for white males.

Once stripped of racial rhetoric, the underlying economic logic is hard to distinguish from leftist thought.

Take the thoughts of prominent alt-right thinkers on welfare. Spencer, alt-right media personality Mike Cernovich and others have expressed strong support for a universal basic income and single-payer healthcare system. Mike Enoch, host of the alt-right and virulently anti-Semitic podcast The Daily Shoah once said at a rally that “Jewish brainwashing” was encouraging Americans to be “useful idiots for the systems of international finance, capitalism and war.” In Europe, members of the far-right such as National Front party leader Marine Le Pen have embraced a generous social safety net --- albeit paired with restrictions on immigration. Once stripped of racial rhetoric, the underlying economic logic is hard to distinguish from leftist thought.

The alt-right is also strongly opposed to free trade. Steve Bannon, former head of alt-right “news” website Breitbart, has advocated for a trade war with China. This is just one portion of his agenda of “economic nationalism,” or scaling back of trade in order to protect domestic jobs. Uneconomic as these views may be, Bannon’s comments also expose a lack of belief in economic freedom. By wishing to restrict trade, Bannon argues for preventing Americans from buying cheaper or better-valued goods simply because of their origin.

Even Spencer’s critique of the Republican tax reform plan looks like it could have been lifted off of a Bernie Sanders Twitter screed. Spencer calls it “stupid...Reaganite nostalgia” and mocks it for benefiting large corporations (ignoring benefits to small businesses and individuals in the process). Substitute in “Jewish interests” for “the one percent,” and voila: easy-bake economic philosophy.

Fundamentally, the alt-right does not believe in the importance of the individual in economic relationships.

Fundamentally, the alt-right does not believe in the importance of the individual in economic relationships. Minkowitz writes how Spencer argues that “We need to be willing to take care of people and not simply think of ourselves as individuals who can acquire as much wealth as possible.” The most important form of economic organization to the alt-right is race, just as class is the most important form for the left. To those who defend economic freedom, it is the individual.

Proponents of economic freedom argue that the protection of the rights of the individual should be the foundation of a society. Individuals, unrestricted by excessive taxes or rules preventing them from engaging in mutually beneficial trade relationships, are best able to create economic prosperity. This fundamental principle is antithetical to alt-right beliefs.

Instead, the alt-right would find far more in common with the left’s view that a society should aim to maintain liberal thinker John Rawls’s goal of “distributive justice,” or just allocation of goods throughout society. A great deal of the anger and hatred that fuels the alt-right is the belief that goods are unjustly stolen from whites by an “other” --- be it immigrants or Jews. As Joe Carter of the Acton Institute points out, it’s not a coincidence that the term “alt-right” came into use in 2008 --- the phrase became more widespread as the alt-right attracted economically disaffected white males in the aftermath of the 2008 recession.

The alt-right is yet another unfortunate incarnation of socialist economic thinking.

Those on the left would do well to give the overlap between their economic views and those of the alt-right more consideration than Lynch does in Salon. It is not a simple matter of the alt-right cynically targeting lost and sometimes left people, there is genuine commonality between their economic views. This, in itself, does not repudiate leftist economic beliefs, but it illustrates how the alt-right is yet another unfortunate incarnation of socialist economic thinking. May it never reach the heights of Stalinism, Maoism or Chavismo.


Andrew Wilford is a Young Voices advocate and policy analyst residing in Maryland. He writes primarily on economic issues such as regulation, trade and tax policy. Follow him on Twitter @PolicyWilford. Opinions presented here belong solely to the author.

A town in Sweden is under fire after denying requests to ring church bells in the 1990s and the 2000s but recently approving a mosque's request to conduct a weekly Islamic call to prayer.

RELATED: Media's anti-Israel, pro-Islam bias sweeps THIS fact under the rug

Authorities in the town of Vaxjo in southern Sweden have given the local mosque a one-year permit to recite the call to prayer every Friday for about four minutes. But Fr. Ingvar Fogelqvist of St. Michael's, the local Catholic church located about a mile from the mosque, says similar requests to ring church bells were denied.

On today's show, Pat and Jeffy talked about this story and favorable bias toward the Muslim faith. The issue isn't that the Islamic call to prayer is allowed; it's that all religions are not being treated equally.

Somebody might want to check the temperature in hell, it might be just a tad chillier than normal.

If you missed Friday's episode of The Glenn Beck Program, you missed something you probably never thought you'd see in this timeline or any other. Glenn actually donned President Trump's trademark red "Make America Great Again" hat and laid out the case for why he thinks Trump will win in a landslide in 2020.

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Bottom line: Nancy Pelosi and the mainstream media may have pushed Glenn to this point, but believe it or not, Trump's record will make this next election a walk in the park for number 45. At this point, the sitting president has done enough to earn even Glenn's vote.

Glenn broke down what he thought were the 10 biggest campaign promises that — unlike those made by most politicians — Trump actually kept.

10. Impose a 10% repatriation tax to bring jobs back to America

Not all of Trump's promises were good ones, but regardless of what the consequences may be — he did keep this one.

"Now, I think this one is dangerous," Glenn said on radio Friday. "He did it. Ten percent. Bring all of your money back into the United States. It will create jobs. Yes. It will also create inflation. But it's creating jobs."

9. Withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

This has been one of Trump's most passionate issues.

"The stop the TPP. Uh-huh. Right. Sure you are. Uh-huh. Yes. He did," Glenn admitted.

8. Withdraw from the disastrous Paris Climate Accord

Glenn found himself eating crow on this.

"I'm on record saying he will never do that because his daughter is a huge global warming person and he only listens to the family. Eh. Wrong," Glenn said with a puff of crow feathers coming from his mouth.

7. Bring North Korea to the table and rein them in

This looked impossible. Not so.

"'I'm going to bring North Korea to the table.' Are you? Everybody has tried to do that," Glenn said. "Now, they're at the table. We don't know what's going to happen. So the result of that is unknown. But has anybody else done that?"

6. Stop over-regulation and jump-start the economy

It's the economy, stupid.

"Does anybody feel like America is beginning to get on track somewhat economically? You know why? Because he fulfilled another promise," Glenn said. "Stop over-regulating the American people. Give them their money. Give the companies the opportunity to expand and bring their money back into the country, and maybe they'll build buildings. Maybe they'll build offices. Maybe they'll build new products. Maybe they'll build new factories. Maybe they'll hire a bunch of people."

Glenn went on.

"Now, I know Seattle is trying to do everything they can to make sure everybody in their city is homeless and unemployed, but the rest of the country is enjoying the feeling of, wow, maybe things are going to be okay."

5. Reverse Obama's executive orders

If you're like Glenn, you've gotten used to politicians promising "no new taxes," but you can really tell they're lying if their lips are moving. Guess what? That's apparently not Trump.

"The executive orders? Yeah. He's reversed a lot of Obama's executive orders," Glenn said. "These are outrageous promises."

4. Pull out of the Iran nuclear deal

No big deal...

"'I'm going to cancel the Iran Deal.' Yep. None of these are small. You know, I've got maybe ten minutes. I think we can get that done in the first term. And they did," Glenn said.

3. Give tax cuts to middle-class Americans

Maybe this could have been better, but we'll take it.

"I don't like the tax cut. I think he could go a lot further," Glenn said. "But that's not even his job. His job is to sign things that Congress puts in front of him. Not to design it. You Republicans in Congress, you disgust me. You disgust me. 'Imagine what we could do if we had the House and the Senate and the White House.' I can imagine what you'll do — nothing. You'll do nothing."

2. Change strategy and defeat ISIS

The mainstream media have been radio silent on this.

"How about the president's — well, I know I can defeat ISIS. I know I can do it. I'll defeat ISIS. He did," Glenn said. "And did you notice no one in the press even talked about it? All of a sudden, we're not talking about ISIS anymore. How come? Oh, I know. President Trump. That's why."

1. Recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and relocate the US embassy

This one is a true game-changer.

"Now, every president will say to you, when he's running, 'I'm going to make Jerusalem the home.' Well, really? The home of the embassy. Really, are you? Because everybody says that, nobody does it. He did it," Glenn said. "And I think that's going to go down as the biggest game-changer possibly in my lifetime. This is going — it already is — it is changing the game in Iran."

Glenn continued.

"And when it does, this president is going to come out and say something directly to those people, that we support them," he said. "And that's going to add fuel to the fire. And you might see a regime change and a collapse of the Islamic regime in Iran. And it will be 100 percent Donald Trump that made that responsible. One hundred percent. You're going to see changes because of this. He kept that promise. A promise I said, he's not going to do that. Nobody is going to do that. He did."

One chapter of ISIS has ended, but another may be starting


For the most part, ISIS has fallen in Syria and Iraq. But before we celebrate the demise of this awful terrorist group, before we let our guard down, we should zoom out a bit, because ISIS is spreading. ISIS has largely just scattered out of the region as if someone turned on the kitchen lights and they scrambled.

RELATED: It IS About Islam: This Is a War Against Evil

The Wall Street Journal spoke with Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at the Nanyang University in Singapore. “Although Islamic State's ideology has suffered, it still has a huge potential," he told them. “Islamic State has entered a phase of global expansion, very much the same way al Qaeda extended globally in late 2001."

ISIS has spread into West Africa, and throughout much of Southeast Asia, and, as is typical of ISIS, they have done it violently, with a sick venom.

The world is their potential rubble, and their fight is endless.

Again, from the Wall Street Journal: “One chapter of ISIS has finished and another is beginning," said Hassan Hassan, a specialist on Islamic State at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy in Washington. “Their resurgence is coming sooner than expected."

The world is their potential rubble, and their fight is endless.

'The Handmaid's Tale' got it right, just with the wrong religion

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Just in case The Handmaid's Tale's heavy-handed message wasn't already heavy-handed enough, a recent episode made it clear there's always room for further hysteria. Particularly, in relation to depictions of a “patriarchal society" run by Christian doctrine and determined by men — oh those dastardly men.

RELATED: Christian privilege is the new white privilege

The show appropriates Margaret Atwood of the same name, depicting a totalitarian society led by Christian doctrine in which women's bodies are controlled, and they have no rights. The story sounds familiar, but not in the same way Atwood and the show's creators have so smugly assumed.

Just as tone-deaf as 4th wave feminism itself, and tone-deaf in all the exact same places. Most notably, the show's heavy-handed indignation toward Christianity. Toward the patriarchy. Toward conservatives and traditional values. And just like 4th wave feminism, the show completely overlooks the irony at play. Because there is a part of the world where women and children are being raped and mutilated. In fact, in this very real place, the women or girls are often imprisoned, even executed, for being raped, and they are mutilated in unspeakable ways.

Theirs is a cruel, bloody, colorless life.

There is a place, a very real place, where women are forced to cover their entire bodies with giant tarp-like blankets, which is all the more brutal given the endless heat of this place. There is a place where women literally have one-third of the rights of men, a place where women are legally, socially and culturally worth less than men.

They cannot drive cars. They cannot be outside alone. They cannot divorce, they cannot even choose who they marry and often, they are forcibly married at a young age.

They are raped. A lot. Theirs is a cruel, bloody, colorless life. This is the life of tens, perhaps hundreds of millions of women. And, I'll tell you, their religion isn't Christianity.