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.

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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.

The conditions in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule — for Americans, allies, Christians, women and more — continue to deteriorate, and the people there continue to plead that we will not forget them. On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck gave an emotional update on current evacuation efforts, including the tragic story of one girl — an American passport holder — who was not rescued in time.

"I have a pit in my stomach like I haven't had in a while. What is happening in Afghanistan is both miraculous and horrendous," Glenn began. "What's going on right now one of the most amazing things I've ever personally witnessed — the evacuation of Americans, those [Afghans] who helped us, Christians that are dying, women that are under incredible conditions. I see things that I can't show you. I see the pleadings from people who are in safe houses, 'Please, don't forget us.' I see what they're being sent by the Taliban.

"If I die today, my entire life will have been worth it for what you have helped get done, in just the last three weeks. You have saved well over 5,000 people," he continued.

Fighting back tears, Glenn added, "I ask that you pray for those in the Middle East, that are in the midst of doing work, that a Moses-style miracle will happen. ... There are several people that are in dire need of medical care. Friday, we told you — along with the congressman from Oklahoma [Rep. Markwayne Mullin] who had just returned — [about] a father and two daughters that were blue passport Americans, and a mother who had a permanent residence, a Green Card. The daughter was very ill. And they thought, that if we couldn't get her out of there, that she would lose her legs. I got a call on Saturday morning, that we were too late, that she didn't lose her legs. She lost her life, waiting. There are now two Americans, instead of three."

Glenn showered his audience with gratitude, repeating that "well over 5000" lives have already been saved because of their incredible generosity, but lamented that there are still thousands more people yet to be saved.

Watch the video clip below to hear more updates from Glenn:

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To donate to these rescue efforts, visit NazareneFund.org or MercuryOne.org.

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Megyn Kelly pulled her sons out of the private elementary school they attended after she learned that the boys were asked "weekly" if they were still sure they were boys. But that's not all that this "experimental transgender education program" taught.

Megyn joined Glenn Beck on the radio program to tell the story, which she thought had ended when the school apologized, and to talk about what's next for America as our leaders refuse to promote actual psychological support for our kids and instead "parade" transgenderism as the solution to their problems.

"When [my son] was in third grade, I found out they unleashed a three-week experimental transgender education program on these boys, with really inappropriate videos. The kids were confused. These are 8- and 9-year-olds, Glenn. They have no idea what the school is even talking about with the trans thing. They got really in-depth, with really in-your-face videos — and then parents complained. And the school did something it hasn't done in its 400-year history, which was they apologized. Even they realized they had done wrong," Megyn explained.

"But, then I said to my son a year later, so did they ever round back to the trans thing? Like, whatever happened with it? And he said ... they bring it up every week. ... [They ask] how many people here still feel confident that they're a boy? Do you still feel sure you're a boy?" she continued. "This is not support. This is not nonbullying. This is indoctrination. And it's deeply confusing to the children, and wrong."

Megyn went on to give examples of how she's seen trans ideology turn "support, nonbullying, kindness, friendship, allyship, on its head."

"The absolute surrender of the medical community to this insanity is a scourge on this nation. It's disgusting what is happening with our doctors," she added. "There are people who are legitimately transgender, or who have gender dysphoria. And for those people, we should be supportive and they should get the care that they need. But what we've done instead, is taken everyone who expresses any kind of gender confusion and said, you're trans. You're trans. And we have our psychiatrists doing this."

"It's crazy," Megyn asserted. "The fact that we're doing this so willy-nilly in the name of allyship and support, it's abusive. It's criminal."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation:

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"Never forget" is not only a tribute to those we've lost, it's a warning that it could happen AGAIN. On "Glenn TV" Wednesday, Glenn Beck looks back 20 years ago to the modern generation's Pearl Harbor moment. A day of infamy we're STILL feeling repercussions from.

But in remembering 9/11, we need to look toward the future because the Biden administration is setting us up for the NEXT 9/11. They bungled the Afghanistan withdrawal, and now we have video of top al Qaeda commanders — who served with Osama bin Laden — returning to the country. But could America survive another terror attack?

Glenn asks former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the leader who brought America back from the brink. He tells Glenn about the moment he learned the Twin Towers were struck, the actions he took to prevent more terrorism, and if he thinks NYC could survive another attack under Mayor de Blasio's leadership.

Glenn is also joined by Rev. Johnnie Moore, author of "The Next Jihad." He warns that Biden's policies in the Middle East are Obama 2.0, and "if you thought ISIS was bad, you haven't seen anything yet. We must keep our eyes on Iran."

Watch the full episode of "Glenn TV" below:


Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.