How It Started
The birth of the movement came from my website via a view that I slowly developed over nine years. My initial political project was called Liberal Race Realism, but I eventually chucked it as a complete failure. The problem was that the only people who flocked to the Left’s premier liberal race realist site were…drum roll…racists! It became obvious over the years that people just can’t talk reasonably about race. Conversations immediately degenerate into slurs and the worst, most ugly racism. This led me to assume that rational discussions about race were impossible, which still may be the case.
One of the things I argued that was that we have two equally insane choices on race here in the US: the utterly lunacy, and increasingly, menace and toxicity of modern anti-racism on one side and hardcore, ugly, nasty, vicious racism on the other. You have to pick one or the other. If you don’t buy the choice on the Left, you are angrily cast out and ordered to go join the Klansmen and Nazis. I did hang out with the racialist White blogosphere for a while, but I always felt out of place there too because I’m simply not a very racist person.
Nevertheless, I and another very early adopter Brandon Adamson who owns the altleft.com domain, did come out of the Alt Right. We had both been on the fringes of it for years but were both dissatisfied, me by the grotesque racism and Brandon by the Alt Right’s backwards and barbarous social conservatism, which offended him because he’s basically just another liberal, albeit with some unconventional views on race.
In this sense, the birth of the Alt Left was on the Alt Right, and the Alt Left is definitely an Alt Right split. Indeed, Brandon’s site was long titled, “The Alt Left – the left wing of the Alt Right.” In certain respects, this will always be true.
As far as the name goes, I have to hand it to the Nazis for that one. On the website The Right Stuff (Richard Spencer’s site) in the comments section of one article someone asked, “We know what the Alt Right is, but what is the Alt Left?” Someone responded, “The Alt Left is Robert Lindsay,” and linked to me. I saw it and it hit me right there. I had a name. Thank you, Nazis!
Brandon once said something I thought was very important. He said that one good thing about the Alt Right was that everything was up for grabs and nothing was off-topic for discussion. This included the stark truths about race, ethnicity, the sexes, and sexual orientation, and gender identity. On the Alt Right, there’s no policing for Crimethink.
Another early Alt Leftist, Ryan England, noted on Saryon of Arkkad’s show (no, the Alt Left does not claim Saryon, sorry!) that the early Alt Left even included some race realists. Saryon then noted that the Alt Left seemed to be about the search for the truth instead of the pretty lies everyone else wants to believe. If the truth is ugly, so be it. So is life. Move on. Ryan calls this “Renaissance values” meaning the early triumph of the empirical method over obscurantism, magic, religion, superstition, and resulting idiocy, or science over backwardness and barbarism.
Personally, in my writing about issues not related to my personal life, I almost follow the Categorical Imperative. Indeed, White culture itself, perhaps alone out of all other cultures, uniquely values honestly for no other reason than the social peace that results. Hence, it has become part of our White values and morals.
Of course, Whites lie like crazy just like all the other races, but I still think a lot of Whites feel an almost unique pang of guilt when they lie, particularly egregiously. Is this from our Christian values? From Classical culture and the Greeks? Of course there are good lies and bad lies and white lies and black lies, but in general, society seems to go smoother when there’s not a lot of egregious lying.
Hence the almost suicidal addition to the truth in my writing. I’ve always told my readers that I will never lie to them. If the truth looks bad for my side, so be it. If it looks good for the other guys, well, fine, perhaps we should adopt their views. I want to know the truth about what’s going on in the world. The problem is that especially in politics and particularly in geopolitics, truth is almost as uncommon as a rare Earth mineral. The daily news is a barrage lies from the media, political parties, the government, the corporations, Hell, just about everybody.
I look at that with dismay. I see the avalanche of lies and tell myself that I will ferret out the truth there one way or another. I don’t want to have any falsehoods in my head. Why is everyone so keen on believing all sorts of lies and nonsense and untruths? That seems like a yucky way to live. Hence I soldier on, as does the Alt Left. One wonders if Kant is smiling down on us as we tiptoe our way down the perilous trek to the pure truth of the categorical imperative. I like to think he’s wishing us along.
History of the Alt Left
The Alt Left truly took off a few years ago, and soon there were 18,000 members of Alt Left groups on Facebook. Also, following the tradition of Left movements, it quickly split into at least 14 different factions, wings, or splits, many of whom hated each other. I quickly renounced many of them, but movements can’t be patented or copyrighted, and the Alt Left will become whatever the Alt Left masses decide it is to become.
Brandon cheered on the factionalism at one point, and so did I. In fact, I coined an Alt Left saying, “Everyone form your own wing.” I didn’t mean that explicitly but instead meant it more in the sense of “Beyond a few hard lines, everyone mix and match whatever combination of Right, Left and Neither positions you like to form your own unique politics.” Nowadays this is banned in favor of extreme partisanship.
Want to be on the Left? Here is a checklist of 100 positions on issues, and you have to check the right box on each one. You missed one and only got 99 out of 100 correct? You get thrown out and ordered to go join the Right.
It’s apparently the same on the Right. We are now in the era of litmus tests with no end. Most people just pick a side, identify with it, and check every box the correct away without even thinking.
The Alt Left movement soon developed original thinkers, websites, and even a magazine. For a time there was talk of an Alt Left arts movement too.
The Realist Left
The Keynesians became grouped around some very smart folks at Social Democracy for the 21st Century blog.
They were mostly Keynesians with a few Modern Monetary Thinkers (MMT’ers) thrown in too. They were more left than the Alt Left on culture, and they caved early on Zionism. They despised true Left economics as failed.
They did a lot of great work on the intellectual background of the Cultural Left, which of course is postmodernism along with its top thinkers Lacan, Lyotard, Derrida, and especially Foucalt. That these folks are incomprehensible is hardly their only problem.
Much more problematic were their anti-scientific notions that there is no such thing as truth, facts, or science, and everyone’s view of these things is “correct for them,” and apparently therefore correct in general.
This movement decided to split from the Alt Left and become a project called the Realist Left. We are more to the right of them on culture but more left on just about everything else.
Alt Left Positions
Many position statements were put forth, and a lot of my original project was shot down by the Alt Left masses. Race realism was one of the first to go, rejected as too toxic to touch. Instead the movement went “agnostic” on race realism. It is tragic that agnosticism on race realism would now be considered a majestic triumph for us. We can’t even get the most right-wing Republicans to do that.
On foreign policy, my anti-imperialism was chucked in favor of non-interventionism, which is not much of a cave-in.
On economics, the Keynesians seemed to win out against people like Brandon and me. Indeed, the two early founders of the movement are practically Communists! Instead, the movement completely rejected the Hard Left, in particular on the grounds that this is where you find the worst of the Cultural Left types.
The Alt Left and the “Middle Way”
On culture, the Alt Left is in between the sheer insanity and weirdness of the Cultural Left and the stuffy prudes of the Social Conservatives. We think one is as bad as the other, but these are the only two items on the menu. We say they both taste awful and that the truth is instead the golden mean, or as the Chinese Taoists put it, “Everything in moderation.” So our cultural view would be between those extremes.
We do support the Democratic Party, because no matter how loony the Cultural Left is, I’d still rather have them in than Republicans, which are always a bane and are now frankly an openly authoritarian, and, yes, fascist party. Those who scoff should read Trotsky on fascism where he describes the immense appeal it has to the “ordinary man on the street” or “los descamisados” or “shirtless ones” in Peronist terms. It is its potential for extreme popularity with ordinary folks that is precisely what makes fascism so dangerous, he points out.
Borrowing from Ayman al-Zawahari of Al Qaeda, we on the Alt Left say the Republican Party is the “near enemy” and the Cultural Left is the “far enemy.”
In other terms, the Cultural Left is like a mosquito swarm, maybe one in Alaska. Annoying but hardly fatal and there’s always bug spray.
On the other hand the Republican Party is like a grizzly bear in your living room, and open and immediate menace.
Support for Tradition
Obviously we had to compromise on Zionism. Doesn’t everyone somehow? How does that work anyway? One of our best early thinkers was a Keynesian Israeli who was a super Zionist. One of my early principles was anti-Zionism, but we had to go agnostic on that one too. This man did add some good thinking to our project. One view of his that I like was, “Hey, what’s wrong with family values, anyway? History has shown us that this is what works.”
I concur with him. In fact, the Alt Left view on a lot of cultural issues is, “Your grandmother was right,” otherwise known as “the wisdom of the ages.” Every generation thinks it is reinventing the wheel, but they’re mostly rebelling without a cause. I figure that traditions are in place because our ancestors presumably already tried everything else, including most every crazy idea of the “out with the old” new generations, and found that most of this stuff didn’t work.
Through centuries of trial and error, not only did we learn which plants were toxic but we also learned about what works culturally and what doesn’t. What works became known as “our traditions.” Like them or not, they’re there for a reason, in most cases because even if they are lousy, they’re the least bad of the alternatives. We spit at our ancestors at our peril.
The Fake Definition of the Alt Left
I think one thing we ought to get out of the way first is what the Alternative Left, or Alt Left for short, is not.
Most people think the Alt Left is what Donald Trump and his Deporables (yes, the Alt Left considers them Deplorables but we have a unique take on them – see below) has called the Alt Left. After the Alt Right got bad publicity at Charlottesville, Trump tried to equate the Left with the Southern Reconstructionists, racists, and out and out Nazis at Charlottesville by implying that the Left was just as bad.
Personally, I think most at the rally were simply the first of the three above, and I think the lawsuit and conviction of the organizers was an outrageous breach of justice. Nevertheless, this sort of judicial malpractice seems to be happening to Whites in trials around the US wherever racial issues are at stake. Keep in mind that I don’t like the Charlottesville organizers. But fair is fair.