Fall Editorial Board 2016
With the rise of Donald Trump and the perceived decline of America, a movement has emerged.
Like an ancient virus that evolved to wreck havoc on millennial minds, the Alt-right movement represents the oldest of human sins repackaged into a form that crawls around the dark recesses of the internet.
It has bred and, in the minds of many, validated racism, xenophobia, misogyny and homophobia.
On various internet forums, such as reddit and 4chan, a brigade of disaffected and provocative meme-sharers express their dissatisfaction at the state of society. Generally, these people are young adults. They circulate jokes about the holocaust, feminism, Jewish people and a handful of other subjects usually pointing back to a common theme: white culture is under attack and multiculturalism is to blame.
The white nationalist movement has been perpetuated by people like Milo Yiannopoulos, the technology editor of Breitbart News, a conservative news website which has routinely embraced the alt-right movement. Yiannopoulos, known to call Donald Trump “daddy”, is a fierce advocate for a world free of “political correctness” and loves to rail against “social justice warriors.”
Yiannopoulos plans to speak at Auburn in October during his “Dangerous F***ot Tour.”
Hillary Clinton recently delivered a speech denouncing Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Breitbart chair Stephen Bannon to his campaign as chief executive. “The de facto merger between Breitbart and the Trump Campaign represents a landmark achievement for the ‘Alt-Right.’ A fringe element has effectively taken over the Republican Party,” said Clinton.
We believe this movement is dangerous, misguided and antithetical to American values.
American values are not white, Anglo-Saxon European values. American values consist of applying democratic principles, an air of tolerance, understanding and a love for personal freedoms to society. A cornerstone of our country is inclusivity. We accept people from various cultures, and in that process, our society becomes an amalgamation of traditions represented around the globe.
That isn’t to say we accept heinous values around the globe, such as the belief that terror against civilians is justifiable. We absorb peaceful traditions that can be reconciled with our values and our perspective becomes more cosmopolitan and understanding. Our system of national values is a balance between tolerance for customs and beliefs that do not harm our citizenry or institutions and intolerance for xenophobia and illiberal principles.
Too often, tolerance and intolerance are characterized as terms with inherent moral dimensions. To be tolerant means, to some, to inherently be in the moral right and to be intolerant means to inherently be in the moral wrong. The converse is true for others.
Tolerance and intolerance each have their place in American society, but it stands that America should be a generally tolerant society, assuming most traditions brought by immigrants don’t run counter to our values.
Proponents of the alt-right movement advocate for a return to the past, back to when America was “great.” Though their vision of American society being comprised solely of white culture and traditions has never quite existed, alt-righters want to regress American society back into an age of greater distrust and hatred toward people of color, people in the LGBT community and immigrants from non-European countries.
Their beliefs are backed by racist pseudoscience that claims white superiority, much like the beliefs of those indoctrinated with Nazism in the early 20th century.
If this movement festers, the end result will be increased tensions between races which may result in violence. One of factions within the alt-right movement wishing for and working toward such violence is called 1488. The 14 comes from the fourteen-word slogan “We Must Secure The Existence Of Our People And A Future For White Children,” and the 88 signifies two H’s, the eighth letter in the alphabet, and it supposed to mean “Heil Hitler.”
1488ers, who are even criticized by some fellow alt-righters, wish to incite violent revolution to ensure the preservation of the white identity. Though the 1488ers do not represent the entire alt-right movement, they represent what the alt-right’s radical ideology can manifest into. Instead of fearing the traditions and influx of immigrants from distant shores, Americans need to reflect upon the principles our country was founded on. Instead of resorting to tribalism, we need to recognize and discard of the arbitrary differences with which we separate ourselves from other members of our human family. We can do these things without sacrificing the ideals which hold our society in order. If an immigrant’s practices threaten what we hold dear, democratic governance, the freedom to worship freely so long as it doesn’t harm anyone else’s liberties and the other rights enumerated in our constitution, we can and should be adverse to their presence and influence in our society. If that is not the case, the fear of the alt-right is unfounded.