Is the Orthosphere Alt-Right?

The phrase Alternative Right has been causing a stir of late, and I suspect this may have led some of our inquiring readers to ask if the Orthosphere is part of this shadowy and (to some) sinister movement. My unofficial answer is a qualified yes, but I am open to correction (official or otherwise).

I take the title Alternative Right as denoting a rather motley collection of opinions that are neither Leftist nor of the respectable Right. It is, in other words, a negative identity whose members are defined by what they are not, rather than by a common creed with definite positive articles of faith. Our readers might do well to think of it as a protestant Right, since it is composed of factions that agree that the Right is in need of radical reformation, but that vary in their specific diagnoses and remedies.

If we look at the original Protestants, we see that, broadly speaking, some of them were primitivists and some of them were progressives. Some aimed to reform the Church by restoration of the primitive religious order suggested in Scripture, while others aimed to reform the Church by renovation of the existing religious order along lines suggested by the Spirit. Think of Puritans as opposed to Quakers.

The Alternative Right likewise has restorationist and renovating parties, although the difference is a matter of dominant tendency and very far from absolute. The Orthosphere is, I would say, mostly restorationist, but we understand and accept the arguments against simply “setting the clock back.”

The Orthosphere is not Leftist because Leftism is inherently secular and egalitarian. We do not deny that there are genuine Christians who think that they are Leftists, but put these down as cases of unresolved cognitive dissonance. As the epigram on our masthead affirms, we believe that the order of things is hierarchical, that the apex of this hierarchy is transcendent, that denial of this transcendent apex must result in a collapse of the order of things into a tohu va bohu of comprehensive equality, and that such a collapse is a consummation richly not to be desired.

Obviously, this does not mean that we deny the fact of equality where equality in fact exists. What we deny is that equality can be made to exist, and that, if equality could be made to exist, its making would improve rather than degrade the world. We observe that the story of Creation that we receive from Genesis is fundamentally a story of creation by differentiation of the primordial indifference and equality of tohu va bohu into light and dark, Heaven and earth, land and water, man and woman, obedience and disobedience, innocence and Fall.

We observe also that each of these differentiations is pronounced good. Twilight is lovely in its way, but we recall no place where God pronounces it superior to day or night.

The Orthosphere is not part of the respectable Right because it recognizes the respectable Right as a superannuated form of Leftism, and on top of that, as a superannuated form of Leftism with an opportunistic weakness for selling out to the modern form whenever it can connive to do this discretely and to a profit. It does this, we believe, because behind all its flags and screaming eagles stands a prosaic and Gradgrindian utilitarianism.

Three signal traits of the Alternative Right are denial of sexual, racial and political equality. The various factions on the Alternative Right affirm different, and frequently incompatible, positive doctrines regarding the proper ordering of sexual, racial and political relations, but all agree in repudiation of the present egalitarian order, and of the egalitarian doctrines by which it is sustained.

This repudiation is why the Alternative Right is presently causing such a stir, and why it is in so many quarters an object of fear and loathing.

I am not going to detail an Orthospherian position on the proper ordering of sexual, racial and political relations, for we have no single or detailed position. I do believe that we are agreed that the present order is manifestly disastrous, and that this dolorous assessment places us somewhere on the Alternative Right.

As traditionalist Christians, our position on the Alternative Right is qualified by certain dogmatic commitments, but we are also wary of mendacious formulations of these commitments. The locus classicus is, of course, the statement of Christian equality in Galatians 3:28. We affirm this equality but insist on the adjective. Mendacious formulations twist this passage from the natural meaning that all Christians are equally Christian to the diabolic meaning that a Christian is someone who regards all things as equal.

Stated simply, Galatians 3:28 means that, among God’s children, there are no favorites. There is no sex or race or political class whose members are, as it were, flying first class on the Christian airliner, or enjoying privileges reserved for charter members in the Christian clubhouse. In the Church of Christ there is no Court of the Gentiles or Halfway Covenant. This spiritual equality does not imply equality of function or gifts within the Church, as we believe should be tolerably obvious from I Corinthians 12:12. It certainly does not imply, suggest or command equality in the sexual, racial or political order of the secular world.

Perhaps the best way to state our position is to say that the Orthosphere is one of the alternatives on the Alternative Right.

What’s your view?

93 thoughts on “Is the Orthosphere Alt-Right?

  1. Pingback: Is the Orthosphere Alt-Right? | Aus-Alt-Right

  2. Professor Smith, aside from the lamentable absence of the Oxford comma, I commend your article! (Having understandably waited for my approval, you can now depart in peace . . .)

    I am fond of the alt-righters because I delight in their smashing the idols of our idiot tribe. I often find myself somewhat pained in reading them, though. They are like those men shackled in the cave who have come to realize that their world is a sham, and yet they miserably bump around in the shadows, cursing the figures on the wall and despising the light that quickened their former understanding. Still, they remain unaware of how to escape their subterranean prison.

    • I’m hopelessly indecisive and inconsistent when it comes to Oxford commas. Sometimes they strike me as just what is wanted, other times as fussy and pedantic. I think I know what you are saying about many of the alt-right writers, and put it down to them being, for the most part, very young.

  3. Sounds correct to me.

    The alternative right or alt-right is the right which had been an alternative to the recent past’s mainstream right. The mainstream right including everything from Bill Kristol Conservatism for Her to Ted Cruz True Conservatism, with Fox News, National Review, and Rush Limbaugh in between. Since the Orthoshpere is obviously part of the right and outside of the mainstream, it is part of the alt-right.

    As to its place within the alt-right, the Orthosphere, and other reactionary blogs, are on its far right end. The center of the alt-right’s mass, so to speak, seems to be in the vicinity of Taki’s mag—basically, paleocons with attitude. And the most leftward end of the alt-right is harder to define, since, over the course of the Trump campaign, formerly alt-right ideas have bled into the mainstream, enough so that it’s hard to really say where the left-most edge of the alt-right ends and where the right-most edge of the mainstream begins. Apparently, Breitbart would be that place, but I wouldn’t be able to confirm that myself.

    • Yes, we shouldn’t be taken in by recent efforts to represent the Alternative Right as a malignant monolith. It’s really a matter of Alternative Rights.

    • I’d be just as happy with this title, which I first heard from John Derbyshire. At the moment I think it would be wrong to run away from the Alt-Right label just because the Eye of Sauron is on Richard Spencer and his outfit. Obviously there’s a good deal of disagreement between someone like Richard Spencer and us here at the Orthosphere, but dissidents need to stand with other dissidents.

      • I don’t wish to be contrarian, but recent events convince me that the search for a satisfactory label turns out to be a fool’s errand. I grew up in a left-of-center family of Democrats, and “converted” to conservatism as an adult, much to the consternation of my siblings. Over time, however, I began to sense many areas where the “conservative” label–at least as it was conventionally conceived–did not fit, and that I was sharing that label with too many whose views in so many areas were at odds with mine. The label “alt-right” is too new to be pinned down, but I already see a mean-spiritedness in many who wear it that makes me uncomfortable with accepting it for myself. In time, “alt right” will also become conventionalized and sclerotic, and pick up elements that many in this forum would likely find abhorrent. We ought to greet these media-manufactured labels with a good deal of suspicion.

      • I share your revulsion against groupthink, but also think an insistence on personal purity will atomize a political movement, leaving the isolated purists easy prey for the enforcers of the hegemonic ideology. Like any social group (a family, a church, a nation), we can bicker and fight among ourselves when we are at peace with the wider world. But when the wider world attacks us, it’s solidarity time. One doesn’t have to agree with Richard Spencer in order to disagree with those who are doing their best to stuff a sock in his mouth.

  4. Pingback: Is the Orthosphere Alt-Right? | Reaction Times

  5. Traditional Christianity and alt-rite converge into white Supremacy.

    In fact, it’s already done.

    You are “seeing” after a Big Bang and not the Collapsing.

    Alt-rite is not a splinter. Alt-RITE is the atheistic aspect of anti-egalitarianism “racist” anti-racists. And traditional Christians, being theistic anti-egalitarians, are the alt-rite’s FELLOW TRAVELER and not a spiritual or worldly rival where strict anti-egalitarianism is concerned.

    This is a FLAW to be fixed.

    white Supremacy is that fix.

      • Note to Thordaddy: I have suppressed a number of your comments on this (and other) posts, but will approve a cogent answer to a direct question such as this one. My general rule is to approve your first comment (assuming it is reasonably cogent and to the point), but after that to approve your comments only if they directly engage with the thread. If your initial comment attracts a response, I will approve your comments as part of a dialogue, but monologues and monomania will be suppressed.

      • Because the “alternative rite” is actually a ritualized variant of radical liberation for a class of high IQ “white” males now firmly ensconced under the cloak of the Right when they were always suspect from their origin.

        The Right is belief in and desire for objective Supremacy GIVEN a RACIALLY-incarnated state of Man.

        Alt-riters are Orthosphereans are SJWs are egalitarians are anti-white Supremacists are deracinated “Christians.”

        No one has argued otherwise.

        Just censored the truth.

      • Winston, I know for fact that I personally have cautioned you before not to engage Thordaddy on his odd use of language that none of us quite understand. Yet you continue to do so, and in this particular case you resort (out of frustration, I presume) to using foul language not fit for polite company in response? I’d like to know what the point of all that is!

      • This comment has been passed through moderation because it answers a question. JMS

        “[O]dd use of language that none of us quite understand.” — Terry Morris.

        First, “who” is “us?”

        Secondly, if thing X is a “racist” anti-racist and thing Y is also a “racist” anti-racist THEN X = Y where both X and Y are “racist” anti-racists. So here is an “equality” in the possession of the supposed anti-egalitarians calling themselves alt-rite and Orthosphereans.

        In other words, alt-riters and Orthospherean, professed anti-egalitarians, actually believe in “universal equality” BECAUSE both are anti-(white) Supremacy.

        Ergo, alt-riter = Orthospherean = SJW = anti-white (S)upremacist.


        I could say…

        Where white Supremacy is concerned, the alt-riter and the Orthospherean are indistinguishable, i.e., identically equal.

  6. @JM – I have been arguing that the Alt-Right has become secular in its priorities – and therefore it is actually of the Left.

    At most, it could be said that the Alt-Right is not, like the mainstream Left, *actively* hostile to Christianity, However, we know from decades of experience that neutral toleration is not enough to turn things around or make any significant difference to the situation.

    A few years ago, the secualrism of the Alt-Right was less clear, and myself and Jim Kalb both contributed a few pieces to the original Alternative Right web-zine (now gone from the interweb) written from a Christian perspective.

    BTW – Why is The Orthosphere so moribund these days – days or a week-plus between posts? You guys should be posting every day – there is a need for it.

    My blog has really taken off again over the past months after a long plateau/ decline – I am getting something like 1000 extra views on a typical day than I was a year ago.

    We are in the first stages of a Spiritual Awakening – which may get no further – but it means that The Orthosphere is probably more likely to have a positive impact now than ever before.

    Get Blogging!

    • What we might call the Alt-Right proper is, as you say, hostile to Christianity. Much of it is mired in materialism, and much that isn’t thinks it can revive a cult of Odin. I put some of this down to the movement being dominated by young men, earthy and worldly creatures on the whole. Some of it I put down to the feminized milk-and-water weakness that they see in so many Christian Churches. The Church needs heroes right now, but too many have declared themselves hero-free zones.

      There’s no back-channel communication between Orthosphere contributors, so I can’t explain the general slowdown in posting. For my part it has been an avalanche of real-world obligations and fussing over a longer Orthosphere post (appearing shortly). I think one weakness of the Orthosphere format is that it can’t decide whether it is a blog, publishing shorter occasional posts, or an on-line journal publishing longer essays. I think we should find a means to separate ephemeral blog posts and longer essays, since this would help us to be more relaxed when writing the former, but also not fear that the later will be buried under ephemera. I don’t think or type quickly enough to match your output, but I’ll do what I can to up my game.

      • The Alt-Right is hostile to Christianity but that does not mean that some of its criticisms of Christianity, especially what it has morphed into in modern times, isn’t legitimate. However, at its core the Alt-Right–as promoted by Spencer–is incompatible with Christianity.

  7. I’ve been considering the alt-right as those actively participating in one or more online connected communities, as non-entryist/trolls (which always seem to be present).

    They would have followed the conversations well enough to follow along, not merely have similar views as a newcomer. Of course the sudden attention is bringing newcomers in without prior fellowship. *shrug*

    I like your classification but wouldn’t have considered you if not for established ties however loose. There exist people in related communities (e.g. HBD-sphere and elsewhere) who either are not active participants or exclude themselves.

    The manosphere of classic days a few years ago highly resembles what became the broader alt-right… All these men reacting to the realities of feminism via different strategies: odd bedfellows like traditional marriage-minded men with pickup artist, grateful bachelors, MRA’s, career/business interests etc.

    Something been thinking about is how blogrolls, pingbacks, linkage posts and other cross-references make overarching coagulating meta-communities. Things seemed to accelerate on Twitter which has retweets… #GamerGate, Furgeson, other events could have accelerated the process too.

    GamerGate isn’t exactly alt-right but some took part and everyone observed with interest.

    But broad outlines were already there with the Dark Enlightenment, a loose meta-community that rejected one aspect or another of “modernity”, and in the process of forming mutual recognition/alliances.

    One imagines a parallel universe where PUA’s teamed up with psychologist instead of evolutionist… The potential was there I think. They could delve into feminine psychology and such. There were already duscussion of women with personality disorders like Cluster-B and complaints about Freudian backwardness setting the field back.

    I’m not sure if things would have “evolved” the same without people actively networking to form a multidiciplinary meta-community, whether for mutual promotion or cross-posts or whatever. But just the pingbacks and retweets would have generated a little cross-referencing activity… *shrug*

    One wonders why the Left hasn’t done this, at least in the same style. The feminist and other lefties did have group blogs afterall. I stumbled into the manosphere because of a feminist blog slacked posting awhile and me googling “unmarriagable women” which lead to the infamous EAP post (now deleted).

    But I like your description!

    • I think that you are correct to understand these new political identities as the outcome of both new communication technologies and a widespread but still unfocused dissatisfaction with the present order of things. That’s what I was getting at in mentioning the protestant reformation, in which the desire for reform was engrossed by the new technology of moveable type.

  8. All of the alt-Rights are avowedly particularistic to some extent or other on some social criterion or other. They reject any politics based exclusively on a generic conception of Man considered in the abstract, and moreover with his social nature abstracted away- which means insistence on the concrete and particular being of the individual as a member of this or that particular group, to whom he has a primary obligation of loyalty. (This particularity could mean a particular race, nation, State, religion, region, class, or some combination, depending on who you ask). They accordingly insist on explicitly-defined limits to universalism; they reject the possibility of uniting all Humanity under a common Earthly authority in this life and don’t see that as desirable in any case.

    I think that explicit, foundational particularism is the defining taxonomical criterion, the thread of continuity, that unites all the alt-Rights, no matter how different in other respects, or how they understand particularity, and also decisively differentiates them from the Liberalisms of both the Left and Right.

    • This is a good way to describe it, and is more or less what I was trying to get at by saying that the the Alt-Right dissents from the egalitarian ethos of the age. It favors the preservation of identities, which is why some call it identitarian.

  9. Dissentingsociologist,

    That was an excellent explanation of “mere” Alternative Right. If particularity is what differentiates the Alt Right from the liberalisms of both the Left and the Right, would you say that the classical Liberalism of the American founders was also abstract and universalist?

    • Anti-egalitarianism does not always imply hierarchy, as it often asserts nothing more than difference. But even when it does, it would not condone mistreatment. We have here the usual semantic problem with words of this sort, since


      treatment is something everyone is opposed to by definition, just as everyone is by definition opposed to, say, injustice. The question is always one of what treatment is correct or just.

      One very serious hazard of a doctrine of hierarchical inequality is that it will excuse acts of cruelty, to which humans are all too prone. But it is also clear that humans have an even stronger impulse to deplore cruelty to inferior beings (e.g. animals, children, the demented or retarded). It seems to me that it is also clear that treating unequals as equals often does great harm to the inferior half.

      • A school counselor I’ve known all of my life (but had not interacted with for almost 20 years) fairly recently asked what it is “you’re doing with these kids” to make them “the best kids I’ve ever seen.” My answer was fairly long and explanatory (and indeed extended to several subsequent conversations on the topic), but the preface was very short and to the point: “It’s not exactly what we’re *doing* as much as it is what we’re *not doing*.” Rejection of egalitarianism being one of the main things I mentioned.

        I consider myself to be an *Orthospherean* alt-righter. What little I know about the broader alt-right often gives me pause.

    • Winston, your concern here seems to me to be something of an obsession. I have seen it before, many times. Indeed, the school counselor I speak of in the other comment had gotten her information from people who are obsessed with what they deem to be “excessive” discipline, and that sort of thing. They’re also what can be rightly called “busy bodies,” overly concerned with what everyone else is doing while they (ironically) neglect a proper form of parenting with their own children, including neglecting to attend to their proper role in the home where all of this starts. The dysfunctionality in their homes is palpable. But because this is the “new norm,” they wrongly identify a proper functioning, well ordered home as dysfunctional. Again, this all very ironic. But it’s also dangerous. Black is white, up is down, good is evil and all that.

      • Winston, if I have made any wrong assumptions about your values, then I sincerely hope you will accept my apology. But in my own defense I have only assumed that *perhaps* your concern with the implications of anti-egalitarianism (what are they?) is something of an obsession for you. I base this assumption on your comments to this entry, as well as others; and as well as what I have observed in others who have a profound concern about the implications of inequality whenever the subject comes up.

      • Your decision to focus on this “obsession” you perceive me to have rather than the substance of the discussion suggests to me that your true motivation here is something other than an authentic exchange on the topic of equality.

  10. I think it is important to appreciate the difference between absolute equality and equality before law. No one would reasonably argue that every human is endowed with equal physical and mental faculties for example. But I do think it is perfectly reasonable for a political system to strive to treat all citizens equally in the application of law. Do Alt-Right people reject equality before law?

    • I expect there are some who don’t, although I generally do. We already make an exception for juveniles, the retarded and the insane, so there is no principled objection to considering arguments in favor of other exceptions to the general rule of equality before the law. I have no such arguments to offer, but do not know that there are no such arguments that can be made.

      • I don’t think the example of juveniles being treated differently by the law is on point. Every citizen goes through a juvenile period in their life. When we talk about equality before the law we are generally speaking of treating all adult citizens equally according to the law. In other words, different standards of proof (for example) are not applied to different types people because of race, sex, class ect.

      • I gave the example of juveniles simply to show that equality before the law is not an absolute value in our system. It is a means to the end of justice, and thus properly gives way to the requirements of justice when the two conflict. I have no proposal to create some new legal status, but do not find the idea of more than one legal status unthinkable. If I were persuaded that equality before the law caused injustice (including the injustice of gross public disorder), I would not regard equality before the law as sacrosanct.

      • The notion of equality before the law was a reaction against the unsatisfactory situation experienced under a system where it did not exist. I believe it has served the US well but I can understand your point of view.

      • Winstonscrooge@: “In other words, different standards of proof (for example) are not applied to different types people because of race, sex, class ect.”

        Why shouldn’t there be different standards of proof applied whenever race, sex, class, … *religion* etc., or some combination thereof, proves to be an impediment to extracting truth from individuals of a certain persuasion, not especially concerned with God’s prohibition against bearing false witness, as an example? E.g., Islam; women tend to be more emotionally driven than men; blacks tend to be more emotionally driven than whites; underpriveleged people are more prone to feel a sense of entitlement and thus to misrepresent the truth when they believe it will benefit them to do so, and so on and so forth. And of course exceptions merely prove the rule.

        Again, Winston, you strike me as someone who tends to obsess over the possibility that injustice may occur if we admit the way things really are and govern ourselves accordingly. This puts us in a helluva predicament – the exact predicament we’re in right now.

      • Equality before the law in my view does not mean there are no differences. If conditions are similar among the group, then that group is treated equally (e.g., shareholders of the same class are treated equally in bankruptcy law, but different from creditors and shareholders of a different class). As Dr. Smith says, other classifications can be considered – what classifications would be considered acceptable is where the rubber meets the road. No doubt that decision would involve custom, culture, rationality and a host of other factors.

      • c matt:
        If equality before the law just means that we treat people as peers when they are – and we don’t when they aren’t – it is vacuous. So we should just drop the term ‘equality’ entirely so nobody accidentally uses it to mean something non-tautological.

      • I’ve been thinking about this since WS raised the question. It occurs to me that persons holding dual citizenship ought not to be released on bail. This would not only would avert the risk of flight, but also make dual citizenship less attractive. Inequality before the law used to be justified with the argument that different groups needed to be cowed with different degrees of deterrence. I don’t think I buy this argument, since I’m not harmed by the threat a terrible punishment if I have no inclination to commit the crime. I do wonder if trial by jury can survive in a multicultural society, where nullification by jury may be used to release one’s co-ethnics, and vindictive juries may carry out blood-feuds within the legal system. The law may treat all men equally, while the legal system does not.

    • We reject “equality before the law” when the law makes “equal” those who are not equal. E.g., the so called “universal franchise.”

      • I am not arguing in favor of liberalism as a general proposition. However, it cannot be denied that the United States has thrived under a system that strives to ensure equal justice under the law. Two notable objective data points are the facts that the US is both the largest economy and military power the world has ever seen. Clearly the disastrous notion of equal justice did not prevent either of these from happening.

      • Everyone has thrived under liberalism except for all of the people mass murdered, morally corrupted, and otherwise destroyed by liberalism.

      • Are you saying mass murder is unique to liberalism? What about the Nazis and the Taliban? These are not liberal ideologies. What about the inquisition and the crusades? Were these movements inspired by liberal ideology?

      • winstonscrooge:
        You seem to have a basic reading comprehension issue if you interpret “A commits B” to mean “only A commits B”. That is likely to interfere with your ability to grasp even basic concepts around here, let alone concepts that you find counterintuitive or subtle. As a first time commenter here my suggestion to you is that you do a bit of reading around the blog before reacting in obvious incomprehension. But that is up to you.

      • Hah that’s my bad … I mistook this comment to be on my personal blog because of the way WordPress aggregates things.

        But the point about basic reading comprehension stands.

      • Success? The Constitution has been an unadulterated, unmitigated disaster. If the Founding Fathers could see exactly what became of the society they crafted, Washington would have turned pale with fright and declared himself king immediately.

      • Winston, we’ve had this discussion before regarding the supposed “success” of the Constitution. As I recall I went into some detail then about why the constitution has been a failure, as Citadel points out. I don’t care to repeat myself, so go back to that discussion if you’ve forgotten what I wrote.

      • Since the Republic is radically different than it was in the late 1700’s, I’d say the Constitution largely failed to preserve the Republic it created.

      • “Everyone has thrived under liberalism except for all of the people mass murdered, morally corrupted, and otherwise destroyed by liberalism.”

        Ha, ha. Salient point!

      • Winston:

        “Consider the following non-exhaustive list:

        The French-supported American revolutionary war
        The French revolution and the Reign of Terror
        The American civil war
        *The mass murders of Nazism*
        The mass murders of Communism
        The mass murders of feminism
        Now consider the following statements about these things:

        These were products of the political philosophy of liberalism.
        These are particular instances of what actually happened when the political philosophy of liberalism crashed into reality.”

        Per Zippy.

        It’s fairly clear what he is saying, no?

    • Inequality in fact implies inequality in power. And with great power comes great responsibility.

      Equality before the law is a nonsensical fantasy. Embracing it just inverts the natural proportionality of power and responsibility. Nobles deserve greater shame and punishment for the same offense committed by commoners.

      Equal rights are self contradictory. A right asserts authoritative particular discrimination; equality requires no authority, no particularity, and no discrimination.

      Liberty as a principle of authority is nonsense. All authoritative acts restrict liberty.

      Liberalism is murderous, incoherent nonsense.

      • Winston, if I have made any wrong assumptions about your values, then I sincerely hope you will accept my apology. But in my own defense I have only assumed that *perhaps* your concern with the implications of anti-egalitarianism (what are they?) is something of an obsession for you. I base this assumption on your comments to this entry, as well as others; and as well as what I have observed in others who have a profound concern about the implications of inequality whenever the subject comes up.

      • Zippy I would agree wholeheartedly, though perhaps from more of a realist standpoint. The fact is that equality before the law has never existed in history and doesn’t exist today. Kings are not accountable to law, they define the law, they are the law, as representatives of God on earth. When they go astray, they are dealt with by their fellow nobles using extra-judicial means rather than court proceedings. To believe otherwise is fantasy. Those who have guns and swords will never be subject to ‘the law’ in the same way that those without guns and swords will. We pretend this is the case today, but it is only pretend. For crying out loud, have we not just had the greatest example of this play out before us in Hillary’s email scandal? Powerful people are ONLY subject to the law when they fall out of favor with people who are even more powerful than they are.

  11. Winston: The worst forms of cruelty are inflicted on those we deem our peers and rivals, since according to the rules of the agonistic contest they can reasonably be expected to win, and so if they lose deserve no pity or mercy, but rather contempt for their ineptitude, incompetence, and failure. By contrast, a man who beats up a woman, or takes away a child’s money in a poker game, makes himself contemptible. Why? Women are physically weak- and they’re supposed to be. Children are naive and gullible- and they’re supposed to be. It follows that men have a duty of care over women and children that they most certainly don’t have over their competitors, whom they legitimately can and should vanquish.

    The great, unprecedented forms of cruelty of the Modern era- total wars in which civilian women and children are incinerated right along with uniformed combatants, genocides, the famines in which millions twist and perish while Westerners watch it all on TV as they eat lavish dinners- all take follow from the Hobbesian premise that all individuals are equal by Nature, that they all have the ability to inflict harm no matter how innocuous or even feeble they may seem, and are therefore all of them peers and rivals on a level playing-field. As such they are all interchangeably legitimate targets in conflict, and in any case deserve no special pity or care in the dog-eat-dog world predicated on the intrinsic equality of every dog no matter how great and small.

    Yay equality…

  12. I am not sure what you are assuming I believe regarding the rather broad label of equality. I certainly believe that all adult citizens should be treated equally before the law as a general principal. I have not asserted anything beyond this to my knowledge.

  13. I agree with Zippy’s take the Alt-Right is now essentially a right liberal reaction to the excesses of left-liberalism, a kind of internal defense mechanism of liberalism.

    JMSmith, you likened the Alt-Right to the radical reformers of the past. I believe it was the blogger Practical Conservative, however, who first pointed out the cosmopolitanism of so many of the Alt-Right figure heads on this blog. Viewed in this way I see the Alt-Right as being more like the philosophes of the 18th century. The rhetoric and tactics seem to be very similar. Staying with this analogy I suppose we could say that social media functions as the Alt-Right’s salons. It seems that the Alt-Right despises much of the same Westerm traditon they purport to defend.

    Still even more interesting to my vantage point is the internal development of the Alt-Right itself over the past year. Several years ago it seemed much of Alt-Right took its intellectual bearings from the Continental traditon . At sites like Counter Currents one finds a large number of European thinkers like Carl Schmitt, Evola, and the Nouvelle Droite school. Even the American leaders of the Alt-Right like Richard Spencer took more of a Euro-centric view. Recall that Spencer threw cold water on the signifcance of Brexit and still held hope for the idea of a united Europe, a Europe that would be united under Alt-Right ideals of course. That position put Spencer at odds with many of his American followers who naturally take a very postive view of secession. Therein lies the interesting transition as it seems the Alt-Right has lost this Euro-centric orientation with the influx of Anglo-Saxons. I have people like Milo, Nigel Farage, Paul Joseph Watson, Cernovich and Vox Day in mind here. All of these thinkers have in my view diluted whatever anti-liberalism there was in the Alt-Right and have made it about protecting the legacy of the Enlightenment.

    • You’re right. The Alt-Right proper is not conservative. In my analogy with the Protestant Reformation, they match one of the New Light sects like the Quakers, not the restorationist Puritans. In the broader sense of Alt-Right, meaning the non-respectable Right, the Orthosphere is (as I wrote) generally restorationist.

  14. Given that the spirit promises to guide believers using various means as well as the scripture to guide them to all truth. Genuine Christians who are leftists do not remain so for long. For otherwise how can they know what is right or wrong good or evil?

  15. Important essay, and I am in agreement on it. I think one point that should be made is very much the American nature of the AltRight. The very fact that it is not a continental movement speaks to its own lack of grounding in any particular Tradition or even set of doctrinal points beyond a mere belief in the non-interchangeability of peoples (something we all agree on).

    It might be useful to divide three branches of the AltRight. The Vox Day/Cernovich wing which is rightly critiqued above as being a pale imitation of everything wrong about the counter-jihad movement, their defense of ‘western values’ which include profoundly Modern notions. The Richard Spencer wing, which is openly identitarian in its outlook, but does not moor itself in a Tradition (indeed America has no innate Tradition to moor itself to and thus they are at a loss to create one).And then the ‘restorationists’ as you so aptly call them, which I would define as the broad Reactosphere or those specifically dedicated to anti-Modernism, which while including identitarianism, goes above and beyond it.

    During the Trump campaign, all of these forces through an amorphous organism called the AltRight, were united in something of a common cause: seeing Donald Trump elected. Thankfully, only the first wing was truly invested in Trump in the demotic sense. The other two saw Trump as a vehicle for greater opportunities (i.e – geopolitical, expanding the overton window, etc.) Now that this goal has been achieved, the mass is starting to peel apart because the first wing feels totally vindicated by Trump’s victory and thus feels no need to associate with the others anymore.

    This is okay, we should not be worried or concerned about this. A lot of people in that first wing sometimes known as the ‘Alt-West’ were self-promoters and opportunists anyway, and while they did provide some good in the form of an entryway to more radical ideas, I won’t miss them. The question now of course is where we stand in regards to the Spencer wing, which while we have mutual agreement on very important issues, others divide us at an even deeper level. I advocate at least for now, continuing to have a relationship with this wing. I respect many of the people in it, and appreciate what good they have achieved.

    The AltRight is still alive and breathing, but its momentum has stalled, and how much longer it can survive as an entity is questionable. In the meantime, we should continue being constructive, and encourage the AltRight where it damages our enemies, while of course noting that it doesn’t have the end-solutions we seek.

  16. As far as I can tell, the Alternative Right was originally started by Richard Spencer and Paul Gottfried as a rejection of the paleoconservative movement (basically Rockford). They wrote a great deal about paleoconservatism’s failure to accomplish anything. Fleming and Gottfried, the godfather’s of paleoconservatism had an obvious falling out and it seems that Gottfried began to mentor young Mr. Spencer. Spencer was obviously moving in a more white nationalist direction when he was editor of Takimag. I suppose Spencer found the paleoconservatives insufficiently race-conscious (Sam Francis excepted but he’s long dead) and the paleoconservatives were overwhelmingly Christian whereas Spencer seems sympathetic to European paganism.

    So the Alt-Right is a racialist-pagan paleoconservative offshoot. At least that’s how it looks to this reader.

    • Bruce:

      That seems like an accurate account of Spencer’s alt-right in particular. But there is also the chan-meme-Pepe-Kek alt-right, which appears to have sprung up very recently and pretty independently from Spencer/Gottfried and their protestant-revolt-from-paleoconservatism. It may largely be a product of the manosphere colliding with millennial reality: with the realization that the ‘red pill’ was just the beginning of the start of a glimpse of a revelation of the shadows on the cave wall.

      Mostly the alt right is composed of rebellious and deliberately offensive young liberals who are realizing that they have (largely for reasons of nurture) a penchant for being really badly wrong about their entire world view.

      Unfortunately the obvious lesson that this implies doesn’t often sink in.

      • I want to be on record as saying that I prefer the old-fart paleoconservatives. I guess I tend to hold older generations in high regard. BTW, Jim Kalb is now listed as a contributing editor at Rockford.

      • Bruce and Zippy:

        I find your reading of alt-right persuasive. Many people have commented in various venues that it’s difficult to make sense of the recent election, and yet to me it has seemed like a textbook illustration of Girard’s theory of mimetic escalation, in which both sides of a polarized situation begin to resemble each other more and more. I would expect Orthosphereans to hold themselves above such vulgar frays, or at least not to rush to one side with alacrity. It’s hard to say which direction the alt-right will take in its development (metastasizing?), but I’m not at all optimistic that it will be a good one. At present, it comprises too much anger, too much mean-spiritedness, too little reflectiveness, too much groupthink, to allow for much optimism.

    • Spencer’s appeal to paganism is overstated (its not on the level of Counter-Currents for example). He is more apathetic about spiritual matters, which probably defines a large number of people on the AltRight, who like most young people do not have a religious tradition and may see religious divisions as unhelpful to an identitarian cause, at least in the USA. Paleoconservatism had some racial elements, but they were never totally explicit: see Pat Buchanan.

      • The paleoconservatives were largely traditional Christians so they tended to be realistic and un-pc about race but not disproportionately preoccupied with race.

  17. “Perhaps the best way to state our position is to say that the Orthosphere is one of the alternatives on the Alternative Right.”

    Which gives the term a double-meaning as well. Nevertheless it’s true; the alternative right is best thought of as a broad rejection of the god of egalitarianism and a movement which contains various and sundry ideas on how society should be best ordered. It is this appeal to order which makes the movement essentially rightist even when it isn’t entirely conservative. Or put it this way. The binding commonality among the various alternatives of the alt right is that we see hierarchy as essential and foundational–whether this order stems from a transcendent source or not–as opposed to the egalitarian left which sees it as contingent and malleable.


        I would say that liberalism comes down to any and all attempts to make liberty into a political principle: into a principle grounding the exercise of authority. This is self contradictory.

        Every actual exercise of authority restricts liberty, that is, it constrains what subjects are permitted to do, to a subset of all possible actions. Politics in act always addresses controvertible cases and authoritatively discriminates, collapsing all possible choices into a constrained set of authoritative particular choices.

        That is why liberalism attempts to abolish politics a.k.a. authority: because authority in action always asserts some particular binding discrimination and restricts the liberty of subjects, based on some substantive conception of the good. Liberalism is a principle grounding the exercise of authority which invalidates the exercise of authority. Governance just is, in the essence of its acts, the assertion of constraining discriminating authority. Liberalism requires governance which eschews discrimination and constraining authority: the self nullification of politics.

  18. If we do not have a principle of equality before the law, whom do you trust to make just assessments of inequalities?

    I can’t think of anyone or any earthly institution that I’d trust for that.

    • As we have already seen, equality before the law is already subject to exceptions set by our legislators. We have a Juvenile Justice System because our representatives believe there is good reason for there to be a Juvenile Justice System. We also have Courts Martial. Retarded and insane persons do not face the same same penalties that you or I would. There is, of course, a general guarantee of equality before the law in the Constitution, but that could be changed by our legislators. So we are already entirely at the mercy of earthly institutions in this matter. It’s highly unlikely at present, but there is no insuperable obstacle to legislated inequality before the law.

    • Extollager:
      I can’t think of anyone or any earthly institution that I’d trust for that.

      Yes, that is one of the basic problems with liberalism, or political modernity: it attempts to replace the actual authority of actual real fallen men with metaphysically neutral machinery. It doesn’t actually succeed in its attempts though: it just makes the actual exercise of authority by actual men sociopathic.

  19. I think that “equality before the law” is most plausibly understood as the application of legal rules impartially and without regard to persons, as opposed to e.g. the judge throwing you in the clink because he doesn’t like your face. It does not imply equality of all rights and responsibilities and cannot. (A great deal of civil litigation is about figuring out who owes who what duty of care and when, who has a reasonable expectation of what from who under which circumstances, etc.).

    • dissentingsociologist:

      I think that “equality before the law” is most plausibly understood as the application of legal rules impartially and without regard to persons, as opposed to e.g. the judge throwing you in the clink because he doesn’t like your face.

      This is a motte position in the motte-and-bailey doctrine of equality. Basically it says that irrelevant facts should be ignored when rendering an authoritative judgment.

      Of course it is basically tautological that irrelevant facts should be ignored when rendering an authoritative judgment. This is a trite, obvious truism. Once we’ve stated the obvious it really doesn’t need to come up again, let alone should it become a cherished political ideal.

      But liberal equality is a cherished political ideal, and human beings don’t like their cherished ideals to be trite and obvious truisms. So the motte concepts of freedom and equality inevitably escape from Pandora’s Locke Box and wreak their incoherent havoc.

  20. It is often said that there is spiritual equality in Christianity –God loves all people equally, and all men are created equal”–in contrast with spiritual inequality elsewhere e.g. Hinduism with Brahmans and untouchables.
    But is this view correct? It can be maintained that there is far more spiritual inequality in Christianity than in Hinduism. Someone born in a Christian or Catholic home is born blessed with prayers and protection of saints. That is not so in case of someone born a non-Christian,

    Also, some are born elect and rest non-elect and how can they be equal in spiritual sense?
    In contrast, Hindus have spiritual equality in the sense that a Brahman can well be born an untouchable in the next birth and vice-versa. There is no lasting or eternal inequality.

    • I’ve said many times that Christianity is a Supremacist doctrine. Its universal truth being the anti-egalitarian hierarchy made manifest by The Perfect Man as empirical fact.

    • As stated in the post, much that is said about equality in Christianity is bunk. Not all of it, but much. The Old Testament is very largely a story of God’s favorites, and predestination has been taught by many respectable Christian thinkers. Inhabitants of the Christian Heaven and Hell are as unequal as it is possible to be, and that forever and ever.

      I think we could say that equality is not a Christian virtue. What throws people off is Christian repudiation of worldly status. No one is born into a privileged class of Christians, and the pauper has as good (indeed a better) chance of salvation as a king.

      • That’s why Christ came – to correct the Father’s O.T. mistakes and make everybody equal. You didn’t know that? Where ya been?

        The biggest complaint liberals have against Christianity is its exclusivism. The only way to reconcile the two (Christianity and Liberalism) is to improve on God’s flawed design and bring Christianity up with the times. C’mon, man!

  21. (New Orthosphere reader here. I’ve spent a good part of my day reading archives. Lots of great quality and take-off points for further reading.)

    One particular passage in this post caught my attention, that the Alt-Right is a “negative identity whose members are defined by what they are not, rather than by a common creed with definite positive articles of faith.”

    I’ve spent some time in the new social media platform “Gab,” which has been described by the large majority of the media as “Twitter + Reddit for the Alt-Right” or even “Twitter for racists.” Without veering too far off track, I can only add that these descriptions may not match the overall purpose or goal or Gab as stated by its founder, but in reality, the large majority of the content is the Alt-Right in various forms (including posts categorized as Entertainment and Sports).

    Your comment caught my attention simply because it perfectly describes the content on Gab: a smorgasbord (or “hot-dish” as they call it here in Minnesota (still perplexing to this Texan)) of themes familiar to most of your readers, such as the ills, follies, and moral shorcomings of HRC & Co. Most posts that I read do not discuss why Trump is or will be successful or a supposed revival or awakening of an Alt-Right movement or spirit. Instead, Gab is by and large a continual beating of the stated villains and attempted exposes of their supposed unceasing underground criminality. The only positive statements addressing “What is the Alt-Right” are occasional directions to “go read Moldbug” or the “16 Points of the Alt-Right.”

    Until the site develops its content a bit more, it’s not a site I rush to, but overall, I’m not a big social media user by any standard.

    Just my 2 cents. Glad to be here.

    (Long Live the Oxford Comma)

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