I was wondering what you make of this niche internet group known as the “Alt-right”. There was an interesting little exchange between Jonah Goldberg and people some twitter users after he wrote an article about how a conservative movement that includes Donald Trump isn’t conservative at all. Matt Yglesias wrote an informative piece on the whole thing http://www.vox.com/2015/9/8/9276719/nrorevolt-cuckservatives
with the understanding that most of Yglesias stuff should be taken with a grain of salt, I was wondering if you could shed some light on this phenomenon. Are the people known as the “alt-right” on the internet right now just another manifestation of some older forms of conservatism.
I do not know a whole lot about the alt-right people, although I’ve met a few and spent a little time on their websites. As far as I can tell, the big issue for them is white nationalism, part of which involves an appreciation for traditional elements of European culture. So they share some ideas with traditional conservatism, but they use a vocabulary that strikes me as being foreign to it a lot of the time. For one thing, the alt-right people I’ve read have no sympathy toward Christianity; they’re either atheists, agnostics, or neo-pagans.
You could say that today’s white nationalism has antecedents in the Anglo-American nationalism of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which was really an ideology of empire. (I talk about this a little in the course.) Today’s white nationalism, by contrast, is motivated more by fear of displacement, so there’s a different tone to it.
I hope this is at least a partial answer to your question!