News & Politics

Is the Alt-Right Borrowing Jihadist Propaganda Techniques?

For Dennis Michael Lynch, immigration stands as the greatest issue of our time. Nothing is more important. That is why he produced the documentary film They Come to America and its sequels. It’s also why Lynch became an early adopter of Donald Trump’s presidential bid.

Unfortunately, whatever legitimate concerns may inform Lynch’s immigration stance, the issue has now been tied inexorably to a fringe group of racialists known as the alt-right. Hillary Clinton addressed the movement directly in a recent campaign speech, noting that newly appointed Trump campaign CEO Stephen Bannon has turned Breitbart News into a bastion for the group’s vile worldview.

This presented folks like Lynch with a golden opportunity to distance themselves from the alt-right and offer a clear distinction between white nationalist racialism and legitimate immigration concerns. Rather than do that, Lynch posted a video to YouTube on Monday which sought to defend the alt-right. Using the term “we,” and thus including himself within the movement’s ranks, Lynch purported to explain what the alt-right believes.

Those people of the alt-right believe that all lives matter and that, when a cop says “freeze,” you stop in your tracks. You don’t keep moving…

Those of us on the alt-right, we believe in giving every baby a chance to live. And that’s why we’ll always push adoption before we accept abortion…

Those of us on the alt-right, we believe that veterans are heroes, not numbers on a profit and loss sheet…

If you’re a member of the alt-right, you believe that no American should ever be left to die, especially when in Benghazi…

It goes on like that. The problem is, the list of beliefs Lynch offers wholly ignores the racial focus of the alt-right and portrays the movement as effectively no different than mainstream conservatism.

This should be a huge red flag for observers. If Lynch’s video were your only exposure to the alt-right, you would recognize it as essentially what conservatives have been preaching for years. But then, what’s the “alt” for? If the alt-right were really about abortion and Benghazi, there would be nothing “alternative” about it.

When you look past Lynch to other higher-quality sources, you get a very different picture of what the alt-right is. Let’s just look at one, Richard Spencer. He’s the man who coined the term “alt-right.” He runs a think tank called the National Policy Institute which stands as the intellectual core of the alt-right. He runs an online journal called Radix which is considered the authoritative publication of the alt-right. As sources go, this is a pretty damn good one. Spencer tells us that the alt-right is something different than, or at least significantly more than, what Lynch describes. He says it’s about white racial identity and the abolishment of the Enlightenment values upon which America was founded. Lynch wholly excludes that from his video. Yet that stands as the essential core of the what the alt-right is.

What’s going on here? Is Lynch speaking in ignorance? Is his video a gut reaction to Hillary’s alt-right speech? Is he trying to defend a movement that he doesn’t truly understand? Or is there something more sinister at play?

One of the chief rationales for immigration concerns centers around Islam and the pursuit of Jihad against the West. Those familiar with radical Islamic doctrine understand that deception is utilized as part of Jihad to sow confusion among the infidel. It seems as though Dennis Michael Lynch has adopted a similar strategy here. He acts as the Council on American Islamic Relations to Richard Spencer’s fatwah-issuing imam. CAIR’s job is to put a positive spin on things, to sell you on how harmless and even respectable the Islamic operation is. The imam tells you the real story. That’s what we have here. Lynch is engaged in propaganda, serving the dual purpose of both sowing confusion among enemies of the alt-right and making a soft pitch at recruitment. He wants you to identify with the alt-right. Once you identify with it, you will start to defend it.