If the Alt-Right Didn't Exist, the Left Would Invent It
I'm supposed to be clued in to the political scene -- at least I write a column -- but you'll have to excuse me if I'm a little confused about what this animal they call the alt-right actually is... or if it even exists to any significant degree.
So, apparently, is Donald Trump, but not Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times, who appears convinced the alt-right is a force to be reckoned with and possibly about to take over America in concert with neo-Nazis and under the winking eye of the nefarious Trump.
Here, courtesy of Gateway Pundit, is a transcript of the November 22 conversation between the two men at the NYT's offices, interrupted by "UNKNOWN," evidently a Times reporter or editor, and soon-to-be Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus.
I apologize for quoting at such length, but just as Sigmund Freud wrote The Psychopathology of Everyday Lives what we may be witnessing here is The Psychopathology of Everyday PROGRESSIVE Lives.
DEAN BAQUET: As you describe it, you did do something really remarkable. You energized a lot of people in the country who really wanted change in Washington. But along with that — and this is going to create a tricky thing for you — you also energized presumably a smaller number of people who were evidenced at the alt-right convention in Washington this weekend. Who have a very …
TRUMP: I just saw that today.
BAQUET: So, I’d love to hear you talk about how you’re going to manage that group of people who actually may not be the larger group but who have an expectation for you and are angry about the country and its — along racial lines. My first question is, do you feel like you said things that energized them in particular, and how are you going to manage that?
(Sorry to interrupt, but "may not be the larger group" is probably the understatement of the year. How about "minuscule" in a country of 320 million, tens of millions of whom voted for Trump? More people are currently on line for pizza at Ray's than attended that neo-Nazi meeting.)
TRUMP: I don’t think so, Dean. First of all, I don’t want to energize the group. I’m not looking to energize them. I don’t want to energize the group, and I disavow the group. They, again, I don’t know if it’s reporting or whatever. I don’t know where they were four years ago, and where they were for Romney and McCain and all of the other people that ran, so I just don’t know, I had nothing to compare it to.
But it’s not a group I want to energize, and if they are energized I want to look into it and find out why.
What we do want to do is we want to bring the country together, because the country is very, very divided, and that’s one thing I did see, big league. It’s very, very divided, and I’m going to work very hard to bring the country together…..
…UNKNOWN: Mr. President-elect, I wanted to ask you, there was a conference this past weekend in Washington of people who pledged their allegiance to Nazism.
TRUMP: Boy, you are really into this stuff, huh?
PRIEBUS: I think we answered that one right off the bat.
UNKNOWN: Are you going to condemn them?
TRUMP: Of course I did, of course I did.
PRIEBUS: He already did.
UNKNOWN: Are you going to do it right now?
TRUMP: Oh, I see, maybe you weren’t here. Sure. Would you like me to do it here? I’ll do it here. Of course I condemn. I disavow and condemn.
Psychopathology anyone? Just who is "UNKOWN," I would like to know, because that person has a cognitive disorder. It's pretty easy to see where it came from too -- a desperate need to believe something is wrong, even evil, with the person who defeated you, augmented by a similarly desperate desire to trap him and make him look bad.
To go as afar as "UNKNOWN," not to hear what had just been said or to willfully mishear it, reveals more than normal cognitive issues. It unmasks a weltanschauung that contains within it a modicum of the evil it sees in others, because it so rife with projection. Does this person actually think that Donald Trump has sympathy for neo-Nazis? What is going on in his or her psyche?
Similarly the attacks on Steve Bannon continue unremitting, Bannon still being accused of anti-Semitism, a charge so ludicrous to those of us who know him it veers toward the psychotic. (He would be the first anti-Semite to lead a philo-Semitic website. Go figure.)
So what's going on here?
Anti-Semitism is as old as the Judean Hills. Has there been a rise then in the USA in this, one of the world's oldest forms of bigotry?
Yes to some degree, but largely, speaking of projection, from the left. One has to do no more than examine the pervasive anti-Semitism via the BDS movement and the overt discrimination, sometimes even violence, against Jewish students (their reluctance even to wear yarmulkes on campus) all over the University of California system and similar institutions to see it. The left has done nothing about this. Basically, they have ignored it because it does not fit their sclerotic multiculturalist narrative.
Fortunately, the alt-right -- or what they claim to be the alt-right -- came along to save what was left of the left's self-image. The worst excesses of this alt-right (a tiny group to begin with, to a great extent contentious with each other, so it's difficult to determine a consensus of what their views are) were emphasized and highlighted in the press, scattered instances of swastika graffiti reported with no attempt to discern whether they were the work of real neo-Nazis or of provocateurs. (Anyone who knows the history of intelligence agencies knows the odds favor the provocateurs.)
So, in my view, the alt-right is largely an invention of the left -- well, if not an invention, a device utilized and increased in importance by the left to benefits the left's need for self-righteousness and self-preservation. The vast majority of conservatives or libertarians want nothing to do with it, certainly with that even smaller--yes, minuscule--portion of the yclept alt-right that exhibits anti-Semitism or any kind of racism or bigotry.
We leave it to the New York Times to sponsor this tiny group. They are the Times' creature. Perhaps the paper should stage a benefit for them. Free food might expand their ranks.
Roger L. Simon has an Academy Award nominations for adapting Enemies, A Love Story, Isaac Bashevis Singer's novel about the Holocaust.