I was listening to the ZMan’s Friday Podcast today. In one segment he raised the question whether people like Jordan Peterson helped or hurt the right-wing cause. Peterson is a psychologist academic who is battling the politically correct behavior codes in Canada’s universities (and other areas of life). He is a civic nationalist who does not espouse any ethnic nationalist leanings and in fact specifically rejects any white nationalism as the flip side of the identity politics on the left that he rejects. ZMan concluded that for the most part the civic nationalists were a detriment. This he said was because they tended to position themselves barely to the right of leftists. And moreover, they were programmed to lose every fight. Their only function was to register each new veer to the left with an ineffectual protest. This response was their only function (other than being paid).
I found this interesting from a few different angles. First off did I agree with this analysis? Secondly was I in the same compromised position? Was I my own enemy?!!!
I’ll address this question first. I think the answer is no for two reasons. First and most importantly, I haven’t changed my opinions over time to keep up with the changing societal position. My moral and social point of view hasn’t shifted to the left, over time. If anything, it has moved to the right. For that reason, I am safe from the charge of being a right guard of the left wing. The question of mercenary status is easily answered by my lack of any site monetization. Check and check.
So back to the first question, do I agree with his evaluation? I do agree that there are lots of shills. There seem to be a number of guys doing their act to collect pennies. This actually doesn’t bother me. We all have to make a living. But what is more important is the claim that these guys are just barely staying to the right edge of the leftists and that they maintain this position by constantly shifting leftward over time. Well, I don’t know. Some of these guys are not so much moving left as much as they started in the center and seem to be gravitating rightward bit by bit as the Trump train rolls along. In that case, I guess I give them the benefit of the doubt. The folks the ZMan seems to be describing are the never-Trumpers. This includes guys like Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol and Kevin Williamson. These were folks who were willing to embrace Hillary Clinton rather than deal with Donald Trump. To me that’s the kind of position that precludes being an actual conservative. At least with Trump you had some chance of saving the country. But are there any never-Trumpers in the Alt-Lite? If anyone knows any let me know. I’d like to look them up and see if the ZMan had this thing right or not.
So conditionally, I’m gonna say that the Alt-Lite ranges from neutral to helpful. Some of them are moving along to a useful supportive position that reinforces the appeal of the movement to include some of the slow-moving center. And the worst are just parasites feeding off attention in the wake of the Trump Train. And even that isn’t such a bad thing from my point of view since I’m even enjoying my piece of that action too. After all Trump is now the greatest show on earth and what would the circus be without the vendors selling the popcorn, the program notes and souvenirs?