Monday, December 5, 2016

"Alt-Right", a Euphemism for "Neo-Nazi"

The title of this article represents my opinion though a thorough reading of magazine and newspaper articles written before and after Donald Trump’s election to the Presidency of the United States strongly substantiates my opinion. The term “Alt-Right” was first stated 8 years ago as the “alternative right” by Paul Gottfried in an address to the H. L. Mencken Club.1 An article written six months before the election suggests that members of the Alt-Right view themselves as jokesters.4 However, the current version “Alt-Right” appears to have been put into general use by Richard Spencer of The National Policy Institute, a White Supremacist organization. Mr. Spencer calls for ‘”peaceful ethnic cleansing” and wishes for a “new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans.”2 He also views Donald Trump’s victory as a crude first step toward that goal suggesting anything but a joke.

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s Chief Strategist, and former Executive Chair of Breitbart News the far right Website that publishes xenophobic, misogynistic, racist, anti-Semitic and sexist material is clearly aligned with the values of the alternative right. In “Trolls for Trump,” Andrew Marantz, states the following about the term “Alt-Right” and Donald Trump

The term [Alt-Right] typically applies to conservatives and reactionaries who are active on the Internet and too anti-establishment to feel at home in the Republican Party. Bizarrely, this category includes the Republican nominee for President.5

While current newspaper and magazine articles indicate the close association of the Alt-Right with Donald Trump, the authors hesitate to identify this loose group of Internet hipsters as Neo-Nazis. Why? A close reading of the articles as a group, ‘articles about Donald Trump and the Alt-Right,’ allows the designation, White Supremacist and Neo-Nazi.


1. Gottfried, Paul, “The Decline and Rise of the Alternative Right,” The Unz Review at Published November 21-22, 2008. Viewed 9:32 PM EST, Saturday, December 3, 2016. In the same article, Mr. Graham writes that Richard Spencer identifies Donald Trump’s victory (again I am paraphrasing) as a crude first step toward the above goal.

2. Graham, Chris, “Nazi salutes and white supremacism: Who is Richard Spencer, the ‘racist academic’ behind the ‘Alt right’ movement,” in The Telegraph, Published November 22, 2016, viewed 8:47 EST, Saturday, December 3, 2016. The article in the UK paper makes no bones about the Alt-Right, identifying Spencer as “the leader of the Alt-right” and that movement with White Supremacism.

3. McAfee, Tierney, “What is the Alt-Right Anyway? A User’s Guide,” People Magazine, 3:45 PM, EDT, August 25, 2016, Viewed 8:14 PM EST, December 3, 2016.

4. Wallace-Wells, Benjamin. “Is the Alt-Right For Real?” The New Yorker. Published May 6, 2016, Viewed 8:22 PM EST, Saturday, December 3, 2016. The article refers to the Alt-Right as a (and I’m paraphrasing) loose group of fringe elements [including Richard Spencer’s group of White Supremacists, The National Policy Institute] that have little to do with the general population of republicans. The same article refers to the group’s performance as a “joke.”

5. Marantz, Andrew, “Trolls for Trump,” in The New Yorker, on line at Published October 31, 2016, viewed 9:12 PM EST, Saturday, December 3, 2016. The article identifies the Alt-Right as a category, not a particular group, but includes Donald Trump as part of the Alt-Right.


  1. There is a good discussion of use of the term "Alt-Right" at Talk2Action.

    You may remember that Paul Gottfried was a columnist for some years for the Lancaster News. I always felt slightly sick to my stomach when his by-line appeared. His H. L. Mencken Club (which has virtually nothing to do with the author) is the only hate group listed by the SPLC as located in Lancaster County.