LOS ANGELES — The recent display of racial tensions in Charlottesville awakened many Americans to the potential dangers posed by the alt-right and white supremacists in the United States. But how real are those dangers? In PragerU’s newest video, What Is the Alt-Right?, Michael Knowles, bestselling author, actor, and host of The Michael Knowles Show, took a deep dive into understanding the culture of white nationalist groups, their literature and leadership. His findings? The alt-right has far more in common with the left than with conservatives.
Knowles begins by establishing the true size of the alt-right’s influence. The movement is notably small, with their event in Charlottesville attracting only 600 people, even though they billed it as a massive gathering that would attract people from across the country. And what about the infamous “torch rally?” Despite exhaustive media coverage of the event, video evidence indicates that only about 100 people took part.
At its core, the alt-right is an alternative to American conservatism and according to Knowles has the most in common with the other major alternative to conservatism – the Left.
Knowles explains that both the alt-right and the left’s first similarity is that both are obsessed with race and identity politics. While the left wants special status for racial and ethnic minorities, the alt-right wants special status for the racial and ethnic majority.
The alt-right believes America should solely belong to white Europeans because Europeans originally founded and built the United States. They view America’s success as a product of European “blood and soil,” and reject the Founding Father’s vision that “all men are created equal” as naïve.
Richard Spencer, the de facto leader of the alt-right is a white nationalist who runs AlternativeRight.com and the National Policy Institute. In Spencer’s words, the alt-right movement is “dedicated to the heritage, identity, and future of people of European descent in the United States.”
Jared Taylor, the editor of the white identity website American Renaissance, believes in the need for racial distinction because “any attempt to create a society in which race can be made not to matter will fail.”
Other leaders of the alt-right include Sam Francis, Theodore Beale and Paul Ramsey—all white nationalists who publish writings promoting white supremacy and identity politics.
Along with their obsession with race, the alt-right and the left also share a mutual rejection of God. The alt-right particularly rejects the Christian belief in salvation for all people, regardless of their race. Spencer is an avid atheist and, similar to Karl Marx, longs for an ideology “as robust and binding” as Christianity to replace traditional religion.
Finally, both the alt-right and the left have a disdain for the individual. Their belief is directly opposed to traditional, conservative American values which place the individual at the center of society.
“The pioneer spirit, the entrepreneurial drive, the acceptance of personal responsibility…these are uniquely American ideas, uniquely conservative ideas,” says Knowles. Ideas “which mean little or nothing to the alternatives to conservatism, the left and the alt-right.”
“In other words, the alt-right has nothing in common with conservatism, and is in fact much closer to the left. Except, of course, that the left is much, much larger.”
MEDIA NOTE: PragerU contributor, Michael Knowles, is available for interview, as is PragerU’s Founder, Dennis Prager and CEO, Marissa Streit. Please contact: MediaInquiries@theKcompany.co
PragerU, founded by Dennis Prager in 2011, is a not-for-profit organization that helps millions understand the values that shaped America and provides millions of Americans and people around the world with the intellectual ammunition they need to advocate for limited government, individual responsibility and economic freedom. In 2016 alone, PragerU’s videos received over 250 million views, a figure that will eclipse 350 million in 2017. PragerU is a resource for all who value liberty. It is a threat to all those who do not.