According to Alt-Right blogger Vox Day:
"The Alt Right believes Western civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its three foundational pillars: Christianity, the European nations, and the Graeco-Roman legacy."
If this is the Alternative Right, what then would be the Alternative Left?
The Alt Left believes Enlightenment civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its own foundational pillars. Of these, the first is reason and rationality, the second is individual liberty and the third is the enlightenment era philosophical tradition.
This promises no panacea, and often results in tension between competing ideals of the good. The libertarian/individualist traditions and the egalitarian/collectivist traditions - think Adam Smith vs. Karl Marx for example, are often at odds with one another. But common to both in the end is a commitment to a rationalistic world view and a belief in concepts such as scientific and social progress, however imperfectly these are often expressed or implemented.
We are skeptical of religions as dogmatic systems and romanticism (in its original meaning) and are likewise skeptical of deterministic and closed systems of "rationalist" thought such as Marxism and Randian objectivism - though ideas may be taken from both if warranted. The labels of reason and rationality cannot be applied to closed and non falsifiable systems of thought, and individual liberty is not upheld by anyone who would demand the sacrifice of human well being to a dogmatic insistence on either market or plan.
It would be easy and correct to respond that man does not live by reason alone. Fundamental to man's nature is the need for meaning and purpose which often find themselves expressed in the forms of religion, identity, artistry, creativity and mythology. It is because of and not in spite of these needs that enlightenment civilization must be upheld. The absence of liberty and reason in theocratic and fascistic spaces testify to this. It is for the sake of poetry and spirituality, of philosophy and the arts that the foundations of society should be reason, liberty and enlightenment philosophies. It is not the case that the alt-left eschews questions of identity and spirituality in favor of a narrowly economic and rationalistic conception of man. Rather that a rationalistic and free social order is an essential foundation for man to satisfy his spiritual and philosophical yearnings.
There are those who assert that the enlightenment has failed, and advance a "dark enlightenment" calling for a return to tradition, religion and monarchy. This is fundamentally misguided in that the neo-reactionary critique accurately targets not modernism, but postmodernism - or at least the bastardized implementation thereof, and its own neoreaction is really just a different version of the same thing: the replacement of reason, liberty and philosophy with identitarian subjectivism, tribalism and fanaticism.
To these ends, it is clear that the majority of the self described Alt-Left adheres, above all, to the disentangling of romanticism from leftist thought, and it is this that satisfies our definition of both alternative and left wing. To this end:
· We favor the redressement of the extremes of economic inequality and corporate power, not the quasi-religious glorification of revolution for its own sake.
· We favor equality of right and - ideally - opportunity for women and people of color, not the quasi religious glorification of the foreign and the feminine.
· We favor conservationism and environmental sustainability, not the quasi religious glorification of “Mother Earth” or back-to-the-land utopianism.
· An approach to reform that emphasises implementable policy, not some or another kind of change of consciousness.
Vox Day would see the unseating of a democratic polity marked – in the words of conservative luminary Russell Kirk - by division between “all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal” in favor of a polity marked by division between “men and women who believe that they are ultimately defined by their momentary opinions and those who believe they are ultimately defined by their genetic heritage.”
It should be apparent to any reasonable person that this is the forcing of a choice of evils by means of a false dilemma, and one not marked by greatly different choices in any event. Ultimately, would not a “genetic heritage” be every bit as binding and deterministic in the long run as an “enduring moral order in the universe” and a “constant human nature” if not more so?
The neo-reactionaries have observed the morass that the postmodern regressive left has inflicted on western civilization via its capture of academia and mass media, and advance in defiance to it merely a belief in either ethnic or racial nationalism, or a belief in a reassertion of religious traditionalism or fundamentalism. Utterly absent is any rational analysis of either the institutional structure of the organs that propagate culture in the west, the philosophical underpinnings of regressive left thought nor the strategies employed by the regressive left to gain the influence that it has gained. Meme warfare - essentially online culture jamming - is child’s play compared to hegemony at the governance level of the very internet platforms whereon the memes are hosted and spread.
Due to their mutual faith in identity above all, the failure of both the reactionary right and the regressive left alike should be a foregone conclusion. But that failure threatens to be very costly, and presents a fundamental threat to the western tradition that neoreaction so claims to cherish and want to uphold but simultaneously undermines, and that the regressive left claims to despise and wish to supplant but simultaneously depends on.
Erroneous philosophical foundations will not produce polities that last. The extent to which western civilization has declined is quite proportionate to the extent to which its academics and professors extol their “genetic heritage” in preference to their responsibility to understand art, science and philosophy in any sort of nuanced and sophisticated way. One look at a black studies or a women’s studies department makes that perfectly clear, and a white male version of the same thing will only hasten this decline.
The great demarcation in modern politics is between men and women who uphold a humanistic vision of reason, liberty and philosophy, and those who uphold a tribalist vision of fanaticism, authoritarianism and dogma. In the later camp, it does not fundamentally matter if one’s loyalty is to the white race or the black, heteronormative machismo or radical feminism, the Christian Church, Islamic Sharia or state Atheism, libertarian capitalism or socialist planning. When tribe, dogma or ideology supersede humanity, reason and philosophy, the end is always a bloodbath and the beginning is denial that we have a choice between the first three and the second three options.