Can you be a Christian and Alt-Right?
That’s a question the TRS guys were debating the other day. It comes up a lot, mostly because the leading lights in dissident politics are not religious. Some appear to be outright atheists, even if they don’t make a big deal out of it. Of the old guys, I can’t think of any who are Evangelical. Most were Protestants, but have long ago drifted from their churches. I don’t think any of the next generation are religious. Some grew up going to church, but abandoned it as soon as they left home.
The thing with the Gen X and Millennial leaders of the alt-right is most of them are disinterested in religion and its role in human society. It’s not something that occupies space in their mental framework. Just because the leadership and intellectual elements of the alt-right are non-religious, it does not necessarily follow that the alt-right is hostile to the religious. They spent their youth marinating in Progressive dogma and as a result, they see culture through a secular lens, rather than a spiritual one.
There’s a lot more to this so there will be many more posts on the topic, but a good point of entry is the simple question at the start of the post. The alt-right makes race the primary identity. Christians, and I’m thinking primarily of non-denominational Christians, place their relationship with Jesus Christ as their primary identity. That’s an obvious conflict, as nothing in Scripture backs the primary arguments of the alt-right. Even the most expansive reading of Scripture cannot arrive at a pro-white position.
There’s also the fact that many Christians are fanatical supporters of Israel. They have incorporated unconditional support for the state of Israel with their Christian identity. That often extends to Jews in the United states. For many Christians, antisemitism is the worst sin imaginable. That’s an obvious problem with the alt-right. Then there is the egalitarianism that many Christians have internalized as part of their relationship with Jesus Christ. They believe they are called to treat all men as children of God.
None of this is necessarily a deal breaker for Christians and the alt-right, but it creates some rather obvious complications. What it means is the alt-right is going to have to get better at understanding how to talk to and appeal to this type of Christian. Simply making the pro-white argument is not going to have much appeal to people who root their identity in something that transcends race. The alt-right, if it is going to make inroads into the Christian community, is going to have figure out how to engage these folks on their terms.
What about Patriotism?
Strangely, the alt-right may have an easier time engaging with Christians, than the hard core Civic Nationalists. Christians have been oppressed in American for generations and they have learned the hard way that they cannot vote themselves to freedom. That’s not the case with Civic Nationalists. The narcotic of patriotism keeps them forever optimistic that one more election and the nation will return to the 1950’s, except with a lot more brown people, who magically embrace white middle-class sensibilities.
As with Christians, the folks listening to Glenn Beck or Ben Shapiro, as they drive around suburbia, root their identity in something that transcends race and ethnicity. Civic nationalism is a religion and a primary identity. They are Americans, no hyphen. More important, these people look at things like taxes and regulation as primary markers of fidelity to their civic religion. To them, guys like Richard Spencer sound like communists, because he doesn’t seem to care all that much about tax cuts or regulatory reform.
The thing is, the patriotic normie is sure he is working from facts and reason when investing all of his energy into the current political arrangements. In reality, gentry conservatism and libertarianism are a different implementation of the Progressive moral frame work. The ends are different, but the assumptions are the same. You don’t talk people out of their moral sensibilities with facts and reason. In order to sway patriotic normies, the alt-right is going to have to appeal to them in moral terms.
Most of the alt-right seems to think this is a self-resolving problem. Mass immigration and the war on white people will beat the patriotism out of these people. They will inevitably come to accept identity politics. Maybe, but it would be preferable to win over these people before America becomes Brazil. At that point it may not matter. The alt-right is going to have to think about how to offer something to these folks that rivals the narcotic power of flag waving patriotism. That means constructive engagement, rather than mockery.
These are just two facets to a very big topic. Racial politics in America has always been about the two sides of white America debating how to best deal with the blacks. That’s made identity politics two dimensional. In order to move past that, it means creating an alternative moral framework. That cannot be conjured from thin air. It must happen in relation to and in reaction to the current claims on the identity of whites. The alt-right will have to be reconciled with religion and patriotism, or it will fail.