Politics & Policy

The Corner

Alts

In Impromptus today, I touch on a number of issues, starting with two Hollywood legends — Charlton Heston and Clint Eastwood — and their relation to the gun debate. Then I talk about Trump ’n’ Chuck ’n’ Nancy. And on it goes.

I’d like to touch on another issue here in the Corner. For about two years, we’ve been reading about — and hearing from — the alt-Right. During the Republican convention last year, Steve Bannon declared of his outlet, Breitbart, “We’re the platform for the alt-Right.”

I think this is a particularly appropriate name. The alt-Right is an alternative Right, yes — an alternative to the conservatism of Reagan, Buckley, and their like. But, by happy coincidence, “alt” also means “old,” in German: and the alt-Right is an old Right, a classic Right, if you will, rooted in Europe and having little to do with Reagan & Co.

Which brings me to the AfD — the Alternative für Deutschland. This German political party is an alt-Right indeed. They are both an alternative Right and an old Right. And they are rising, as this Associated Press report details.

Let me quote just a few paragraphs:

Nico Siegel, head of the infratest dimap polling agency, said more than half of people who vote for AfD say they did so out of dissatisfaction with other parties, drawing votes from all the others.

“The AfD is like a vacuum cleaner for those unsatisfied with the other parties,” he said.

Like populist politicians elsewhere, AfD portrays itself as the lone voice of the people and all others, from mainstream politicians to journalists, as enemies or even traitors. It also enjoys good ties with Moscow.

Oh, yes — very good ties. Don’t they all? I’m especially struck by the remark of Nico Siegel: “The AfD is like a vacuum cleaner for those unsatisfied with the other parties.” And I think of a point that David Pryce-Jones, among others, made eons ago: If the mainstream parties won’t deal with important issues such as immigration and national identity, they will leave the door open to fascism, which people will turn to out of frustration.

The AfD is not about to take over Germany. But it seems they are set to scare the mainstream parties. May those parties be scared straight, to use a phrase from old drug-war days.

P.S. Do you remember what the original name of The American Spectator was? “The Alternative.” Now, that’s my kind of alt!

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