Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Alt Right Is Not All Right

Denyse O'Leary writing at Mercator Net notes that the media has become fixated during this election season on a group calling itself the alt right (alternative right) and points out an interesting fact about their views. The alt right is comprised of white supremacists and those who practice sundry other bigotries and they've placed some in the liberal media, O'Leary argues, in a bit of a bind.

The difficulty is that those who call themselves alt right rely for their racist rationalizations upon Darwinian assumptions about human evolution. The conundrum for the liberals is figuring out how to criticize the racism without criticizing the Darwinism which undergirds it.

After explaining who the few dozen adherents of the alt right are, and arguing that it's at most a fringe movement, she goes on to explain its connection to Darwinism:
Alt right figure Frank Hilliard, writing at movement journal Counter-Currents, states that, “The Alternative Right Belongs to the Darwinians”:
It’s because, as Darwinians, we think the nation should exist as a gene pool, since we come from a European background, a European gene pool. We think the same argument should apply to other ethnic and racial groups. Thus, we support the Kurds in their demand for a country of their own. We support Israel as a land for the Jews, Japan as a land for the Japanese, Congo for the Congolese, and so on. Each race/ethnic group is like an extended family for the people in it, and this large extended family should have a home of its own.

If that sounds vaguely like different species of animals having different ecological niches, well yes, it’s more or less the same idea.
One of the libels being flung around by the media is that Christians are drawn to the alt right, but this is a witless libel. The ideas of human equality and the imago dei are Christian concepts that preclude any serious Christian from aligning with any supremacist movement, whether white or black. Those concepts form the intellectual springboard for the modern rejection of racism, but, crucially, they're unsupportable given the naturalistic worldview of which Darwinism is one of the chief buttresses. Not only was Darwin himself a white supremacist, but on Darwinian naturalism, there's no moral basis even for saying racism is morally wrong.

Moreover, many Christians are one or another sort of creationist, and creationists are going to view any attitude or behavior that finds its justification in Darwinism with intense suspicion. Thus, O'Leary writes:
Clearly, few American Christians — or middle Americans generally — identify with the alt right. But mainstream media suspect they do. Coming to terms with defeat [in the past election], they will continue to react by lumping creationist Christians who oppose mandatory unisex washrooms with Darwinian racists as an "alt right" menace.

[So] how should we respond to the use of the term “alt right” in a way that implies that all social conservatives (or suspected Trump voters) are racists? We might begin by asking what, exactly, the speaker understands the term to mean. If it is used as the alt right proponents themselves use it, then anyone who is not committed to Darwinian survival of the fittest cannot be alt right. For example, no creationist of any kind could be alt right.
Darwinists have long argued vehemently that it's a perversion of their theory to attach racist implications to it, yet Darwin himself was clearly a racist. He wrote this in the Descent of Man in 1874:
At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Professor Schaaffhausen has remarked will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilised state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian [aborigine] and the gorilla. (p.178)
If the alt right is comprised of people who wish to take Darwin to his logical conclusion to justify their racism, how do his philosophical acolytes in the media criticize them without criticizing Darwin and Darwinism? It's an awkward position they find themselves in to be sure.