There’s been discuss and debate on these pages about the meaning of “alt-right.” The actual meaning of this term was made clear to me when a member of the Progressive Left called Mike Rowe a “white nationalist.” I realized what “white nationalist” and its cousins “alt-right,” “white supremacist” and “Nazi” mean in contemporary parlance.
They mean nothing. They signify that a Progressive leftist hates you, but the words themselves have no intrinsic meaning. Leftists argue at the level of schoolchildren on a playground. Namecalling is their primary technique, and when a leftist (a word with a defined meaning) calls someone a “white nationalist” or “Nazi” it means no more than a six-year-old calling a grown-up a “poopyhead.”
And yet, their childish name-calling is curiously effective. It immediately compels most Republicans and conservatives to insist “I am not an alt-right nationalist.” They may as well be proclaiming “I am not a poopyhead” for all its worth. Worse, they think the way to prove they’re not a “poopyhead” is to concede some ground to the person calling them a poopyhead. (“And I strongly denounce poopyheads and their divisive culture of hate.”)
I don’t really get this reaction. “Oh, no! Someone who despises me, hates everything I value, and is utterly incapable of intelligent debate just called me a name. I must immediately deny that I am this name she called me and prove that I am not by conceding some of my beliefs in favor of hers.”
When a child throws a tantrum in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart, nobody wins by conceding to the tantrum. The mother can buy temporary piece by purchasing the colorful piece of formed plastic that the child demands, but that only teaches the child that tantrums are effective. The mother can walk out of the store dragging the screaming brat behind her, but not if she is afraid that the other people of Wal-Mart will think her cruel.
It’s a waste of time debating who’s a “white nationalist” or what is meant by “alt-right.” Those are just the left’s current epithets of choice. Any response other than, “Yeah, whatever you say, idiot with a bad dye-job” is wasted energy.