Analysis of an Analysis of the Alt-Right

There's a lot packed into this WaPo article which purports to analyze changes in the alt-right community over the last 9 months. The method of analysis, relying on new machine-assisted text analysis techniques, and the conclusions from that are interesting, and the article suggests a method for "de-radicalizing" people in the alt-right. How to change minds is a big question, and their suggestions seem good in general (not just for changing the alt-right), if difficult to accomplish.

On the other hand, the definitions and assumptions given by the author tell us a lot about the team that did the analysis. I wonder if we don't learn more about them than the alt-right.

We also find out that Facebook, Twitter, Google, the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, and ExitUSA have been working together to change minds within the alt-right. That's a bit creepy.

I don't have time to get into it right now, but if anyone cares to read it, I'll be back to discuss this evening.


Anonymous said...

I honestly wonder if the alt-right really matter, or honestly the campus lefties either. Most of the time it seems they are as loud as they are ineffectual.

Tom said...

The recent focus on the alt-right could well be just another tactic to scare people away from Trump. If Hillary wins, we may not hear much about them after the election.

However, the lefty student campus movements seem to be a persistent phenomenon, and they are getting changes made at universities. I tend to think they're more than just part of the campaign season.

BLM, on the other hand, may be astroturf just for this election season.

Grim said...

They're making what seems to me to be a serious error by roping this community in with "violent extremists." That's what they've elected to call ISIS and similar groups. The idea, and it's a bad idea, is that you can dispose of any worry about just what is radicalizing people, and treat radicalization itself as a problem. Thus, the talk about a deradicalization strategy that was developed initially for working on the problem of ISIS recruitment.

While I gather they feel that they have a small number of successes from a pilot program that does this, ultimately all you're going to do is peel off a few loosely-attached members this way. This is because you're not treating the underlying problem.

And treating the underlying problem is just what they don't want to do, because the underlying problem is them. It is their preference for technocratic, globalist, no-borders government that is giving rise to movements on the right. The shift towards nativism, love of heritage, and intense opposition to immigration (or 'diversity') is a social immune system that is quite predictable in any community into which there is mass immigration past a certain scale in a certain timeframe. That's why you're seeing the same kinds of political movements across Europe as they also receive high levels of immigration.

People like this love to talk about how America has had mass immigration before, and digested it successfully. Those same people nevertheless view the mechanisms that created that digestion with horror -- and some of them, like the KKK, are horrible. Indeed, the FB/Google class views the outcome as horrible, if expressed as the creation of "white" culture (as opposed to the earlier Irish/Italian/German/Jewish/whatever cultures that homogenized because of the social pressures to conform). However, it was the social oppression of the different that created the relatively homogeneous culture of the mid-20th century (and so well that we've had a counterculture since the 1960s that has now replaced it).

If you really don't want a spike in racism and its associated harms, and I agree they're good things not to want, you need to back off on immigration and give the current bulge time to digest into the American culture. Then people will feel less need to react as if they were part of an immune system isolating invaders. But globalization and open borders are so much in the economic interest of the Google/FB class, I doubt they'll ever even entertain the idea.

J Melcher said...

My first and biggest problem with the "immigration" issue is the language we use to discuss it.

The word and concept of "immigrant" used to mean, in my experience, a person who chose to be part of the destination society. Who wanted to buy (and farm) land or start a business and raise a successful family in the new place. A necessary condition for any of that involved the immigrant learning the new language and, for lack of a better term, the "market preferences" of the new place, and adapting himself. And the term "immigrant" was an umbrella term that encompassed Irish and Japanese and German and Swedes and Polish and Chinese ... such that IF there was a perceived (real or otherwise) problem our leadership would talk about "The Irish" or "The Chinese" as a sub-group, not, usually, "immigrants" as the general class.

Now we have problems, specifically, with a lump of Spanish-speaking and primarily Mexican arrivals who are afforded privileges and preferences unavailable to other immigrants. Many come temporarily and without families, to earn a wage wired back "home." They may retire back to their nations of birth. Many choose to work for others and so have little investment here. It is not necessary they learn the language, per NAFTA is it U.S. law all our legal forms, and appliance or equipment manuals, or medical instructions, all be printed in Spanish. (So much for our Vietnamese or Iranian or Chinese immigrants). To the extent that they do bring or form families, there seems to be little cultural pressure or social pride in becoming citizens: a Spanish-speaking child of "arrivals" may pass through 14 years of public education without ever bothering to become a citizen, or get the required "naturalization" classes from the public school system, or in fact being other than an ESL student instructed in his parent's native language. Again, imagine a Tagalog speaking student from the Philippines or Arabic speaking child from Syria getting 14 years of such instruction -- doesn't happen. Yet.

We also have a weird new redefinition of "refugee" -- the second in a century. Anyone remember how the (then new) United Nations appropriated this word for use regarding the unfortunate people formerly known as "stateless persons" -- the UN "High Commission on 'REFUGEES'" was set up to deal with folks from places like Montenegro or "East Pakistan" or "Palestine" that has been subsumed into new polities like Yugoslavia or independent India or Jordan -- had fled war or partition or nation-building and felt endangered in those new nations. Okay, first -- how well has the UN done with the "refugee" problem as it defined? And second, why is it the problem of the stable and established nations to accept the undesirables from genocidal racist or religiously-bigoted tyrannies? And how was "Western Colonialism" worse than genocidal tyranny, again?

Immigrants and Refugees are terms that must be more carefully defined before we can even begin to discuss what to do about the actual people.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Bezos own's the Washington Post and Amazon. He is a staunch supporter of HRC. Washington Post and Amazon will reflect Jeff Bezos Jewish and globalist views and will attack Trump and his Nationalistic Anti Immigration views. How far are his organizations willing to go to control the narrative? Pretty damn far in my opinion. Take for example that Amazon has stepped in to ‘fix’ the scathing reviews given by its customers of Hillary Clinton’s campaign book, Stronger Together.

Amazon ‘Fixes’ Hillary Clinton Book Ratings After Scathing Reviews


Amazon is censoring customer reviews by removing large number of Negative reviews of the book to change the Narrative.

I lump the Washington Post, Amazon and Jeff Bezos together as having no integrity.
I do not buy the Washington post, or shop at Amazon or have anything to do with Jeff Bezos's schemes and I certainly would not accept his redefinition of the Narrative. It is just plain creepy.


Grim said...

I think the "globalist" is way more important than the "Jewish" here. Netanyahu is at least as Jewish as Bezos, and he met with Trump right before the debate (probably as much to give him a talking point and another Presidential visual of him meeting with world leaders). I know you've said that you aren't that interested in Israel, but maybe you should be: they seem to be Public Enemy #1 to the globalist crowd.

That's not new. The business of defending a state makes you a better person. Isaac Asimov used to joke about going to Israel and asking everyone, "Where are all the Jews?" Taking responsibility for defending your space in the world builds character in important ways. The globalists don't get that, but the Israelis really do.

Grim said...

I do agree that this attempt to control us through 'alterations in the Narrative' (plus, of course, building out complete profiles of everything we say and do and buy) is creepy and unwanted. Again, if they could see themselves from outside, they'd see that their own actions are what is creating a lot of the sense of extremism, paranoia, and anger.

But they can't see it. From the outside it looks like 1984, but from the inside they just hate the idea that people like us exist. As the article concludes: "Of course, building these relationships [with alt-right people] is not easy and to many may be unpalatable. But the alternative to engagement is less palatable still[.]"

Anonymous said...


Why would anyone sign a 10 year MILITARY AID agreement ,
that is the largest in U.S. history if that country is public enemy number one?

Why such a long term deal? Why so damn much aid?

We can not afford these schemes when we are 20 trillion in debt,
Let Israel take care of itself, stop ruining the country for our children


Grim said...

You can see the hatred for Israel from the globalists in the way the UN treats them as a unique horror.

My sense is that Obama was trying to buy support for his deal with Iran, which operates over a similar period (there are a few points at which the sanctions fall away between now and 15 years from now). Turning Iran into the regional hegemony probably means the destruction of Israel no matter how much it arms up over the next decade, so from the perspective of its haters this move is probably a wise one.

You can see how much Iran has flourished in just the last year: it is now leading expansionist efforts for its own power in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. It has continued to develop nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in violation of the UN agreement (but with Russia's security council veto as cover for any punishment). It has bought advanced anti-aircraft missiles from Russia, again in defiance of the so-called agreement, and has deployed them -- oddly enough, around one of the nuclear plants that it supposedly promised would never be used for military nuclear activities.

And, of course, Iran has an annual "death to Israel" day (they're big fans of "death to America," too).

So I guess Israel wants the deal because it expects Iran to try to wipe it off the map within a decade or so -- as Iran keeps loudly promising to do. I guess Obama gave it to them to buy himself cover against charges that his Iran deal was anti-Israel. I also think historians will look back at the Iran deal as a big mistake that led to a major war with a massive death toll.

Ymar Sakar said...

The WaPo knows about as much about the Alt Right as they did about Sarah palin, the Tea Party, and biker clubs.

The disadvantage of living with the power corrupt DC circle is that they lack any intel support from the grassroots in the rest of the country. Or from Russian Yuri Bezmenov defectors.

Ymar Sakar said...

Let Israel take care of itself, stop ruining the country for our children

It's always easy to blame foreigners, such as in the Vietnam war, when it is the traitors next door who you refuse to kill, that has been ruining your country. By extension, your aid and support of said factions, isn't doing anything to stop the ruin of your own country.

Tom said...

Grim: They're making what seems to me to be a serious error by roping this community in with "violent extremists."

Yeah, their use of terminology seems quite flawed.

The idea, and it's a bad idea, is that you can dispose of any worry about just what is radicalizing people, and treat radicalization itself as a problem. ... This is because you're not treating the underlying problem.

And treating the underlying problem is just what they don't want to do, because the underlying problem is them.

You nailed it.

J, I agree. Their philosophy is steeped in the idea that if you can control language, you can control thought. Not what people actually think, per se, but the parameters of what is thinkable.

Tom said...

Washington Post and Amazon will reflect Jeff Bezos Jewish and globalist views and will attack Trump and his Nationalistic Anti Immigration views.

Jewish views? There are lots of different Jewish views. Trying to lump them all in as one is like trying to lump the Nazis and Tea Party into one group.

I don't doubt Bezos is a globalist. It's good for his business, and he doesn't have to pay the price for it. But lots of different people are globalists. Lots of different people aren't, including a lot of Jews who understand the value of strong borders and immigration policies.

Tom said...

From the infowars article Mississippi linked:

... a significant portion of the money expected to be used to upgrade Israel’s air force to Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter aircraft.

So Obama really is trying to cripple the Israeli military!

Most importantly, it’s structured so that more Israeli defense spending goes to U.S. companies. Israel’s long-standing special arrangement for funds from the United States previously allowed Israel to spend 26 percent of the money in Israel — on Israeli-made defense products. But that provision is being phased out over the first five years of the deal.

Hm. So we're giving them billions that they'll have to spend buying stuff from US companies, enriching Americans and providing jobs here. Somehow I'm failing to feel the outrage.

If you are really worried about our kids, forget foreign aid. It's a drop in the bucket. Go for cutting 2/3s of the federal government and adjusting Social Security, Medicare, etc.

Tom said...

Something I'm really interested in here is [t]he method of analysis, relying on new machine-assisted text analysis techniques ...

These folks never turn their own tools on their own words. I'd like to take a whack at that and see what turns up.

Anonymous said...

Grim, here is a different presentation of who the alternet right really are.

When Vox day lists his 16 tenents Alt Right philosophy considers the alt right to be a "philosophy of offense"
I like that. Most of his tenets are pretty good, but I have a problem with tenet#3 for vagueness.

On tenet #3 vox day writes

.....The Alt Right is not a defensive attitude and rejects the concept of noble and principled defeat. It is a forward-thinking philosophy of offense, in every sense of that term. The Alt Right believes in victory through persistence and remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition, and the lessons of history.......

When Vox day uses the term" reality" , I really wish he would bring in " Natural Law" instead of the word "reality". The term "reality" is too vague in my opinion. A robust use of the word "Natural law" would be better.

For example I could tie "Natural law" too an article like this:

This would show the abuses of the sexuaal revolution are against "reality" or against the "Natural Law"
and gov't supporting policies contrary to the "Natural Law" is a form of warefare against citizens.........


Grim said...

Philosophically, that piece needs work. You're right that "Natural Law" would be a good addition.

However, it's also incoherent in its assertion that there is no form of human equality, but also that it wholeheartedly endorses Christianity. Under Christian theology, the value of each human soul is equal: God made them all, made them in the same way, and values them each immeasurably.

I know what they mean to say here, which is that by any standard of observation people are different and not the same (i.e., not equal in any mathematical sense). But that is not the only way for things to be equal. An alternative way is that Christian standard. Another is by analogy to it: any actor can bestow equally on separate parties (e.g., I bestow an equal share of my estate on my children). That's the sense in which we are equal according to the Declaration of Independence: we were created by a single actor who gave us an equal bestowal of rights.

Vox Day needs to work through that basic conflict in his ideas. Merely being anti-equalitarian is not compatible with being a committed Christian. A more sophisticated way of dealing with the ways in which we are not equal is needed.

Tom said...

Interesting. Grim has commented on the equality issue, and I agree with him.

Some other thoughts:

8c: ... the so-called scientific consensus is not based on scientody, but democracy, and is therefore intrinsically unscientific.

Actually, if we believe the lessons of history, consensus has always been how science has worked. It is an inherent problem of the scientific method. We can go back to patronage networks, the Royal Society, etc., but the assent of the community of scientists has always been an important aspect of the method. Trying to elevate science into an infallible method is about as realistic as those unicorns he was on about in #7.

The Alt Right believes identity > culture > politics.

I'd like to see his definition of "identity." I should probably look for it, but it's late.

For that matter, I'm also interested in his definition of "nation."

5 and 10 make me wonder what the status of the territory of the United States is for the alt right:

5. The Alt Right is openly and avowedly nationalist. It supports all nationalisms and the right of all nations to exist, homogeneous and unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration.

10. The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means.

So, was the European conquest of the Americas then illegitimate? And, since European descendants are occupying the homelands of dominated native peoples, should we all leave?

14. The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.

So it is a racialist movement. I can certainly understand fighting against oppression of whites, and for equal opportunity for whites, but beyond that, I don't really get this.

15. ... The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species.

Yeah, some folks on the alt right have struck me before as racial separatists, not supremacists.

TL;DR: The Alt Right is a Western ideology that believes in science, history, reality, and the right of a genetic nation to exist and govern itself in its own interests.

But even if this were a worthy program, this can never be America. The alt right has a choice: Recognize that their program won't work in an intact United States, or attempt to destroy the US through racial balkanization.

The great line of demarcation in modern politics is now a 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. The Alt Right understands that the former will always lose to the latter in the end, because the former is subject to change.

Momentary opinions? Like their religion, their culture, their loyalty to family, their sense of duty to the nation? Those kinds of momentary opinions?

Or like the belief that genetic heritage defines them? That is an opinion that is subject to change, no?

It's interesting watching a movement define itself, though. He does conclude:

This is merely a very early draft. Discuss amongst yourselves.