Future historians who write about the 2016 presidential election will probably devote many pages to the “Alt-right.” If I understand the Alt-right correctly, its members defend an alternative approach to conservatism in America that is focused on white supremacy, opposition to the immigration of non-white Christian people, and a general disgust for homosexuality, feminism, Jews, Muslims, elites, liberals and the GOP establishment. Not all people sympathetic to the Alt-right will embody all of these traits, but those who do identify with the movement believe that they are losing their country and are willing to fight to get it back. It is the most recent form of American nativism.
I think it’s fair to say that the most prominent mouthpiece of the Alt-right is Breitbart News. I think it is also fair to say that many Trump supporters, but not all of them, identity with the movement.
It is easy to condemn the views of the Alt-right. But they are out there and they will now have a strong voice in American life thanks to Trump and his chief strategist Steve Bannon.
We are in the midst of the holiday season. This is often a time when we leave our social bubbles and engage with friends and family members who may not share our views on politics and culture. Such encounters can be good things if dialogue about our differences can take place in a civil manner and people are willing to listen to one another. (Of course I know that this is not always the case–especially with families).
I was recently asked to recommend some reading materials for those who have opportunities to dialogue with people who like the Alt-right. Granted, some folks on the Alt-right may not be interested in reading or engaging with different ideas. But others will be. Which leads to my question: What books (or other kinds of publications) would you encourage people on the Alt-right to read in the hopes of triggering a conversation that might lead them to change their hearts and minds?
Any suggestions? Where would you start the conversation? What book or books would you give your alt-Right friend to get such a conversation going? (And, of course, this might mean you will have to be open to reading something that they give you). 🙂