This piece was originally published by Human Events. You can find it here.
The America First agenda is more important than ever. Democrats are trying to transform Republican states; by tacitly allowing illegal immigration, they hope to radically increase the number of perpetual Democrat voters. The Democratic Party itself is increasingly radical, ousting moderates, talking about abolishing the electoral college and packing the Supreme Court, and is seemingly intent on turning the United States into a failed Latin American state (yes, I stole that line from Coulter).
Voters were attracted to President Trump’s America First message precisely because it went beyond foreign policy hawkishness and the free market, and accounted for matters of identity and national culture. It won because it addressed the concerns of millions of regular Americans who have felt side-lined by the establishment for decades. It is not a message of hate. While it is a product of anger and disillusionment, the message is not inherently aggressive, and it is categorically not far right.
But it is all at risk, and it’s partly a result of some conservatives naively allowing this message and agenda to be co-opted by the most radical fringe of right-wing thinking.
THE THREAT FROM THE FRINGE
I have watched with increasing concern over the last six months or more as some America First conservatives have either defended or failed to robustly condemn anti-Semites who hide behind the disingenuous claim that it’s “all just irony, bro.” White nationalists and their anti-Semitic fellow travellers are assuming this important agenda as their own.
If America First fails, it will be a result of conservatives falling into the trap of defending these people under the illusion that nobody is “far right” because far-left radicals have branded everybody as far right. Compounded by the misguided idea that a broad-tent populism must include absolutely everyone, this dilemma has left some conservatives far too open to defending ideas that are genuinely extreme.
I don’t say this without any authority or experience.
In my new book, Monster of Their Own Making, I recount my experiences in the far right as a teenager. I explore the ways in which far-left radicals, the media, and politicians force young white men to the fringes of politics where they are accepted, where they have a voice, and where they feel like their questions are answered.
I’ve seen my own friends become neo-Nazis and terrorists. One attempted to murder an MP with a machete, another donned KKK robes and was imprisoned for joining a terrorist organization, and others accepted the embrace of genuine neo-Nazis who didn’t immediately dismiss them as evil white males. It is a road I know too well, and it is my hope that we will not lose more young men to this poisonous ideological black hole.
Of course, we know that far-left radicals throw around the “far right” label much too easily, but that doesn’t mean the far right doesn’t exist and it doesn’t mean that the problem cannot grow. It plays into the hands, and the narrative, of the far left when conservatives deny the existence of the far right. We must be willing to reclaim this issue, to acknowledge the problem, and to recognize the role that far-left extremists play in creating these monsters in the first place.
Popular far-right figureheads, YouTubers and social media cool kids might never commit crimes, and they might not be the ones to pick up a machete or a gun, but their followers will – and are. We cannot just forget the horrors of the Poway synagogue shooting, Pittsburgh, Christchurch, and others.
USEFUL IDIOTS OF THE LEFT
Conservatives must do better on this issue not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it poses the very real threat of derailing the America First agenda.
I see parallels with my experiences in the far right in the UK.
In 2009, when I first became politically active, I felt that the only political party willing to seriously address the concerns of the white working class and stand up to radical Islam, and take a strict new approach to immigration was a white nationalist party called the British National Party (BNP). I became a member.
I wasn’t alone; the BNP won nearly a million votes in the 2009 European Elections.—but in 2014, it was obliterated, receiving less than 200,000 votes in a country of 66 million people. Its neo-Nazi roots and extremist party officials gave the media all the ammunition they needed to kill it off for good. After the BNP had taken in enough desperate, working-class people who had spent years ignored by the politicians, it left in its wake a political hot potato that to this today is left untouched.
White nationalists took advantage of very real political issues and swooped in because nobody else was willing to talk about them. In the case of America First, these dangerous far-right ideologues have swooped in regardless.
Failure to act now will see more young men taken in by this crowd of extremists who offer easy explanations for complex issues, and it will mark the end of the America First agenda. It will give far-left progressives the ammunition they need to continue shutting down discussion on matters like immigration, integration, and culture. It happened in the UK, and it’s going to happen in the United States too.
Conservatives must continue to deliver an important message of hope for the American people; that the unique and special nature of your country’s society, rooted in European history and philosophy, will be protected. Don’t cede that ground to extremists.