The post title is hardly news – we know that conservative movements have always skewed towards older people but what about the supposed ‘alt-right’? The modern internet crypto-fascism has an emphasis on video games and pop culture and an emphasis on digital technologies. I don’t think we can be sure of what the true demographics of the alt-right are but I suspect their internet legions are older than they portray themselves. However, I’m more focused on their arguments such as they are.
The range of core arguments from the alt-right that connect those who are overt about being neo-Nazis to those who are more circumspect, can be summed up as a set of fears. Some are given more rationalisation than others and the targets vary: women, established ethnic groups, immigrants, LGBTQI people and others. They can be summed up as arguments about X (the target of rightwing animosity) and Y (how the right perceives themselves as an in-group).
- X do not hold the same political values of us. If X gain more numbers/vote more often/gain more political power then they will vote for gun control, healthcare, welfare etc.
- The job market is finite, if there are more X in the workforce then there are fewer jobs for Y.
- It is not right in a workplace for X’s to boss around Y’s or import their values into the workplace.
- X’s have different social values, when X’s have more say in organisations, community groups, churches, it changes the character of them.
These are not the only canards that the right directs at their targets but they are the ones that work for most of them. There are also fears that they stoke specifically targeted at women that they don’t apply to ethnic groups and vice-versa.
What I find interesting is how their arguments apply just as easily (and fallaciously) if “X” is taken to mean “young people” and Y is “older people”. The job market argument in particular (seriously posed in detail by ‘thinkers’ on the right) would necessarily apply to any population growth whether it was via immigration or increased birth rate. That increased birth rates don’t lead to increased unemployment likewise demonstrates why population increases in general don’t necessarily lead to more unemployment – the job market is not a fixed size and more people in the population means more people who need goods and services.
My fear is that as the world’s population gets older that these inter-generational prejudices will deepen our political divides. Also, while it might appear that the current right appear to have adopted the same political positions as if they were secretly run by an ancient cadre of vampires, I’m not actually trying to suggest that is the case.