Whither the Alternative Right?

The two most successful, right-wing grassroots uprisings in recentyears have been the backlash to amnesty for illegal aliens in 2007 andthe ongoing “tea party” protests against government spending.

Long before I supported Ron Paul for president and in general, I wasa staunch Pat Buchanan conservative. I still am. Giving my opinion onthe radio and in print, at least twice a week for over a decade, I’vebeen called a libertarian or a conservative depending on the issuebeing discussed, but more importantly, the political figures associatedwith those discussions. If arguing my opposition to NAFTA, illegalimmigration and American empire in 2000, I was derided as aBuchananite-nationalist-isolationist. If arguing against NAFTA, illegalimmigration and American empire in 2008, I was derided as aPaulite-libertarian-isolationist. I plead guilty on all counts.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd annual HLMencken Club conference where a host of conservative and libertarianthinkers came together for a rousing exchange of ideas on whatmight—and what should—animate the American Right. One, surely ongoing, debate seemed to be whether right-wingers couldmake more progress by focusing on cultural issues like illegalimmigration, multiculturalism and affirmative action or libertarianissues like government size, spending and perhaps, civil liberties.Would a more culture-minded Buchananite approach work best? Or perhapsa more libertarian-minded Paulite approach?

What many are now calling, appropriately and accurately enough, the“Alternative Right” encompasses both the Buchanan and Paul camps, andwhatever differences each have are miniscule compared to their shared,stark differences with the liberal Left and mainstream neoconservativeRight. Before discussing what should be done to advance AlternativeRight causes—why not look at what has already been done?