Commentary: ‘Alt-right’ is offshoot of modern progressive movement

John Massoud

Do not call the “alt-right” conservative.

First off, no matter what your politics are, the events that recently occurred in Charlottesville are beyond tragic. They strike at the heart of our Republic and our democracy. Namely, the right of every individual to gather to protest peacefully. Ever since the enactment of the Stamp Act in the 1760s, Americans have been demonstrating freely. Sometimes respectfully, sometimes not so much. However our American experiment is teetering on the edge, and that is because people have forgotten how to disagree, or more aptly, able to agree to disagree.

Being a Tea Party supporter, and a known Republican, I always hear about how racist my party is – something I’ve been listening to since the early 1980s and I was a foot soldier doing get-out-the-vote calls for Ronald Reagan. This is a charge that has been leveled at us ever since the 1960s. We are partly to blame – as we have never done a good job of minority outreach. But what is most concerning is the comparison to the “alt right” of Richard Spencer and Tea Party conservatives. So let me put that ridiculous idea to rest.

Richard Spencer, the head of what he calls the “alt-right,” is at heart a progressive socialist and not a conservative or anyone who would be welcome in the Tea Party. Why do I say this? Simple. If you go to Richard Spencer’s Twitter feed on Jan. 8 at 12:43 a.m., Mr. Spencer, the supposed “conservative,” calls for “single payer socialism for basic stuff.  On top of that could be a free market for more advanced elective, boutique stuff.” No Republican, no conservative, and no Tea Party supporter would ever sanction such a ridiculous anti-free market idea.

Contrary to some propaganda, the Tea Party was not born in April 2009 to give us “free stuff.” The term TEA stood for Taxed Enough Already” and was used by a CNBC broadcaster to get people to go out on April 15, 2009 to protest higher taxes and too much government spending. Mr. Spencer’s words “single payer socialism for basic stuff” violates the heart of what the Tea Party was born of. The Tea Party wasn’t born to give everyone “free stuff.” The Tea Party was born to get us back to our roots of limited government, and economic opportunity for all.

Republicans since Ronald Reagan have been preaching free market economics and free market principles. We have not been preaching “free stuff.” The concept of “free stuff” comes from the Occupy Wall Street crowd of 2012, who expected the government to give them iPhones or other technology for free, and who despise all the great joys that economic freedom has given to us. And we get this economic opportunity from free markets, not from having the government provide to us “single payer socialism for basic stuff.”

For all the talk about Charlottesville being about Nazi supremacy and the remnants of the KKK, the fact is  many rioters that day were black nationalists who espouse racism against whites and all non African Americans. This weekend’s events occurred because of the stupidity of the civil authorities to not be able to see that allowing white nationalist terrorists and a group of people who honestly have been convinced of their own moral superiority that they honestly think that anyone who disagrees with them must be a racist.

Whether we like it or not, we must accept the fact that the Black Lives Matter crowd and the “alt-right” under Mr. Spencer are opposite sides of the coin, they share a similar economic message (free basic stuff) and likely agree on many other things, the main disagreement among them being which race is superior.

Our country was founded on the idea that all are created equal. We didn’t practice it well at first, and we still don’t get it 100 percent correct to this day. People can agree to disagree on pretty much every topic. But it is high time that the public accepts the fact that the alt- right neo Nazi movement is really an offshoot of the modern progressive movement.

John Massoud is the head of the Freedom Caucus of the Shenandoah County Republican Party and is the 6th Magisterial District Chair of the Shenandoah County Republican Party.