WASHINGTON, Aug. 26, 2016 — “There’s always been a paranoid fringe in our politics steeped in racial resentment,” Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton told a rally at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada. “But it’s never had the nominee of a major party stoking it, encouraging it, and giving it a national megaphone. Until Now.”
Beset by scandal, dropping in the polls against her Republican rival Donald Trump, and with more damning email leaks promised by WikiLeaks and hacker Guccifer 2.0, Clinton trotted out a scapegoat on which to blame her troubles: the “vast right-wing conspiracy.”
She has updated its name to something more 21st-century. Clinton calls the new existential threat the “alt-right.”
“Alt-right” is a broad term, its first recorded use by Paul Gottfried when he spoke to the H.L. Mencken Club in 2008 about what he called “the alternative right.” As Clinton uses it, the term applies to anyone who objects to America’s open borders, who objects to the lie that an American filmmaker inspired the deadly attack on America’s consulate in Benghazi, who objects to the use of private detectives to harass and threaten women who were sexually abused by Bill Clinton, and who thinks that Hillary Clinton lied about her email server.
The alt-right is anyone who supports Trump or opposes Clinton.
If you harbor reservations about the return of the Clintons to the White House, count yourself a member in good standing of the alt-right.
Clinton unleashed her charge on a college campus. College campuses are so hostile to ideological diversity that a University of Chicago letter embracing free speech and ideological diversity was national news. The attempt to lump a large corpus of disparate ideas together and condemn them by association with Donald Trump runs counter to the Chicago ideal of diversity, but it is solidly within the reality of many colleges and universities.
Many students listening to Clinton’s speech applauded enthusiastically, as did their professors, with no apparent sense of irony.
Eric Hoffer wrote in his book “The True Believer”:
We join a mass movement to escape individual responsibility, or, in the words of the ardent young Nazi, ‘to be free from freedom.’
It was sheer hypocrisy when the rank-and-file Nazi declared themselves not guilty of all the enormities they had committed. They considered themselves cheated and maligned when made to shoulder responsibility for obeying orders. Had they not joined the Nazi movement in order to be free from responsibility?
Hoffer makes a good point. Belonging to a cult of personality comes at a heavy price, and a cult of personality is what Clinton has created. Each revelation of criminal corruption and moral depravity makes it more difficult for Clinton’s devotees to separate themselves from her behavior.
Thus they are forced to excuse it. Clinton is put in need of a scapegoat to alleviate her follower’s growing moral discomfort.
According to the New York Times, “Mrs. Clinton’s speech was intended to link Mr. Trump to a fringe ideology of conspiracies and hate, but for the leaders of the alt-right, the attention from the Democratic presidential nominee was a moment in the political spotlight that offered a new level of credibility. It also provided a valuable opportunity for fund-raising.”
It is remarkable that America’s newspaper of record ties Clinton’s credibility to fund-raising. Her dealings via the Clinton Foundation with Arab potentates and Russian uranium consortiums have shown that her fundraising skills are exceptional.
Clinton’s speech in Nevada was a low point for a political campaign that looks increasingly like an episode from the “Twilight Zone.”
Submitted for your approval: A thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has fallout that poisons the political climate for generations of children yet unborn. And it happens not just within, but beyond … the Twilight Zone.