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Like "alternative facts" and "political correctness", "Alt-Left" is a myth perpetrated by the far right in need of a nemesis, writes John Maycock.

THE BASIS of social media memes vilifying minority groups has often been exposed as factual misrepresentation. 

The "othering" process of (self-described) Alt-Right groups usually involves presenting xenophobic or bigoted misinformation as “truth”.

As previously suggested in IA, when called out on the inaccuracy of their claims, the counter position of groups such as Reclaim Australia, for example, usually goes something like this:

' ... we’re not racist you $#@ lefty, Islam is a religion, not a race … you ^%$# lefties don’t even know what racism is, you call us racist and that proves you are the racists.'

Or,

'This is not a supremacist rally, it will… be Patriotic Australians… all nationalities and beliefs …'

It is the counter narrative to which such “reclaimers” object. For them, the source of any opposition is personified as "lefties" or the "Alt-Left", regardless of its source.

Alternative facts

Real facts, as opposed to "alternative facts" discredit such groups and their claims and so anyone representing the counter narrative becomes the target of the hate campaign.

It's not necessary to call such commentators racists, simply pointing out any problems with their position can mean the words they “hear” are “racist” or “bigot”. They are forced to turn a blind eye to facts in favour of fiction but again, it’s the counter narrative that causes the fear and grief and in the end, they “shoot the messenger” and it’s all "loony lefty BS".

"Political correctness" is not a real thing — it does not exist outside the narrative of "othering". It is only a defensive position. When the bigot complains that the "PC card" has been played, it is, of course, the bigot who is playing their own version of the "PC card". The bigot’s use of multiculturalism is also meaningless outside this "othering" narrative.

Such imagined issues and enemies don’t really exist outside of this, often illogical, narrative.

The bigot’s notions of “hate speech” and even “bigot” also only exist within their narrative. Hate speech is seen as calling people “names” and bigot is misrepresented as a “name calling” word. Point out bigotry (without even using the word) and you have called them names and therefore you are using "lefty hate speech".

The Alt-Left notion 

There are political perspectives that could be called "Alt-Left". One site calls itself such, while at least one person claims to be an original "Alt-Left activist" — but these don’t fit the usual narrative.

Consider these words from Apple CEO Tim Cook in the wake of U.S. President Trump raising the spectre of an opposite but equal evil to fascism:

‘I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights.’

The bigots have been handed a new star to pin on their detractors, now anybody who opposes them is the Alt-Left – labelled such by the Alt-Right and mainstream media – or at the least, they are labelled as "dancing to an Alt-Left tune".

However, just as bigotry is a tangible thing that is revealed by observable actions and behaviours that can be named, so too, the “Alt-right” is a tangible thing — selling hate and violence based on lies, intent on stifling human rights. And, just as notions like "bleeding heart leftie" are intangible meaningless terms promoted in memes, so too, the notion “Alt-Left” is the creation of just another meme.

While those who oppose the bigots can name the actions and behaviours they oppose, the Alt-Right can only call out those who oppose them for, well, opposing them. They carry on about patriotism and label those opponents "un-Australian" but they cannot support their own case and are unable to refute their opponent’s reasoning or evidence. It seems the labels satisfy the bigot that the message can be ignored.

If your argument is unreasonable, illogical, doesn’t stand up to historical fact or social realities, or if you support your position with untruths in the face of evidence to the contrary – that is, refuse to allow facts and reason into the “information framework” of your position – there may be something wrong with your cognitive processes.

If you put labels like "bleeding heart leftie" (or Alt-Left) onto those who are shining the torch of truth in your eyes, in order to discount that truth, you could be a right-wing nut job. Just like the bully, you discredit your “antagonist” with labels while you sow your hate built on a framework of stereotyping generalisations and disinformation.

More likely though, you could be one of the thousands who has uncritically bought into the narrative. Probably helped through certain media circles where you have been told that if you don’t join the narrative you are unpatriotic, un-Australian, or too scared to pass it on. In which case you are helping to erect a wall of denial while you hold a position based on hate built on a framework of stereotyping generalisations and misinformation, sown when you repeat it.

Indeed, it’s almost as if the latter, those in denial of the white supremacist/Christian fundamentalist (Alt-Right) genesis of the narrative, really don’t believe they are bigots. They have probably never been consciously bigoted. Almost as if they don’t realise they have aligned with an ideology that is everything it is accused of being. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence of both the genesis and the untruths the narrative is based on.

In the end, those who oppose the bigots are usually just people who have not fallen for the Alt-Right rhetoric. They are not represented by some mythical fringe group called the "Alt-Left" and they certainly don’t take their cue from any Alt-Left ideology — they arrive at their position through factual information and logical reasoning. 

And herein lays the Irony, by their very nature the bigots are only able to perceive the opposite to be so.

You can follow John Maycock on Twitter @L3ftyJohn.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

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