Alt-right Thinkers

Benjamin Teitelbaum is an ethnographer, teaching at the Univerity of Colorado. He studies Scandinavian far right groups. Teitelbaum observed the role of the entrepreneurial activist Daniel Friburg, the principal of the publishing firm Arktos Media, in European politics. Arktos publishes the writings of traditionalist figures including René Guénon and Julius Evola. Teitelbaum wrote an opinion piece for Wall Street Journal about Friburg’s visit to America and the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville Virginia in 2017, suggesting the American organizers had staged a riot. A few modern public intellectuals who describe themselves as traditionalists, appear to have influence with some political figures: the Russian Aleksandr Dugin and the Brazilian Olavo de Carvalho. Steve Bannon, the alt-right American figure appointed as White House Chief Strategist by US President Trump, shares some traditionalist ideas. Teitelbaum got some interviews with Bannon, This was the basis of his 2020 book War for Eternity: The Return of Traditionalism and the Rise of the Populist Right (The subtitle in America, was “Inside Bannon’s Far-Right Circle of Global Power Brokers”). Teitelbaum relies on inferences and imagined episodes from the lives of Bannon and some of Teitelbaum’s contacts and sources. He is unable to portray the members of the circle as a a coherent entity There are people with heterodox, esoteric, right wing views with careers as teachers, speakers, consultants and entrepreneurs – an intelligentsia largely outside the universities and the academic world.

Teitelbaum’s effort to address the role of traditionalist ideology in the growth of the populist right is hampered by a lack of information and evidence beyond a few facts. The American academic Jason Jorjani co-founded the Alt-Right Corporation with Friburg and the American enterpreneurial activist Richard B. Spencer. That venture collapsed after the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville when American conservatives and businesses, other than President Trump distanced themselves from the event. The same people and events also are mentioned in Anna Merlan’s Republic of Lies. The Alt-Right distanced itself. at the time, from the idea that it has been planning to undermine the American government.

Teitelbaum’s American sources mention the Swiss gnostic Frithjof Schoen, or Frithjof Schuon, another “traditionalist”, who presented himself as a Sufi and a practitioner of American First Nation (Lakota and Crow) spirituality, who lived in Bloomington, Indiana 1980-1998. The American sources also describe some of the practises and educational experiences of the American new Right, which include visits to India for spiritual teaching and other New Age practises. This part of the book would have been interesting – even more interesting after the riots in Washington DC on January 6, 2021. Schuon professed a non-religious spirituality bordering on neoshamanism. This version of Alt-Right spirituality resembles the New Age spirituality of many left leaning figures.

This illuminates the spectacle of Alt-Rightists who went to Washingtion dressed and painted like hippies to subvert the election of Trump’s rival. Pictures of Yellowstone Wolf, the QAnon Shaman were in the news after January 6, 2021.

His sources didn’t give Teitelbaum much and the publishers didn’t want a book on the radicalization of American youth.


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