Alt-Right

Lauren Southern Responds to Reason's Alt-Right Critique [Updated]

And it's not pretty.

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Lauren Southern is correct that I misidentified her as "Laura Southern" in my August 31 video for Reason, "What the Alt-Right Gets Wrong." I regret the error.

Unfortunately, that isn't the only point she strives to make in her answer video, "Why Reason TV is VERY Unreasonable," which runs through the usual dishonest and flawed litany of alt-right complaints about too many immigrants, attacks on "elites," and misrepresentations of U.S. history and libertarian beliefs. Southern may identify sometimes as a "cultural libertarian" when she's not defending "identitarians," but it's clear she disagrees with the "Free Minds and Free Markets" philosophy that motivates Reason in all its iterations.

We know this because Southern seems puzzled that a libertarian of all people would disagree publicly with protesters chanting the Nazi slogan of "blood and soil" and "Jews will not replace us!" while carrying swastika flags. "I don't like Nazi LARPers [live-action role players] too much either" she says in her video, but continues that "individual liberty includes the right to hate whomever the hell you want." That's a classic misdirection, and sadly indicative of the sloppy argumentation and strawmanning that characterizes most of her reply. Of course my video says nothing about restricting people's speech rights (as long as they assemble peacefully, which the Charlottesville neo-Nazis did not do). My video engages the ideas promulgated by neo-Nazis and the alt-right, which are all about elaborating and defending repellent views about supposedly immutable racial and cultural characteristics, and the dumbest possible versions of Western chauvinism.

If the future of "the West" really rested upon the shoulders of dishonest, clownish performance artists such as Southern, civilization would indeed be as doomed as the most apocalyptic alt-right ideologue would have you believe. I first became aware of her after she posted a video of herself and members of "Generation Identity" attempting to block a boat carrying Doctors Without Borders staff whose mission was to help refugees get to shore without drowning or otherwise dying in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. The video was meant to be a fundraising tool for the "Defend Europe" project, which entailed doing more of the same but with a bigger boat. Later one of the "Defend Europe" boats broke down in the middle of the sea, and one of the refugee rescue operations offered assistance, which was declined. Sad!*

By all means, check out her answer video in all its glory. My original piece is above.

CORRECTION: The original version of this paragraph stated that members of Generation Identity were shooting flares at Doctors Without Borders boats, and that Generation Identity's boat was rescued by the a refugee rescue vessel after breaking down. The text has been corrected based on Lauren Southern's claim that she wasn't "shooting" flares, and that the Generation Identity boat refused the assistance offered by the refugee rescue ship after it broke down.