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Exposing The Fraud That Is Richard Spencer

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Exposing The Fraud That Is Richard Spencer

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Richard Spencer, Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, Twitter

Reprinted with permission from Washingtonmonthly.

 

White nationalism is real scary, but white nationalism, it turns out, cannot bear too much scrutiny. So much of its power depends on the rest of us not knowing much about the people advancing it.

Case in point is Richard Spencer. The Washington Post called him the poster boy of white nationalism. He coined the term alt-right, celebrated the installment of Steve Bannon in the White House, and founded a so-called think tank to promote white nationalism. He even gave it a respectable sounding name, National Policy Institute.

He’s also the guy who was famously punched in the side of his shaved head during President Trump’s inauguration. A video of the assault went viral. It went by various names, like “Nazi Punching.” I have enthusiastically shared the video with my stamp of approval.

Spencer is an effective spokesman for white nationalism, because he embodies its perceived traits without invoking images of the boogie men of its past. Instead white hoods and robes, he’s clean cut, well dressed, and highly educated. Instead of speaking a twangy local yokel, he’s speaks in a flat authoritative tone akin to CBS News.

His genius is leveraging that appearance to enhance his credibility among the unsuspecting while blasting the moral decay of American civilization. Most importantly, he leverages his appearance to project strength, because strength is the central tenet of white nationalism.

On Twitter last week, he attacked conservatives:

You get the idea.

But all this changes in light of facts. Those facts came to us some weeks ago courtesy of the Center for Investigative Reporting in partnership with Mother Jones. And here are the facts:

Richard Spencer lives on his family’s fortune. That wealth in part comes from owning, for generations, huge tracts of land used in growing cotton. That cotton is subsidized, like many farming operations, to maintain prices by the federal government.

Moreover, Spencer dropped out of graduate school and does not appear to have held down a real job before founding his “think tank.” No one knows where he got the money to found it. The National Policy Institute has lost its tax-exempt status.

What do we make of these facts?

For one thing, it’s hard to maintain the veneer of strength and purity when you are vulnerable to accusations of being a mama’s boy. (His parents are evidently mainstream Republican who dislike their son’s embrace of fascism, but not enough, apparently, to cut him off.)

For another, it’s hard to maintain an image of authenticity as the one true voice of an oppressed white people when your money comes from mommy and daddy, instead of a deep pool of contributors who might nominally represent a truly democratic yearning. White nationalism ends up taking a back seat to his carefully constructed image and in doing so risks revealing Spencer as being a fraud.

He’s vulnerable not only to attacks from the left.

Recall that former presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the Republicans gained a lot of traction some years ago by framing the country’s future as a choice between “takers and makers.” In Spencer is a man who never had a real job, who failed to complete his education, who lives on his parent’s bank account. He’s the idle rich to the left. He’s a parasite to the right’s captains of industry.

White nationalism remains a threat. I don’t have to explain why. But democracy can survive it as long as democracy has a free press, free speech and the political courage of an informed citizenry.

John Stoehr

John Stoehr is a lecturer in political science at Yale, a business columnist for Hearst Newspapers, an essayist for the New Haven Register and a U.S. News & World Report contributing editor.

 

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30 Comments

  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 3, 2017

    Before I offer my comments, it is important for me to clarify the terminology I will use and what motivates me to strongly rebuke the alt-right, Trump, FOX, Steve Bannon, and the rest of this coterie of knaves who have decided it’s cool to be a racist.

    1) The harmony of Science and Religion, a basic tenet of the Baha’i Faith, and is a reality that can’t be refuted, morally and otherwise. That “science”, the product of humanity’s growing capacity to expatiate on aspects of science more fully since the 19th century compared to our past, is finally catching up with Religion(and Science in the universal sense) is evident in the Writings of Baha’u’llah.
    When Baha’u’llah, in clear and no uncertain terms, announced in a majestic manner that humanity of One, of the same Human Family, He did so in a form and style in Arabic and Persian, a fact known to Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, Moses, and the Other Messengers of the past. That those previous Messengers never elaborated as plainly then as now was due to humankind’s lack of capacities to understand this Reality. Humankind’s dispersal across the globe led to changes in appearances and customs, and along the way during those journeys from Africa, developed a sort of amnesia as to our common ancestry.

    2) When I use the terms/phrases such as “white”, “black”, “white race”, “black race”, white males, etc., I am on the one hand affirming that oneness, and in other instances these terms should be seen in a contextual sense. For example, I’ll use “white males” when I refer to instances where certain “Africans” insist on being identified primarily as “white males” when they wish to project a divisive racist perception of humanity.

    Therefore, Richard Spencer can be seen as an example of those “Africans” whose skin coloration changed and as a result evolved a strange idea that such coloration marked him and his other fellow “tribesmen” to see themselves as superior. Cultural achievements by this group of “Africans” proceeded at a different pace than for those who moved elsewhere, as well as at a different pace and manner that for those who remained in the equatorial zones across the globe.

    The subgroup “white males” within the matrix of “Africans” in Europe, would evolve the philosophy of Racialism to make sense of differences in appearances and in cultural expressions and achievements when encountering their darker-skinned cousins during the onset of the “Age of Discovery”. From this social evolutionary route, and with this philosophy founded on psedo-science and observations not fully informed of the Oneness of Humanity, we have seen the appearances of individuals like Sir Francis Galton, Locke, Hume, Voltaire, and other racialists—all of whom we would characterize as “white males”. Their writings would become standard tracts of studies in schools for centuries—some resulting in the pseudo-science of Eugenics.

    Richard Spencer, his parents, Steve Bannon, Trump and his paternal and maternal lineage would be influenced by these trends and ideas endemic to European culture. Arabs, Jews, early Greeks, Asians, would develop similar trends of thinking—again, wholly unaware of their spiritual/biological commonality and forgotten, leading up to “racial”/ethnic biases in all those regions. Even among various Bantu groups in Africa, the same patterns of hierarchy by tribe or ethnicity would be causes for divisiveness, opening the doors for animosity and a sense of being better than other Bantu groups.

    Richard Spencer, like so many other “white males, has become so seduced by the allure of feeling superior, that the siren call of the superiority of the “White Tribe” would prove irresistible and is now a common terminology in America . After all, every human’s basest instinct is to feel superior to others. Without the proper restraints offered by Religion, this instinct rises to subdue the loftier instincts and sentiments, and in America, and to a slightly lesser degree in other parts of the world, we’ve been plagued with the Alt-Right, Andrew Breitbart, the KKK, and others who’ve succumbed to the false doctrine of Racialism.

    Reply
  2. invincible white owl May 4, 2017

    This article is a “fraud” actually, teeming with inaccuracies. To name only a few:
    Spencer didn’t name the National Policy Institute, because he did not found it: it existed for years before he ever had anything to do with it, as the author of this article would have known if they’d actually researched instead of merely regurgitating inaccuracies from previous writers’ articles.
    Spencer left Duke University before completing his doctorate because he was offered a job at The American Conservative Magazine.
    The National Policy Institute is funded in a “grassroots” manner, literally by individual people contributing whatever/whenever they wish to. Must a foundation have a bunch of wealthy bankers/SuperPACS/etc funding it to not be a “fraud,” in the author’s opinion?
    Spencer & his family are wealthy. So what? Is he barred from political activism because he isn’t poor, in the author’s opinion? I find it remarkable really that he’s chosen this path of activism & vilification by mainstream society rather than the comfortable “country club” life that most people of his background would have opted for.
    Etc.
    I’d suggest simply listening to or watching Spencer’s videos or podcasts, rather than trying to wade through sloppy journalism like this article.

    Reply
    1. Identitarian_Ethic May 4, 2017

      Thanks! Now I don’t have to tell the author the same thing. It was a good try, but you get the feeling that the writer’s sharing of his moral “outrage” is just an expression of his need to show that he is a very good person.

      “The media tells me I’m supposed to hate Richard Spencer. I do what I’m told, therefore, I am good. See how good I am!”

      Reply
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        Reply
      2. timmfr30 May 4, 2017

        you babble

        Reply
        1. Eleanore Whitaker May 4, 2017

          They all do. I recall being in Manhattan around the time of the Beatnik Era. Wow…You could step into any coffee house back then and see how these “MEN” of such “brilliance” where nothing more than lazy bums looking for attention.

          Reply
      3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 4, 2017

        Dear “Identitarian_Ethic”: Let me first remark about what a silly moniker you’ve chosen for yourself. Is this a designation which God bestowed on you? Or is it the product of some vain imagination of yours.
        Your trite rant indicates a feeble “white male” trying desperately to assert himself while surrounded by confusion as to your true identity. To help reorient you, let me relate to you what Baha’u’llah has related to all of humanity when He inaugurated the renewal of Religion by announcing Himself as the One foretold by all the Messengers of God sent to humanity over the past eons. This Revelation is called “The Baha’i Faith”, and is in harmony with all previous Revelations, but extends the paradigm of Progressive Revelation into this era.
        The particular statement I have in mind to relay to you is the following epigram. Study its contents carefully, reflect on both the inner and outer meanings, and let me know your impressions. That way, I and the public, can see and know if a change in the quality of your soul has improved.

        “O CHILDREN OF MEN! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory.”

        If you’re confused about your identity and have been sidetracked by the chimera of “Whiteness” the above should begin to dispel the fog that surrounds your heart and mind.

        Reply
      4. Eleanore Whitaker May 4, 2017

        Tell us…Did you wipe your butt with Charmin this morning? You know it was manufactured by liberals, progressives, moderates and centrists who will NEVER allow you or your right wing white supremacist nationalists to live off our tax dollars while you point and delegate.

        Richard Spencer needs an Oscar for his award winning performance as Einstein. Too bad his brain power, like you, is in total obstruction mode.

        How about you grow up and stop with the alternate facts?

        Reply
    2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 4, 2017

      The fraud is you, “white owl”. By that, I mean you give the outward indication that you’re a human being—but you’re a distorted human being. By the infantile adoration for an ethereal quality based on skin coloring, you have manged to deceive yourself into thinking that this in some magical way confers a superiority on those “Africans” whose skin coloration changed as they migrated northward to the higher latitudes from Modern Human’s original point of inception, in southeast Africa.
      Your beef with the article is not on account of facts but rather on this feeling to be superior. This is more in line with an impotent “white male”, usually one too lazy, mentally, to find out the truth about your origins, physical and spiritual. By avoidance of searching out this truth, this is another reason you are a fraud.
      Impotence on your part, and that of Robert Spencer as well, is a common trait shared by all racists. Such impotence is a direct consequence of having severed your connection with your Creator. As a result, this has corrupted your mind and your soul, and has served up a one-way ticket to an abysmal end in both this world and in the worlds to come.
      I’m telling you all of this in order to help you turn in that ticket that you may reestablish your connection with your Creator—He who created all humanity “from the same dust”. So, don’t tarry, heed my advice, investigate the veracity of my statement, and take the necessary steps to recover what you’ve tossed out with disdain that which your Creator invested you with. Otherwise, when you enter the next World, you won’t be able to use the excuse that no one told you about who you are and what your purpose in life is. That purpose is to recognize your Creator, acknowledge and appreciate His handiwork, and eschew all pretenses of being superior to your fellow humans.

      To get you started on the road to your recovery, I suggest you visit the website of the Baha’is of the United States of America at http://www.bahai.org. Or if you live in either of the “National Baha’i” communities in Mexico, Canada, Alaska, Great Britain, France, Russia, Japan, Australia, Hawaii, etc., you may contact the Baha’is in those regions.

      Share this message with all the other self-deceived little men who are motivated to be like the ill-mannered little tribe of boys marooned on an island as depicted in the work “Lord of the Flies”. There is but one Race—“The Human Race”. “White” is a color, an accident due to environmental necessity, not a quality possessed of some childish fantastical attributes.

      Please feel free to contact me for further elucidation. I am what you might derisively refer to—using that depraved soul, Matt Hale’s, foolish terminology— a “mud person”. Accurately, I am what is designated an African American, and like yours, my skin coloration is destined to fade into nothingness, back to the dust, when I step through the door of “Death” just as you will.

      Reply
      1. invincible white owl May 5, 2017

        TL;DR.
        Race is not merely “skin coloring” (that’s the least of it really).
        Not interested in this religion you’re proselytizing about.

        Reply
      2. invincible white owl May 5, 2017

        TL;DR.
        Race is way more than merely “skin coloring” (that’s the least of it really.)
        Not interested in this religion you’re proselytizing about.

        Reply
        1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 5, 2017

          Obviously, you are woefully ignorant of science, and know little of history and the DNA trail which genomics has clearly shown and affirmed what Baha’u’llah had plainly set forth back in the mid-19th Century.

          As such, you yourself bring a sort of “shame” on the so-called “White Tribe”, you show a degree of inferiority which dispels the myth singlehandedly of White racial superiority, and you demonstrate a willingness to discount the Message not ofnly of Baha’u’llah, but by extensuin the Message of Jesus, Muhammad, Abraham, and all other Messengers from God. To discount one Religion if to discount them all. Is that not so, and logically follows for the principle of “The Oneness of God”, “The Oneness of Religion”, and “The Oneness of Humanity”??

          So, either the “religion” you infer you follow is the false religion of “Whiteness” or some other degenerate idolatry.

          Which is it “white owl”? Talk to me and explain in clear and precise terms your basis for seeing yourself as separate from humanity according to the false non-biological concept devised by “Africans” who settled in Europe. What is your biological(not ideological) proof of “RACE”??

          I look forward to hearing from you.

          Reply
    3. Eleanore Whitaker May 4, 2017

      You do know what PhD stands for don’t you? Piled High and Deep. Take your nose out of books and live your life. Stop trying to command the tides like King Canute.

      There are many children more intelligent than PhDs. I know that because for 4 decades I worked with at least 3 of them. If it didn’t come out of a book, they couldn’t function. Equations are great for scientists, not for every day people living in the world as it exists.

      The only sloppy journalist today is from the Lard Ass in Chief who stays up till 5 AM to produce his Tweet Storms.

      Reply
      1. idamag May 4, 2017

        He suggests we read Spencer’s writing and listen to his podcasts because he thinks we might be gullible enough to be recruited.

        Reply
        1. invincible white owl May 5, 2017

          Nope. I suggest it only because I’ve observed how misleading & inaccurate most articles about him are. The best way to get an accurate picture (re anything or anyone) is to go to the source.
          If his ideas actually are as outlandish or reprehensible as you seem to think, then you’d be in no danger of being “recruited” by them, no?

          Reply
      2. invincible white owl May 5, 2017

        Uh, I never expressed an opinion (positive or negative) about PhDs.
        The article states that Spencer “failed to complete his education.” As a doctoral student (even if he left before completing the program), he’s clearly less of an educational “failure” than most people in this country.

        Reply
        1. Eleanore Whitaker May 5, 2017

          Uh, Thank you for defending your post. You do know that “defense” always originates from the perception of “weakness?”

          Reply
  3. Eleanore Whitaker May 4, 2017

    The latest issue of New Yorker Magazine has an interesting article about why the right wing is losing ground. The article names about a half dozen of so called right wing “nationalists” who, as you can’t possibly miss, are also hateful, middle aged white males who never got the attention their Mommies should have given them. Most are between the ages of 25 and 35, are rabid bigots and all are connected to Trump via Bannon and Stephen Miller.

    When rabid bigots pander to men of wealth, it is the same thing as the Republicans aiding and abetting high crimes and misdemeanors of Trump and “how” he won an election.

    What they’d love is for the entire country to take ZERO offense over Russian meddling into our elections. That way, they have a future of total Republican rule.

    The ONLY reason to pursue election rigging is to prevent it from EVER happening again.

    These so called white Nationalists are all frauds for one reason: Not a single one of them can lay claim to making it ALL on their own. If not for their upper class mommies and daddies who allowed them to spend 4 college years sitting on their asses while they cheated their way to a “degree” they now believe gives them “superiority” over the planet, they’d be Bowery bums living on Manhattan grates in winter.

    Reply
    1. idamag May 4, 2017

      I have friends who are highly intelligent. We can discuss a number of things and they know what they are talking about. I have friends who are bigots. There isn’t an intelligent person among them. When I am with my intelligent friends, we can discuss the minutes of the Continental Congress, John Locke and past presidents. When I am with my bigoted friends, we discuss the weather, the new fire department building and Mable (every boy on the block). They mostly like to talk about themselves.

      Reply
      1. Dapper Dan May 4, 2017

        Perhaps you might need to find better friends than the bigots. I have no tolerance for their BS. If it’s an occasional acquaintance or a relative I’ll usually bite my tongue. Its hard these days to try and pretend things are normal when so many people harbor such disdain for their neighbor

        Reply
      2. Eleanore Whitaker May 4, 2017

        My Dad came to the US when Italian immigrants were looked down on by the WASPS as dirty Dagos. So we learned early on just what bigotry was like. My maternal grandparents always hid the fact that my Grandmother was a Romanian Gypsy because of the stereotypes that all Gypsies are tramps and thieves.

        Cultures do shape history and what the right wing is desperate to do is pretend they are a “counter culture” very similar to the counter culture they hated most in the 60s…hippies. The fact is that hippies in those days lived amongst each other in PEACE. These right wing nuts want to play like mini Rambos.

        You’ll notice they are the ones who are now bashing protestors in the Women’s March, the Climate March and the Healthcare Protests.

        What do they protest? Minorities, women’s rights, income equality and anything else these contrarians born with deformed minds can come up with .

        I agree. You cannot carry on any conversation with any of them because like the seriously criminally insane, it’s their way or the highway.

        Yet, we all know what they are really doing: setting themselves up to get their asses beat in another Civil War.

        Reply
  4. idamag May 4, 2017

    This rise of white nationalism is so like what happened in Germany in the 30s.

    Reply
    1. Eleanore Whitaker May 4, 2017

      Trump hides his “nationalism” only because he already has a ton of guilt.

      Reply
    2. Yehudah Finkelstein May 4, 2017

      It truly is! I fear Another Shoah.

      Reply
  5. bobo65 May 4, 2017

    White Nationalism is being used as a distraction from corruption.

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 15, 2017

      White nationalism is more than a distraction, my friend. And anyone who can’t acknowledge that is either dead or tone-deaf to what is happening in America.
      Both corruption and racism are a bane, and neither should be given a free pass to continue.

      Reply
      1. bobo65 May 15, 2017

        I wasn’t suggesting that it isn’t very real, just that we now have a political party that waves that flag every time the topic of corruption comes up and it’s a mistake to let that distract us from their corruption.

        Reply
    2. anastasia157 August 20, 2017

      Yes, and they too are corrupt because they are doing it for money from the NGO groups.

      Reply
  6. Yehudah Finkelstein May 4, 2017

    Richard Spencer should be fined $6 million and imprisoned for his hate speech!

    Reply
  7. anastasia157 August 20, 2017

    When I read these articles about Nazis, Klu Klux Klan and white nationalism, I feel like I am reading the articles of people who are on drugs, and have lost their sense of reality. It’s worse than delusionary. These qualify as hallucinations. There is no White Nationalism. There are no Nazis. There is no Klu Klux Klan. There are however people wearing costumes, and the only question that should be asked is “Why are these people wearing these costumes?”: Also, I would like to know why the other side is carrying the Soviet flag. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1989. I would also like to know why others are carrying the flag of and naming themselves with the name of the communists who were fighting the brown shirts during the Weimar Republic in the 1920’s? They are wearing costumes too. Why are they wearing costumes and naming themselves with the names of political groups and parties that no longer exist? I think it is one big reality show and the media and press are the producers.

    Reply

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