Richard Spencer of the National Policy Institute is certainly staying busy these days. Fresh off of several high-profile events where protests and riots resulted in his not even speaking (including the Charlottesville disaster), Spencer is expanding his horizons to include speaking engagements in Europe. Or at least he might be. He was invited to speak at an event marking the anniversary of Poland’s independence, but the government is signaling that they definitely would prefer he stayed home. (Washington Times)
Poland pushed back Friday against white nationalist Richard Spencer’s planned appearance at a far-right conference being held in Warsaw next month on the eve of Polish Independence Day.
“In connection with the information regarding the planned participation of Richard B. Spencer in a seminar organized by the National Social Congress on the occasion of this year’s independence Day celebrations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expresses its strong opposition to visits to Poland by individuals who propagate views that are based on racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic ideas,” the Ministry said in a statement Friday.
“As a country which was one of the biggest victims of Nazism, we believe that the ideas promoted by Mr Spencer and his followers could pose a threat to all those who hold dear the values of human rights and democracy. We also believe that the views voiced by Mr Spencer are in conflict with the legal order of the Republic of Poland,” the statement said.
The National Social Congress, along with the Law and Justice Party, comprise most of what’s considered the “far right” in Polish politics, so perhaps it’s not all that shocking that Spencer would have received an invitation. But is he being blocked from speaking or even entering the country? The AP sent the question to a spokesperson for the Polish Border Guard, but they declined to answer, citing privacy concerns.
This report did, however, dredge up another piece of information which I’d been previously unaware of. This isn’t the first time that Spencer has sought to gain some traction in Europe and he’s gotten into trouble over it in the past. He attempted to hold a conference on Geopolitics, Identity and Nationalism in Budapest back in 2014. The original event was canceled, but Spencer attempted to hold the meeting anyway and wound up being banned from 26 countries in the EU for three years. That period of banishment ended this month, probably setting up the conditions for his invitation.
Spencer could find himself in trouble once again if he shows up there. As we’ve discussed here in the past, pretty much all of Europe holds the idea of freedom of speech in far lower esteem than we do in the United States. If any of the governments over there want to shut you up they are fully capable of doing so, and it sounds as if at least some in the Polish government would prefer to avoid any of the controversy and trouble which seems to follow Spencer wherever he goes.
Personally I have no use for Spencer and his white supremacist views. But back here in the United States, he does at least serve as a cautionary tale in our own debates. The left has taken to labeling anyone with any sort of conservative viewpoint as a white supremacist (or a “white nationalist” which is an idiotic term) and a Nazi. Spencer is the real deal, becoming famous for quotes about the need for the country to, return to its origins and remember that the White man once owned America. His followers have been known to offer a Nazi salute to him.
So how is that useful? As I said in the aftermath of Charlottesville, be careful about calling all conservatives nazis or white supremacists because you’ll be out of verbal ammunition when the real Nazis show up. Just something to keep in mind next time you’re teeing up some straw men.