A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece about the Republican Party foolishly purging supporters they should be willing to embrace. The focus was mostly on small-c conservatives and small-l libertarians who were a thorn in the side of either congressional leadership, gay, or grassroots activists. These are people who probably have long hair, dyed hair, tattoos, piercings and probably listen to punk rock, metal, rap, or Top 40 more than what’s considered your “typical Republican” fare of country or patriotic tunes. They also make up a larger part of “the movement,” and could help the party win more elections down the road, fight back against the leviathan of government (federal, state, and local), and educate a new generation of voters on why “safe spaces,” political correctness, and increased government spending are rotten ideas. They won’t always agree with the typical GOP platform, but if they’re fans of freedom and liberty, it beats being fans of authoritarianism, right?
What’s interesting is that the people who railed against reaching out to this version of conservatives and libertarians the most are the ones who are now in the news the most: the alt-Right and white supremacists. This group of “angry white boys,” to steal a line from Kevin D. Williamson, yowled that they were the ones who needed to be brought in because they were being forgotten. Donald Trump certainly acquiesced to them, bringing in Stephen Bannon while also embarking on populist rhetoric not heard since Andrew Jackson. Trump is now in the White House and white nationalists feel their voices have been heard and it’s time to “take the power back,” as Rage Against the Machine’s Zack de la Rocha might howl. It doesn’t matter if Trump’s victory may have been chiefly due to how awful a candidate Hillary Clinton was, with her campaign ignoring states like Michigan, which swung towards Trump. The white mob is ready to use their newfound anger to drive out freedom lovers and cuckservatives with their tiki torches, polo shirts, and Adolf Hitler quoting tees.
It’s time to flip the script and purge these racist, fascist Neanderthals from the conservative and libertarian movement, once and for all.
There are going to be people who read this and rightly say, “But this is a small group, who aren’t really conservative/libertarian, so I shouldn’t care at all about them.” The problem is these Richard Spencers and Peter Brimelows got their start in “the movement,” under the guise of paleoconservatism, while others are part of the Hans-Hermann Hoppe bloc of libertarianism. They are the wolves in sheep clothing looking to draw more and more people into their pack while ripping away at the foundation of freedom and liberty at the same time.
These backwards-thinking white nationalists and the commentators who cater to them need to be rejected, not just because of their policies but the fact that they give certain politicians and media outlets the chance to paint a broad brush across actual conservatives and libertarians. For every Justin Amash or Mike Lee, there is a neoconfederate-backed Corey Stewart. For every Ludwig von Mises or Thomas Sowell or Matt Kibbe, who preach the importance of liberty and limited government open to all, there is a Paul Gottfried or Pat Buchanan or Chris Cantwell, who charge after the windmill of “multiculturalism” while moralizing about the strong state like a preacher spitting out epithets on hellfire and brimstone. These grifters of “American values” are indeed the minority, but ones who will not stop trying to sneak in with the crowd inside the big tent.
Why do white nationalists, fascists, and their fellow travelers try to get into the conservative and libertarian circles? Because they believe the left is already filled up! The nationalists believe the same as the socialists in the power of the all encompassing state but are uninterested in a war until it suits their purposes, or at least goes after a target they hold sacred.
They have long sought to infiltrate those groups who believe in smaller, weaker government with racial and quite loony beliefs. William F. Buckley recounted his fight against John Birch Society founder Robert Welch in Commentary, describing a 1964 clandestine meeting between he, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater, Russell Kirk, and American Enterprise Institute founder William Baroody. The quartet decided to attack Welch in various different ways, to keep him from gaining further strength within the movement. Libertarians were quick to expunge Merwin Hart for anti-Semitism, thanks to the work of Foundation for Economic Education creator Leonard Read. The guardians of the gate were quick to make sure no white supremacists sneaked in, regardless of whatever Trojan horse they tried to hide inside.
Yet the conservative and libertarian movement of the last decade has passively accepted these insufferables, as long as they give lip service to limited government or key social conservative viewpoints like abortion and gay marriage. The white supremacists saw their chance during the heyday of the Tea Party and strolled back into the movement like Professor Harold Hill did in River City, Iowa in The Music Man. But unlike Hill, who found redemption through Marian the Librarian, these mountebanks are more in line with The Wizard of Oz, using tricks and sly words to get into power, and rule with an iron fist.
For whatever reason, the thinkers and organizers saw no reason to drive these individuals out as their ancestral leaders saw fit to do. One Latina libertarian friend of mine recounted being told, “No apologies!” by a Republican state office candidate after someone at a conference told her to return to Mexico. Her horrific crime which “deserved” a scarlet letter, much like Hester Prynne? Explaining why it’s important to be compassionate, yet not compromise principles! Tea Party organizers also decided to expand their vision from a critique on government spending, and freedom for all, into other topics, to increase their own numbers and draw more in. The intellectuals also failed in their mission. Richard Spencer was accepted by Duke Conservative Union and The American Conservative, while libertarians let Augustus Sol Invictus speak at New York Libertyfest last year. Cantwell was on Tom Woods’ show in 2014, while Cathy Reisenwitz wrote too many libertarians decided to just ignore Cantwell, instead of denouncing him. It is certainly honorable to be open to all, but whenever totalitarians see an opening, they’ll present themselves as an ally before usurping like Napoleon did the Council of Five Hundred. Organizers and thinkers need to be good shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks to make sure no sheep go astray into danger or destruction. It also denies the fascists the chance to gain power.
The key way of rejecting these fakers isn’t through violence or the government because that allows the wolves to play the victim card and whine into their keyboards how life isn’t fair. They can also coerce more people into their ranks, by tossing sympathy around like a business card and pretending to be martyrs. The strategy of shutting up the opposition through laws and violence also is completely anathema to the tenets of liberty and freedom of association, press, and speech. People have the right to believe whatever they want to believe, regardless of how hare-brained and cockamamie it might be. The idea of a nation “just” for white, black, or brown people is rather absurd within itself, even if those who want to put race on top believe it will lead to utopia.
It should be society who tells these con artists to go away, much like they did when the KKK attempted to stay relevant after most of America left them behind. As my friend, Jason Pye, wrote at Townhall, his mother raised him to “respect everyone and treat them how I wanted to be treated.” It was society who deemed the Klan inconsequential and treated their attempts into the public eye with scorn and derision, until their sideshows became as unpopular as MySpace: still around, but hardly worth mentioning unless one is remembering what not to do. There is nothing wrong with peacefully removing racist thought leaders from conventions, much like the libertarians did to Spencer at ISFLC in February, but the power of the state should not be used.
As for those who complain about the left’s violence, to them I say, “grow up!” These people are doing their best imitation of a toddler pointing fingers at another child howling “they did it first!” while the adults stare at both with cocked eyebrow and disappointed gaze. There is violence on the left, make no mistake, but it behooves those in the freedom and liberty movement to decry and condemn violence as a whole, no matter who does it. The good news is that there are more adults than toddlers in the world and most of them have already denounced what happened in Virginia, along with other actions by the so-called “alt-Right.” The adults who are lagging behind need to ponder long and hard whether the left should remove its eye plank, before the right does.
To those who believe violence is the way to wipe out white supremacy, I would say, “no” because violence puts innocents in the middle. It damages those who have no interest in being involved in a particular fight, and who simply want to live their lives in peace. To those who say the government is the answer to snuffing out white supremacy, I say, “no.” The heavy hand of government has no business in wiping away an ideology no matter how horrific it might be.
It falls on society to rid the world of hatred. It’s also up to intellectual and community leaders, along with politicians, to make sure these small-minded wannabe Jabroni try-hard nationalists are rejected and marginalized, and their philosophy tossed onto the dung heap of history.