Correcting Sussman

Earlier this month, the ever loathsome website Salon published a hit piece on American Renaissance by a Professor Robert Sussman. While Jared Taylor and Michael McGregor have both written excellent responses, there are still a few mistakes and misrepresentations worth addressing. As Mr. Taylor notes, Prof. Sussman makes much of a subscriber’s survey taken in 1997, so a closer look at its results, and what Prof. Sussman claims the results are, is in order.

First, there are the blatant errors. In his examination of responses regarding “Americans Who Have Advanced White Interests” he notes that Revilo P. Oliver made the list, and writes that he, “argued that Hitler should be recognized as ‘a semi-divine figure.’” The quote is completely out of context, and comes from a footnote in Dr. Oliver’s book America’s Decline in which he speculates: “It is also possible that if our race recovers its lost vigor and ascendency, a future religion may recognize Adolf Hitler as a semidivine figure.” Prof. Sussman’s error in this case is particularly curious because the late Dr. Oliver was indeed a fan of Adolf Hitler, and other, accurate, quotes could have been employed to demonstrate this. Perhaps Prof. Sussman is unaware of this fact, since he sloppily paints so many people as Nazis without fact-checking.

Also among the figures readers chose for “Americans Who Have Advanced White Interests” is Wilmot Robertson, who Prof. Sussman says, “viewed Hitler as defender of the white race.” Wilmot Robertson published and edited a pro-white monthly called Instauration for over a quarter century and wrote three books. Nowhere in the thousands of articles published in Instauration, many of which can be found online can I find an instance when the late Mr. Robertson wrote a positive word about Hitler. In none of his three books is Hitler cast in a positive light, and one of those books is about creating a White ethnostate, a topic that would provide ample opportunities to cite Hitler as an example. Prof. Sussman, of course, provides no citation or source for his claim about Mr. Robertson’s supposed Hitlerism.

Aside from these two errors, Prof. Sussman has impressively cherry-picked the results of the reader’s survey, or perhaps as James Fulford suggests, has aped the cherry-picking from William Tucker’s The Funding of Scientific Racism. From the results of “Americans Who Have Advanced White Interests” he named the following people who made the list: Jared Taylor, David Duke, Robert E. Lee, Arthur Jensen, William Shockley, Wilmot Robertson, Revilo P. Oliver, William Pierce, George Wallace, Madison Grant, and Theodore Bilbo. Readers of Prof. Sussman’s will likely think that these figures were the most popular among American Renaissance readers, but that is far from the case. Prof. Sussman seems to have plucked what he thinks are the “scariest” names from the results and omits many figures whose presence on the list would force him to think twice about his smears against American Renaissance. The top ten, in order, were: Jared Taylor, Pat Buchanan, David Duke, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Francis, Robert E. Lee, George Washington, Wilmot Robertson, Nathan B. Forrest, and Arthur Jensen. Everyone not in the top ten received less than 30 votes – less than eight percent of reader’s votes.

Furthermore, the list demonstrates an ideological diversity among American Renaissance’s readership that is shamelessly washed over by Prof. Sussman. Revilo Oliver is of course mentioned despite getting a mere ten votes, but Richard Herrnstein, a Jew, with nine votes goes unmentioned. It also goes unmentioned that George Wallace was an American veteran of WWII, and that Theodore Bilbo voted to enter that war when he was a United States senator. The fact that many pro-white figures in history were staunch anti-Nazis seems to be a nuance beyond the grasp of Prof. Sussman.

Overall, the most glaring and sustained omission on the part of Prof. Sussman is the omission of regular Jewish participation in American Renaissance. In his hit piece, he uses the word “Nazi” eight times, but “Jew” only appears three times, and each time in the context of American Renaissance’s supposed animosity towards Jews. Prof. Sussman even discusses Jews Robert Weissberg and Michael Levin, and their ties to American Renaissance, but never says that either of them are Jewish. Similarly, Prof. Sussman brings up the debate among American Renaissance writers about whether or not a White ethnostate is a good idea, but fails to mention that one advocate of a White ethnostate was Rabbi Mayer Schiller, who spoke at the first American Renaissance conference. In fact, at least one Jew has spoken at every American Renaissance conference except its most recent one. In the reader’s survey Prof. Sussman cites, Jewish writer Ayn Rand is one of the most popular fiction authors among readers, and the most popular subscription among readers was Chronicles, a magazine put out by an institute co-founded by Leopold Tyrmand, a Jew, and regularly published Jewish writers like Murray Rothbard, Rabbi Jacob Neusner, and Paul Gottfried–who has also spoken at American Renaissance conferences.

Somehow, despite all of this, American Renaissance is described as “pro-Nazi” and “anti-Semitic.” More damning still, is the fact that the relationship between Jews, white advocacy, and American Renaissance has been written about before, and does not require some kind of insider knowledge. I encourage Prof. Sussman to read Carol Swain’s well received book The New White Nationalism in America, which address this matter. There are also several free, and publicly available articles on the topic: Eugene Girin’s Race Realism and the Jews, Jared Taylor’s Jews and American Renaissance, Charles Bloch’s Race Realism: Good for Jews, Good for America, and Paul Gottfried’s The Limits of Race. Whatever you think of “the Jews”, the relationship between them and American Renaissance is nothing if not interesting and layered. Like Mr. Taylor, I await Prof. Sussman’s response, likely in vain.