Responding to the New York Times

For those who are discovering us for the first time through the article in the New York Times, I would recommend that you read through the Radix Journal archive (our site for cultural writings, which is frequently updated) and consider reading some of our books or reports. You may also want to consider attending our upcoming conference, Become Who We Are, which takes place in Washington, DC, on October 31.

A week ago, I had a civilized interview, of about 45 minutes, with Michael Wines, a long-time reporter from the New York Times. Unlike a lot of “point and sputter” journalists, Wines seemed to be curious about what made me tick intellectually. Very little of our discussion—about identity, the contradictions of liberalism and multiculturalism, and the meaning of Americanism—made the final report. Though everything we discussed I’ve spoken of publicly in my last two speeches.

Here is what made the report.

Richard B. Spencer, the 37-year-old president of the white nationalist National Policy Institute in Whitefish, Mont., embodies this new generation. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and studied for a doctorate in history at Duke University. Now he runs an organization that produces papers on issues like racial differences in intelligence and the crime rate among Hispanic immigrants.

As I’ve said many times, The National Policy Institute’s foundational location is Virginia. It functions, by necessity, virtually, and we publish thinkers from around the world. I’ve become annoyed by NPI’s association with Whitefish, for the reason that NPI has never held and will never hold any kind of event in Montana, and we do not actively engage in local matters.

“America as it is currently constituted — and I don’t just mean the government; I mean America as constituted spiritually and ideologically — is the fundamental problem,” he said in an interview. “I don’t support and agree with much of anything America is doing in the world.”

This is shorthand for a number of topics I’ve dealt with recently.

Mr. Spencer, who runs the National Policy Institute, said in an interview that he fantasized about an Aryan revival in the style of the Roman Empire.

For what it’s worth, throughout the interview, I used the term “European,” not “Aryan.” This is not to say that the term “Aryan” is illegitimate; it is an important anthropological concept. But due to “Aryan’s” connotations, I find the word more often confuses or repulses people than enlightens them—which is probably why Wines and his co-author used it.

Anyway, I have always stressed that the “Ethno-State” is a fantasy, in the sense that it is not going to emerge next Tuesday and our current geo-political dispensation is undeniably stable for the foreseeable future.

That said, I take fantasies seriously.

In the 19th century, communism and Zionism were two “impossible,” “utopian” ideals; and both were easily dismissed by “realists,” who couldn’t imagine anything beyond the balance of power of the time.

As I discussed in my speech on the Ethno-State, a movement must have an ideal, a telos, an end-goal that channels action. This is the function that the “dreams” of communism and Israel played for the Left and Zionists.

“Conservatives” rarely have such dreams. The best they can do is yell “stop” at an ever-changing world, that is, resist the Left, weakly and ineffectually.

It’s also worth pointing out that the contemporary Left has itself lost so much of its “utopian,” forward-looking character, perhaps as a result of being institutionalized, that is, by being “ruined by its own success.”

I would also be remiss if I didn’t criticize the “meta-message” in the Times report. The chief reason the paper is reporting on me and others—whom it wrongly refers to as “white supremacists”—is because of Dylann Roof’s murderous actions. No individual from the article has any real connection to Roof, nor does anyone support his actions. (Roof putatively read the Council of Conservative Citizen’s website, which reproduces local and overlooked news stories about crime and other matters. The CofCC hardly instigated any kind of violence. My own thoughts about Roof can be read here.)

The Times article is thus an effort to “understand” Roof by linking him, however irrationally and tangentially, to writers, thinkers, and activists whom the Times already disliked.

The reality is that Dylan Roof was a mentally unsound young man. Mentally unsound people can latch on to all kinds of political and social movements. The issue that should have been of national concern after the Charleston shooting is the reality of mental illness—and what we as a society owe people who are incurably ill. Yet this is a topic, for a variety of reasons, few Americans are willing to discuss seriously.

It’s much easier, and more gratifying, to blame “racism” or the Confederate Battle Flag.