The Devil and His Due: Understanding Richard Spencer and the "appeal" of the Alt-Right
The “face of the Alt-Right movement” is seen as a powerful figure among a shadowy mass of malcontents, trolls, and identitarians… but why?
You will no doubt remember me from my delves into Far Left politics. I have decided this time to pan the camera around to the other side of the political spectrum. This article is built to outline and summarize Alt Right personality Richard Spencer.
This gets difficult to sum up with concise details, as it must with anyone when you simultaneously attempt to genuinely listen and try to understand a person when you also oppose their ideas. Spencer is what some view as the “Face of the Alt-Right Movement”, and though the movement is fairly broad and mostly headless, he seems to speak as an authority on the movement's values, at least as much as any figurehead within the Alt-Right.
To give the devil his begrudging due, he carries himself confidently, speaks in an intelligent manner, and is very particular with his words. Even when conversations become controversially charged, he presents a calm demeanor that provides anyone who listens with a sense of brotherhood. If you see him talk in a room full of supporters, he associates and speaks with a dignified elegance that can be fairly called appealing. He is engaging to those who come to listen as if they were friends.
His raw charisma is a trait that is currently rare, given how the numbers of those who tend to socialize in the way Richard does have dwindled over the years. I could continue, but my point is merely to illustrate that the man possesses traits that, when taken at their face value, possess social merit, and are capable of inducing confidence and a sense of belonging to his movement, provided you are one who genuinely wishes to belong.
Herein we wade into the messiness. It is difficult to provide a simple summary of the Alt-Right, so in lieu, I will be working off of the movement by definition, namely what can be found if you look it up in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
But to further extrapolate, I draw your attention to the following:
“Definition of alt-right: a right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping based in the U.S. whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism”
This is the point where nailing Richard Spencer down on a simple point becomes difficult. He is certainly a Man who believes in Alt-Right Ideals, but he simultaneously has spent a lot of time claiming he does not hold to some of the core ideas. In any given debate or discussion, Richard has moments where he defends his views by casually denying certain associated ideals, such as forced repatriation.
Examples include him arguing that he is not a “White Nationalist”, or that he would not be so concerned with whether or not people would be “White Enough?” for his much idealized and Romanticized Ethno-State. The charm of it is that he will always talk, confront, and counter these claims, questions and statements without any outward appearance of being nervous or unsure. He knows what he is and what he wants. This raw confidence is what most find to be an allure due to his absolute sense of certainty.
What makes this Man someone who is intellectually capable and beneficial to his movement, (to the chagrin of most) is how he can convey his experiences and empathize with the experiences of others, both among his active supporters, and even just among people who find him relatable.
Take for example, the following:
Here, you can see Richard giving a talk titled “Why Do They Hate Us?”, a commonly asked question that pits the ideological Left vs him and his movement. If you wish to watch this video with a table of contents, I made timestamps to speed up the process for those who lack interest (or the stomach) to sit through the entire thing. I have done this to provide convenience for whoever needs it, with summaries included at each key point to provide enough details to allow you to decide a point of interest.
Richard Spencer Why Do They Hate Us?
A video from 5/8/2015
0:00 Introduction of Spencer.
1:31 Spencer steps up to the Mic. He begins discussing the meaning of the phrase "Why Do They Hate Us?", outlining the growth of hatred for the political right from the time of the 9/11 Terrorist attacks, and why it is relevant to his discussion.
2:22 Spencer begins by outlining what it is that is “hated” about "Us", and how that hate conveys that Society views "Race" as a means to an end. It is the means to say that we as a society view Race as Biologically real, and that its acceptance has tremendous social, cultural, and historical consequences. He explains this in a few ways.
3:52 Susan Sontag is referenced after Spencer explains "White Guilt" in how it is defined and approached.
4:20 Spencer talks about how a friend shared a Photographic Essay from Buzzfeed. A journalist Isaac Fitzgerald, met with attendees at the annual "Association of Writers and Writing Programs". He begins to mock the name, and details how the Journalist asked the attendees to send a message to the "White Straight Male Publishing Establishment" as well as White Straight Males in general.
The results get shown after this is detailed, and contains people showing signs that mock and belittle any and all who are White straight Males within the signs and their messages.
6:03 Spencer now speaks about how it is "Tempting" to focus on the people in the pictures. Stating how the people in the photos can be related to those who protest against Spencer and the meetings he has with his supporters.
He discusses how these loud protesters are mostly “Granola Communists”, “SJWs” and “Leftists.”
7:35 Spencer details how White Guilt eats away at us normally and in a consistent fashion on a daily basis. Becoming a normalized part of society.
He soon after explains how this "Why Do They Hate Us" term results in cases such as the Rotherham Rape Gangs. He lists how 1,400 children experienced rape in Rotherham, pointing out how it became normal in Rotherham to be raped and more as a relation to White Guilt.
10:50 Spencer summarizes how this provides proof as to how powerful White Guilt can be, due to how seemingly it's more damaging being labeled a Racist over being labeled as a Murderer or Rapist, when put in conjunction to the Rotherham Rape Gangs and how authorities and people handled them.
11:22 Spencer now puts into context in what it means now for White people when they confront such issues as Rotherham.
He also explains the contradiction of how people claim White people have no power but yet also seem to have all the power. He does so by explaining the extremes at which most make such claims.
12:35 Spencer references a Jewish joke to solidify his point on how absurd such extreme claims by Leftists and extremists really are, by clarifying how it is relevant to White people and how it conveys outlandish exaggerations.
14:22 Spencer recounts his experiences when he was arrested in a Bar at Budapest during one of his events his organization "The National Policy Institute" held, due to movements protesting against him.
22:32 After explaining how his Budapest experience affected him, Spencer begins asking "how do we make sense, of all these threads?" He then follows it up with explaining how White guilt and this hatred towards White people should never be chalked up to "Just some misunderstanding" as to how the Left know very little of White people and the individuals within the ethnicity.
24:13 Spencer begins talking about Sam Francis being perceptive when he stated how Modern people have yet to truly dispense with Morality or Religiosity like they think they have.
26:00 Spencer begins to elaborate further on how and why White Guilt feels very real to those who experience it, due to the society that condemns them by reminding them of it. He furthers this with more than one example spanning back to many past eras, through works of art and literature of their respective times. He claims White Guilt has been used as a form of attack on White people by the Left due to how toxic it can be to feel self-loathing and disgust in your race and birth.
31:25 Spencer again drives home his flagship message of "Why Do They Hate Us" in saying how the Left is "Giddy to live in a world without us" while referencing how it is on par with the way White Guilt causes White people to embrace their own oblivion. He claims White Guilt can be the cause for what he declares as "The Great Erasure".
32:17 Spencer details how the Alt-Right opposes the details spoken about up to now, in how it motivates the bystander to rise and overcome it.
He closes his speech after that, moving on to a Q&A.
32:58 The First question is asked: Spencer is asked how to best approach the people who "Hate Us" with love. Richard Spencer explains how he does not believe there is such a simple answer in a brief response.
34:43 A Second speaker, a fan of Richard’s, briefly conveys admiration and respect for him, while appreciating Spencer sharing his experiences in Budapest. They also comment on the apparent uniqueness behind Spencer.
36:14 The second question is asked. In correlation to the prior points in Spencer's speech on "Why Do They Hate Us" where society views White people as an "Other" in order to degrade and shame them. How in turn, does the movement, in order to further itself, produce an "Other" to best combat these issues?
Spencer responds with a very mixed message, explaining how it may sound like a contradiction, as he details what he thinks about how the movement should act in regards to society. Surprisingly, he ends his answer on something wholesome and insightful.
38:01 Someone comes up to the mic to compliment and talk fondly of Spencer. They also share their experiences in a courthouse that had not a single White person in it.
39:45 Someone else takes the mic, and tries to answer Spencer's question on "Why Do They Hate Us". He quotes Aesop’s fables, stating “The hungry wolf will always hold a grudge against the fattened sheep.”
40:15 The third question raises a possible misunderstanding of how the person asking interpreted Spencer's words, in that he believes Spencer was perhaps accusing Christianity and Judaism as the cause of White Guilt. The man fielding the question then states that he believes it came about much later, as Christianity was a rather confident societal norm until recently. He asks Spencer specifically what he thinks about that.
Spencer clarifies that he agrees that White Guilt is a “Post-Christian phenomenon”.
The video ends after this.
As noted, Spencer is renowned for his ability to control a room. He is affable, confident, but soft-spoken, and dares not charge his terms with controversial sentiment despite the very accusatory nature of his speech. He makes enemies of the left in a very smooth and calculated manner, and much like that very specter of the “hungry wolf” his associate so proudly proclaimed of, he stalks those who are willing to hear him out, convincing them with the subtle but imposing fear he instills.
It is important, when understanding someone you disagree with, to know and understand the reason why people DO agree with them. Of course no one reasonable would follow along, goose-stepping beside a grand wizard in broad daylight this day in age, but to hear someone make a subtle declaration, a soft-spoken claim of how whites are being systematically replaced, or that White Guilt is a tool used to pervade and cow society? People will eat that up.
In a society that teaches people that being a victim is the best way to show how virtuous you are, people will latch on to whatever gives them the right to call themselves victimized, and lay claim to whatever sympathy they can glean from it. Only later will they find themselves filled with spite when they are ostracized for their views. This cycle breeds a slow but steady pipeline of followers for people like Spencer, the very same kind of people who are committed to playing the long game. It doesn’t take much to see the game Spencer is playing, but it takes a keener eye and a willing mind to see how he is playing it, and what exactly it is that makes him dangerous.