Richard Spencer’s Mask Falls Off

Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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60 Responses

  1. Ozzzy! says:

    Is it a bad thing that I really dislike this man and at the same time am looking forward to when ‘white man’ isn’t used as a categorical pejorative 90% of the time?Report

  2. Chip Daniels says:

    The fact that phrases like “peaceful ethnic cleansing” are not, by themselves, enough for a person to be banned from public discourse is the buried lede.Report

  3. Saul Degraw says:

    The best way to defeat the alt-right now or in the future is to deny Trump re-election in 2020 and give the Republicans a several waves of defeat.

    When it looked like Duke could win the governor ‘s race, a newspaper famously wrote “ Vote for the crook, it’s important!”

    Now everyone is saying “I really detest Trump but vote for a Democrat. Do I really need to? Don’t you know that deregulation is important? More welfare? Ugh….”

    Well vote for the Democrat. The stakes are important.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      “Yeah, the Zionist orange man must be kicked out of office and replaced with a white person who can make deals with segregationists!”

      I’m not sure that’s such a good pitch, especially with David Duke supporting Ilhan Omar (D-MN).

      The thing about the alt-right is that they’re not actually right wing. Most seem to have been Obama or Bernie supporters. They’re disaffected rebellious youth who don’t align with existing parties or positions, and they span from far left to far right. Antifa is probably whiter than Spencer’s group, and they have no qualms about physically and violently attacking minorities, who are of course mostly white supremacists in Antifa’s logic. Most seem to be desperately seeking the affirmation and power that they feel the culture unfairly denied them.

      I would describe Spencer as a high-functioning movie-theater shooter. His intellect and drive kept him off the bottom of the pile (unlike most whites with prison tattoos), and also let him plan and organize instead of accumulating a rap sheet of “Florida man” style altercations.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

        In fact, if you look at pictures from Inauguration day, there is just a blurry spot where Spencer used to be.
        He was never a Loyal Party member.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          That inauguration analogy was more apt than you realized.

          Trump has always been overly cozy with the alt-right. They’re loud and love Trump, and so is he. He doesn’t think in terms of ideology, aside from noting that both he and they have populist leanings. Otherwise, he gave them no more thought than any random conquest in a coat room on the way to somewhere more important.

          But the right and the alt-right have never gotten along. They’re ideologically opposed. So there’s no need for the right to eliminate Spencer from their records. The dog not barking is that you can name off the top of your head 100 people who might show up for a generic “unite the right” rally, but didn’t show up for the one in Charlottesville. Because the right hates Spencer and his ilk. Even the fringier types, the Coulters and the Gavins and even the Milos didn’t attend the Charlottesville rally, because it reeked. Trump was right that there were good people on either side of the Confederate monument debate, but none of them were out-of-towners. It was locals who cared about the issue and the freaks like Spencer who tried to exploit it.Report

      • Pinky in reply to George Turner says:

        “I would describe Spencer as a high-functioning movie-theater shooter.”

        You do know your way around a well-turned phrase.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to George Turner says:

        I hope you can get long necessary mental health treatments after Governor Beshear revives Kynect.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Beshear isn’t going to be able to do anything. The House and Senate are still in Republican hands (61-39 and 29-9), along with position of Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor, and Treasurer. Democrats only won one state-wide race, the governorship, by 4659 votes, and lost the rest by 200,000 to 300,000 votes.

          Bevin only won his last primary with 52%, as the incumbent, because everybody thinks he’s a jerk,. Much of the GOP thinks he learned conservative ideas from a coloring book. He entered politics by challenging Mitch McConnell in the primary, and in that race he came out in favor of cock fighting. I figured he was a sleeper agent sent by Hillary and her people.Report

    • Brandon Berg in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      We shouldn’t be talking about Richard Spencer. We shouldn’t even know his name. I don’t mean that in a normative sense. I just mean that there’s no good reason for him to be a household name. He holds no position of power. He has very few followers. The National Socialist Movement has been around and just as irrelevant for 45 years, and I can’t name a single person involved in that.

      There’s been a deliberate effort to elevate Richard Spencer to a position of prominence far above what he actually rates, and this is a perfect illustration of the reason why. Who benefits from making Richard Spencer look relevant? Certainly not Republicans. It’s the left who benefit from creating the illusion that the alternative to them is Nazis.

      “Oh no! There are Nazis everywhere! You’d better agree to implement all the ill-considered policies I always wanted to implement anyway!”

      Try to be just a bit less transparent.Report

  4. George Turner says:

    I suspect he’s got narcissistic personality disorder, and that he’s been indulging in cocaine or meth, which can produce paranoia and narco Colombian levels of megalomania, as seen with Pablo, El Chapo, and Al Pacino’s portrayal in Scarface.Report

  5. North says:

    Further proof, in my eyes, that this scumbag wasn’t worth effort of the punch; even if it was coming from a cowardly Antifa loon. These vermin can be defeated with truth and patience, not by selling out liberal principles or cheapening liberal stances with violence.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

      Patience does not always work out. There is a not outside possibility that Trump loses the popular vote by bigger margin than in 2016 but still wins the electoral college because of his support from white men without a college degree and really old people in key states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Arizona, etc. This could be true with even ol’ , super-moderate Joe Biden as the nominee.

      “Polarization is a big factor. If political rivals regard each other as existential threats, they’re less willing to grant those protections to their political opponents. And people become polarized for various reasons — sometimes it’s about ideology, sometimes it’s about race or religion. Whatever the emotive issues dividing people happen to be, polarization makes it harder to grant these rights to the “other” side.

      A second factor is that political competition works a lot like economic competition. In democratic systems, unrestrained political competition tends toward monopoly, or towards single-party rule. If one side is very successful, like in Hungary or Turkey, they start to set the terms for everyone else. They become dominant and feel like they don’t have to grant rights to the losing side.”

      This is increasingly true in our Democracy. It seems to me that there is a whole swath of people, most of the in middle-age or older, but not all, that see the Democratic Party as perpetually illegitimate because the Democratic Party has support from all sort of (((those))) people, blah people, LBGT people, whatever. And a lot of them are determined to keep on to power no matter what.

      Then there is another set of people who realize that Donald Trump is dangerous and bad and unstable but they have been conditioned to hate the welfare state and regulation too much so if a Democrat goes too far, they might just say “But my tax breaks” and go for Trump. Chip and I keep asking this question and not getting answers but what does it say about someone’s moral compass if they say “Children in cages are bad but raised taxes are also bad so….” What does this say about a moral compass?

      I don’t understand what makes you think this can get better simply through time and patience and soaring rhetoric. The Richard Spencers of the world are not going away if Trump is defeated in 2020. The GOP will still continue to play footsie and outright pander to people who believe in white ethno-nationalism. Yes a lot of them are old but as we see from Trump’s judicial appointees, plenty are young enough to be around for decades.

      I don’t intend to go high just so I can be marched into a gas chamber.Report

      • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        I guarantee you that no one was happier about that punching than the Alt-right loons who received them. Wrestle with a pig, you both get filthy but the pig likes it. Antifa has been a huge gift to the right for its entire existence and I haven’t seen any signs of that changing.

        And ya know what makes polarization worse? The lefties wigging out and acting like mirror images of the right wingers. Liberalism used to promise we’d be getting rid of identity categories that oppress people but the way a fringe of the left talks about whites sure as hell makes it sound like they don’t want to get rid of those categories but simply shuffle them with whites on the bottom of the hierarchy. I few things that’ll strengthen the alt-right more than that kind of talking. Sure the right desperately magnifies and enhances this talk out of proportion but do we have to make it so easy for them?

        This isn’t just a question of principles Saul, but also pragmatics. I’m sure that there’s probably some scenario where punching Richard Spencer made things better but this wasn’t one of them. All it did was make his opponents look bad.
        We aren’t going to win by physically attacking alt-righters, that shit is playing to their level and it makes them stronger. I’m not calling for Obama level soaring rhetoric but merely perseverance and speaking the liberal truth. We’re not going to peel the undecideds and luke warm right wingers away from the GOP by going left wing lunatic and we’re not going to be able to look ourselves in the mirror if we abandon liberalism. Considering the population make up in this country and its geographical distribution a “go hard left and turn out the left wing base ” strategy is inherently handicapped for winning.

        I don’t want to lose an eminently winnable election because my leftier brethren are more interested in purity and virtue signalling than they are about winning this damn thing.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

          They were talking about white genocide in 1925 when it was the Yellow Peril, they talked about it in 1936 when it was eugenics, they talked about it in 1968 with the Black Panthers, in 1992 when Janet Reno got tough with the militias, again in 2008 when Obama was elected, and most recently when Spencer got punched.

          There is no possible action liberals can take to pacify them.

          Your very existence is an outrage to them. That you walk around freely is an affront to their Right Ordering of the world.

          They don’t want you to treat them as a respected equal- for them, that’s like having to sit as an equal to a monkey or pig- it’s an infuriating injustice.

          It’s difficult for liberals to grasp the existence of evil. Our belief in the perfect ability of humankind is our weakness.Report

          • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            I don’t give a damn about perfecting those mother fishers. Fish em! I want them powerless and marginalized and a temperate response that lets their low info allies and lukewarm supporters drift away is the strategy best designed to achieve that goal. Shrieking racist at them and everyone else for that matter only defangs the accusation of being racist and lets the real racists swim comfortably in a herd of indignant mundane folk who just got sweepingly defined as racist.

            Nicholas Klein said ‘First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.”
            Where the fish do lefties get off promoting the alt right past stages 1 and 2 all the way up to stage 3? What did the alt-right ever do to deserve such kindness and charity?Report

            • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

              If a self professed Nazi is not one of the “real racists” I shudder to think of what is.Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Nope, he’s one of the real racists, all the more reason to marginalize him and allow him to be-clown himself. He deserves mockery and scorn, not physical assault- he’s not worth physically attacking.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                I know this is a perennial argument, and I don’t begrudge the “Ignore/ Belittle/ Mock” side.

                But I prefer the “Punch/Carpet Bomb/Stalingrad” strategy.Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                While masked of course, yes? Social justice isn’t important enough to risk getting suspended over or getting an assault charge on one’s student record over right?

                Maybe get some muscle over to rough up the journalists too right?

                *edit* On further thought that is harsh and I apologize for it but I cannot for the life of me shake the impression that people who buy into that strategy are the alt-rights useful patsies.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to North says:

                No no, you aren’t too harsh at all.

                Because I’m being semi-facetious myself.

                I really hope cooler heads prevail and justice triumphs through the system. And I know how easy it is for me to talk big at a keyboard.

                But its also not out of the realm of possibility that once again, Nazis will require violence to be suppressed.

                We, meaning most of white educated America, have this tendency to dismiss the radicalism and propensity for violence of white supremacists.

                Like, I am pretty well read on American history,but was shocked to discover, at middle age, things like the Tulsa massacres, or Rosewood.

                Or that when those guys form militias and go out practicing in the woods for a violent overthrow of America,. they effing mean it.

                And that there is a frighteningly high number of law enforcement and military types who, when push comes to shove, will side with them.

                But somehow, guys like us chuckle and wave our hands like it is a big joke. I used to. But I don’t any more.Report

              • greginak in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                It’s not that you don’t have a decent point. But most militia/LEO/ radio, tv loudmouths will never put their asses on the line for white supremacist bs. Almost all of them are doing pretty well so they have to much to lose. It’s the hardcore losers who act out RW violence but they are inherently hard to mass organize. Sort of like herding nazi cats. So pay attention to them, protest against them, arrest them when they plan bombings but stay calm and don’t do things that feed their need for publicity.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to greginak says:

                That ship has up and sailed my friend.

                We have a Nazi sympathizer sitting in the Oval Office and he is amplified 24/7 by the most watched cable news empire in the world.
                Youtube channels devoted to exploring racial consciousness earn millions of views.

                I think we are in a place roughly similar to 1939 when tens of thousands of Nazis marched in New York; They won’t allow us to ignore them any longer.

                And- for the record- I would love to have someone dig my comments up in 2029 and we all laugh about how Chip was so hysterical.

                As opposed to y’know, the alternative.Report

              • North in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Except, ya know, they can’t find a thousand Nazi’s anywhere except behind the keyboard, let alone ten thousand, or ones who can/will march in public.

                I wouldn’t say that violence is never justified against nazi’s; I’m not a pacifist. But we haven’t come close to that line in my opinion. We’re way way back from that line where violence against Nazis empowers them.Report

              • InMD in reply to North says:

                Maybe I’m outing myself as normie scum but am I the only one who hadn’t heard of Spencer until he got punched on tv?Report

              • North in reply to InMD says:

                I was only very vaguely aware of him myself.Report

              • Gabriel Conroy in reply to InMD says:

                “Maybe I’m outing myself as normie scum but am I the only one who hadn’t heard of Spencer until he got punched on tv?”

                This. I had heard of him as that stupid guy who yelled “hail Trump!” But then I promptly forgot his name. But when he was punched, I remembered his name and haven’t forgotten it. The punching was free publicity for him.Report

              • InMD in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I was about to jokingly say ‘better go buy a Mossberg, just to be sure.’ But then realized you’re onto something here Chip, but in a backwards way.

                What you’re describing is the same fear that a rump of the wishy washy, minimally committed, low info conservatives out there have. Not people like Spencer whose stated beliefs speak for themselves. But enough
                regular people who see the PoMo woke stuff, and the number of people in powerful places who at least pay lip service to it, and think ‘it’s not so nuts to think they’ll come for me and mine one day.’ Then obviously we have this whole media apparatus dedicated to telling them that is the case.

                Of course I put the realistic chances of that happening in a similar range as the possibility that right wing militias will rise up with shadow support in the military or law enforcement. There are crazies out there with the capability of some deadly but ultimately small destruction. But there are also a hell of a lot of social and economic forces (and frankly firepower) arrayed against anything getting anywhere close to apocalyptic. I’m 99.99% sure anyone who tried it would be in a casket or federal prison quite quickly.

                The question to me is whether we let ourselves become them. So afraid of these phantoms that we’te stocking up on ammo and
                building our own ugly, mean tower staring right back at theirs.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to InMD says:

                I think you are dead on InMD. And it speaks volumes to how little the two sides of America speak to each other to be so ready to immediately blame the Other for all wrongs.

                And even sadder is that we have a political system designed with just this in mind, but no one likes the ideas that it enables.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Aaron David says:

                Heather Heyer demanded to live;
                Other demanded she not;

                Aren’t we mature and sophisticated enough to see that the sensible position is somewhere in between those extremes?Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                And non-sequitur man has non-sequitur.Report

  6. I’m old enough (more than 4) to recall seeing on this very website cautions not to dismiss the Alt-Right. They had things to tell us, and we should listen with an open mind! But you know who didn’t pay attention to that? Those goddam PC SJW snowflakes.Report

    • North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Two things can be true at once.Report

      • pillsy in reply to North says:

        Can be but aren’t.

        Really the norm against entertaining the ideas of people who advocate for white supremacy and ethnic cleansing was, in fact, good, and treating them with anything better than contemptuous dismissal is bad.Report

        • North in reply to pillsy says:

          Physical assault is significantly “better” from their point of view than contemptuous dismissal.Report

          • pillsy in reply to North says:

            I don’t see how it can be true that the Alt-Right can advocate for ethnic cleansing and that we should listen to the Alt-Right with an open mind, and people were definitely advocating the latter on this site within the last four years.Report

            • North in reply to pillsy says:

              I have absolutely no brief for listening to Alt-rights positions with an open mind. I’m quite close minded to their arguments for ethnic cleansing and am only interested in hearing them enough to formulate good counterarguments (which is not hard).
              Some cowardly masked idiot throwing a punch sends the message that there aren’t arguments against these nazi fishers and that we must resort to violence instead. Fish that, and fish him.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Nazis! What do they know? Do they know things? Let’s find out!

      The thing about fucking goats ironically is that you are still a goat fuckerReport

    • pillsy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      There are articles in the archives where people approvingly cite Spencer.

      Just saying.Report

  7. InMD says:

    There was a mask?Report

  8. Jaybird says:

    And here’s where we discussed Punching Nazis back in 2017, if you care to read what was said then.

    (I’m surprised that *THIS* was what knocked RS off his throne. Did we really learn anything new?)Report

  9. Sadly, I probably needed to listen to it.Report

  10. DensityDuck says:

    holy shit richard spencer’s a nazi apologist