By John Miller
17th October, 2017
The Suffragette movement is just over a century old now in the West, and giving women the right to vote is one of the few things that is still uncontroversial in both camps of the diametrically opposing political tribes. In the Age of Trump, when the Right is being remade in a withering furnace that is burning away the truisms of the Bush Dynasty era, just how should we take this latest bomb thrown into the camp by Spencer?
Trump no doubt loves our great women voters. He has rather blithely stepped on a few Feminist toes, and we are all aware of his past as a vulgar playboy, complete with a public record of lewd and even shameful conduct towards women that once would have immediately disqualified him as our standard bearer. Alleged nice guys like Bush and Romney were supposed to represent our values, until it turned out that they either didn’t or couldn’t.
The coalition of values voters and small government conservatives who pine for a return to the Reagan era have found their man in Trump. The latter could not be happier at the loss of Obama era red tape, and gleefully watch as the sticky fingers of bureaucrats are slapped away by Trump from the marketplace. We feel entirely vindicated as the American economy shows how much better it performs without a community organiser to tell it what to do. The social conservative is having his moment in the sun too, as Trump champions Christian causes with great gusto.
So what does Richard Spencer have to do with any of this?
The Spencer bogeyman seemed to come from out of nowhere during the Trump inauguration, when the self-anointed leader of the nebulous Alt Right movement was caught Heiling Victory and returning the Roman salute of his followers. This tawdry display of Nazi cosplay saw Richard and his movement quickly disavowed by Trump and by Conservatives, but the Alt Right decided they would stick around anyway.
What is the Alt Right? The label seems to have affixed itself to the Breitbart crowd, who would also like to disavow, but it mainly belongs to a ragtag collection of Milo style YouTube agitators and to the 4Chan trolls. In all fairness to the Chans, no matter how much he tries to be their living embodiment, they are not very fond of Richard either. The Alt Right is basically the zeitgeist of the worst supporters of Trump. It is mired in schadenfreude, and it invariably couldn’t care less about how toxic it has become to the many fine causes advanced by the President.
The unpardonable crime of young Richard was being caught in the act of channelling his innermost Nazi, which in Chan-speak is called revealing one’s power level. His Alt Right swiftly lost any potential influence that it may have hoped for, and his divisive and corrosive ideas went to the margins of the fringes of political discourse where they belonged. The white ethno-state for America championed by Richard was never going anywhere.
Yet somehow the Alt Right has managed to successfully hijack the debate about Confederate symbols, and with tragic consequences, and so we are all still talking about him. When he is not killing women, he likes to use them to grab headlines.
These days everybody on the Left seem concerned about Russian interference in our Democracies, so let us talk about that. To my mind it is neither controversial nor illogical to suggest that the Alt Right is simply BLM and AntiFA for racists. All of these organisations share a common goal, to poison the well of American democracy and fuel division in the West, and they do this by fuelling the politics of resentment and division.
The Alt Right may seem like the antithesis of the Black Lives Matter movement, but Trump was right, Spencer and his tiki torch Nazi mob are just the angry white equivalent of BLM rioters who want to kill cops and set the streets on fire. There probably were bad dudes on both sides at Charlottesville, and you ought to be able to say this without being labelled a KKK Nazi.
There was clearly a preponderance of really decent people who turned out to stand up to KKK Nazis, and one of them had just been killed by a KKK Nazi, but the basic idea that not everybody who wants to keep Confederate monuments is a KKK Nazi ought to at least get a fair hearing. Over and above this, even KKK Nazis have a right to free speech, and everyone is entitled to equal protection under the law.
BLM has used the mantle of social justice to justify itself, and AntiFa seems alluring as a lovable band of rascals who protect the marginalised, but these principled movements have quickly degenerated into vigilante street mobs that violently attack Trump supporters every chance they get. That the hate mobs of the tolerant Left are now being met on the streets by their even more repugnant Right-wing equivalents should be of no surprise to anybody familiar with the history of the real Nazis, so what exactly is the end game of these groups?
The main beneficiary of all this stupidity seems to be the Russians, who gleefully chip away at our free and civil society on your Pokemon Go, on the comments section of your favourite YouTube celebrity, on all your social media, and in the safe spaces and thought silos of what used to be the anti-police Left and is now the anti-Trump hivemind.
We know now that the Putinbots fanned the flames of Ferguson and the other BLM riots from the beginning. What is also becoming clearer by the day is that it isn’t just Putin, and it isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Dead cops on the streets of America are just as valuable to the Russians and the Red Chinese and Iranians and North Koreans as dead black men were. You just use one tragedy to stir up one side, and then you use whatever violent reaction you get to rile up an opposing set of rubes. It would hardly surprise me if Spencer turned out to be getting his funding from all types of dark places. The idea that these guys aren’t playing both sides strikes me as naïve in the extreme.
In the long run Richard Spencer will eventually vanish, and some other agitator will come along and take his place. Nobody is likely to take away the votes of women in America because of anything he says or does. What is likely to go first is your right to free speech, as the Democracies are forced to react to the street violence and the domestic terrorism which he inspires.
What Richard Spencer claims to fear most of all is de-platforming, as the electronic media platforms and gatekeepers of internet communications become increasingly sick of the bullshit of Richard, and of people like him. I can still find a lot of Spencer videos on YouTube, and I hope it stays that way. I think we should discuss why women deserve the vote (or not), why civic nationalism is great (or not so great), and why it’s a very bad idea to start putting limits on free speech (or maybe a very good idea).
Those of us who agitate online for the President need to do so with some moral clarity, and we could well do without Richard Spencer, but his arguments are just as worthy of a public hearing as mine or yours. I would prefer a civil discourse. People have always yelled at one another, but now we have what looks like the same gangs of crisis actors and useful idiots who turn up every time and make sure things get violent.
If the Left could narrow its definition of what is a Nazi back to a definition that didn’t catch everybody it disagreed with, and if it would stand up for Free Speech instead of getting steam-rollered by the jackbooted thugs of the Alt Left, that would be nice, but in the end we all must pin our hopes on the police. It is a thin blue line that enforces the right of everybody to have their say, and which keeps everybody safe. I for one appreciate the difficult job they do.
Yet even without all of the paid for (and the unpaid) agitators, our modern surveillance state democracies would continue to chip away at our individual liberties. With grannies back in Blighty being V& and B& by Scotland Yard for reposting objectionable things on their Facebook, at what point do we draw the line? How do we stay exceptional and free? I say by not allowing the Russians, the Red Chinese Communists, the Iranians or anybody else who hates our way of life to bait us towards the margins with their propaganda. This is not an issue of government, but of individual responsibility.
If you have been convinced that a populist centrist is somehow Hitler, then you need to go take a cold shower. Even the most cringeworthy demagoguery of Trump is far less threatening to democracy than the Leftist good-think used which has indoctrinated a legion of college brats into believing that Stalin did nothing wrong. Nobody is even arguing from the Right that we ought to de-platform all these tenured commies, we’re just wondering if we’re going to get a chance to tell them why they are wrong.
But please, feel free to tell me how I am wrong, and bonus points for not punching me. I’m not Spencer. I’m nothing like him.