The Rise of Populism and Nationalism

The Rise of Populism and Nationalism

hi I'm Howard silver for 25 years I led an organization called the consortium or social science associations that advocated for federal funding for Social and Behavioral Science Research the kind of research is offered by journalists and there are many stories about society and its politics although I am mostly retired now which is nice I do write a monthly column for something called social science I am also a frequent attendee of events here at sixth and I the supporter of the organization's wide-ranging cultural spiritual and arts program I'm also subscriber to the Atlantic it's my pleasure to welcome you here tonight the program this evening is the latest installment in an ongoing partnership between the Atlantic and 6th and I which brings the Atlantic's journalism to life through conversations with its leading editorial voices with an emphasis on exploring the ideas and topics most relevant to our lives the series has featured a diverse range of authors and thinkers including Tom Nahas keycodes and Marie slaughter and most recently David Frum in 1911 a writer named Norman Angelle said nationalism is more important than life itself something the world was to learn three years later now nationalism has taken on a new voice in American politics and it's shifting the cultural and political landscape in countries across the world the Atlantic's editor-in-chief jeffrey goldberg national correspondent graham wood and white house correspondent rosie gray have been charting this growing phenomenon in different regions tonight they'll discuss the future of nationalism in the era of President Trump and they will also dive into graham woods remarkable recent piece in the june issue of the atlantic his comment about Richard Spencer the leader of the alt-right movement who also happens to be Woods high school classmate the reaction to that issue of the magazine has been tremendous propelling the Atlantic to a new monthly audience record of forty two point three million visitors toward the end of the program you're encouraged to join the conversation by asking questions of tonight's esteemed panel and there are microphones in the front of the auditorium to facilitate that interaction tonight's event is being streamed live on backslash the Atlantic so if you know anyone who couldn't come please tell them that they can still tune in online so thank you so much for joining us tonight and thank you to the Atlantic for being such a fantastic partner 4/6 and I please join me in welcoming jeffrey goldberg graham wood and rosie Gregg [Applause] thank you everyone good evening and thank you for coming to this one in a continuing series that we're doing with six and I six and I is one of our best partners and I'm very appreciative to everybody who uh who works with us here the we're going to jump right in to this conversation but just give me a show of hands how many people here are in the alt-right currently just checking that's fine okay the we're going to find out I guess in the course of this if there is anyone here from me all right the let me start with with some definitions it I'll ask both of you to do this maybe Graham will start with you as you study the ideology here what what what is the all right are we correct to call it the all right and what if anything makes the alt-right different from the neo-nazis that skinheads that I covered in the 80s and 90s yeah I think there are a lot of people who when they hear the alt-right you know it's the term that the alt-right calls itself and there's obviously going to be some resistance to using a nomenclature that a reprehensible movement likes it's also it also happens to be accurate you know it they consider themselves a version of the right that was rejected by most of the right there's a political philosopher named Paul Gottfried who's probably the guy who first coined it as an alternative right and then Richard Spencer off in the woods in Montana started a magazine called alternative right calm and I think it just kind of got turned into something hip I got shortened has these things do to alt right now it stands do you object to use it I think its first of all like I say it's accurate and I think it's important to understand the origins of it as a rejection of a kind of right that we would have recognized from earlier in this millennium alright so I think it's okay to use now there are ways in which it is simply reviving forms of racism the nationalism that we saw earlier and putting a prettier face on it so I think when we use it we all we do have to be honest about the about its roots right to talk a little bit and then I'll go to rosianna but talk a little bit about what differentiates all right ideology from what we would think of as classical National Socialism ideology or classic fascist ideology yeah I mean one objection that I have to using neo-nazi has a word to describe say the ideology of Richard Spencer is that it sort of emphasizes the Neal a little bit too much there's not that much right Frenchy eighths and there's many things that it should be like a classic Nazi yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah so what differentiates it from other forms of right so the alt-right especially paul jatri was they were they were very they felt very aggrieved at being rejected by especially neoconservatives and you know forms of the right that looked upon them as a bunch of racists and they said no we're not we actually we just have some views about race that are very strong but don't don't emphasize that so much so when they when they call themselves alternative to begin with it was to reject versions of the right that were especially based on ideas about a free market about America about nationalism and instead in the case of Richard Spencer in particular to say that instead it's a different type of emphasis on identity that the right has not seen for four decades right Rosie um talked about it's a question that obviously people have asked for the last several months or a variation of a question of you the last of us or most Steve Bannon all right nationalists how does he define himself and how would you differentiate what Steve van and some of the people in a Breitbart cohort think with the Richard Spencer more overtly not securing this at least ideologue of of the all right well if you look at the abandons past statements about what he has said about his own ideology I mean he's used the term economic nationalists to describe himself there is actually that's just a more aggressive term for protectionist in a kind of way that's not that doesn't go anywhere near the stuff that Graham is dr. but he definitely I mean I think his has you know sort of embraced the term nationalist in terms of all right there is this one interview that he gave last summer during the campaign when he described Breitbart which he was I think still running as a time or maybe had recently joined the Trump campaign he described it as a platform for the alright and that's really the only time that he's made sort of an overt overturn in terms of him himself to the alt-right movement I mean I think at this point like we're up here sort of wrestling with what all right really means I don't think that I would characterize Steve ban and as as being part of the all right I I do think that that that under his leadership and in the time since then you know Breitbart has sort of shown itself to be kind of at times kind of halt right curious but I would not necessarily I would not lump in Steve Danon with Richard Spencer how do you what do you call the abandon I don't know what I would necessarily call Steve Ben and I mean a lot of these terms don't quite don't quite cut it I say that he's a populist I would say he's a nationalist I mean you know Breitbart summer favors the term populist nationalist describe kind of the Trump the trumpets movement you know ideology right I mean with Steve Bannon we have these conversations where we're trying to pick through interviews that he gave five years ago and try to figure out what the ideology is behind it and as with Crump we might have to face the idea that there is no coherent ideology there are definitely little snippets of conversations he's had including with Trump himself on his sort of podcast a radio program that are we could say if not all right curious alt-right compliant and that I think is what Richard Spencer in particular sees as as a kind of entry point to politics since he himself I don't think he thinks he's going to be elected to any position right but he hears Steve Bannon and others say things that would not be said by most people ideas about the identity of America as a culture rather than just a place that you know it and as a culture with a kind of exclusiveness to it right I want you to spend a couple of minutes on Richard Spencer your former classmate in a moment but but do one turn on this question this is this is one of those moments when people are only half paying attention over the last year so wait a second what's going on here that's the moment when Donald Trump embraced the the slogan America first and then was told I'm you might not want to use that because that was the the term of the limburgian proto fascists of the 30s and they said no no it's a good expression that's when a lot of people said what is going on here what's they do you know the story of how that came into circulation how that how that how that slogan came in front of Donald Trump and how he how he developed that is that is that been known I don't know it's necessarily known exactly the genesis of it I think it's something that he sort of happened upon and liked and kind of stuck with I mean in terms of I mean this is not a president and this was not a candidate who was you know super receptive to what he would consider you know sort of politically correct criticisms of his of his messaging but this political incorrectness and then there's not be slogans right oh yeah sure but I'm saying I mean you see him sort of like surprised that somebody told him that it was a Nazi slogan that he'd stuck with it whereas I don't it is true that human beings can get used to anything but when a leading candidate for president estates is sold that you're using a not the ish slogan and they continue to use it that's a relatively novel experience in modern American politics but you see this all the time even with Richard Spencer you know a video crew from the Atlantic captured him receiving fascist salutes and the response is always something along the lines of oh it was ironic or it didn't mean what it meant when it was when it was it was being done in Nazi Germany it has some other meanings so that there's there's frequently this kind of plausible or implausible deniability that that they'll use to deny with what seems obvious to to the three of us I think right spend a couple minutes talking about Richard Spencer how you met him how you lost touch how you figured out that you're Richard Spencer had become America's leading alright figure and and and and take us through to his place in the in the in the right-wing firmament today that's where I want to jump off to the next question so the first time I met Richard I believe was in chemistry class when we were in grade eight eighth grade he was my lab partner we did not choose each other as lab partners we we were assigned nobody would blame you for that by the way I mean I feel like I have to kind of back up as much as possible even from my 13 year old self decisions or not ahead but at that point and all through high school we knew each other your prom date David Duke with another story but yeah Richard was a totally normal guy for North Dallas in North Dallas was a Republican leading kind of place but republican-leaning does definitely does not mean all right all right I just thought of him in a way that that I know I never would read of course I felt a sort of snobbish attitude toward him as someone who was not part of my social circle who got worse grades than I did and who I expected once I graduated never to see again hoped never to see again and you know now I realized that that that he was something more than that within about ten years I encountered him here in Washington and there was something different I mean the first words out of his mouth after confirming that we were the same people who are eighth grade lab partners was was to ask me about politics and then to speak about politics in a way that was I mean politics pretty normal topic of conversation here in Washington but he wanted to talk about politics in a very philosophical way it was clear that he had really made use of his library card over the last 10 years he had changed from the Richard Spencer kind of a jock be student in the 1990s to being someone who really loved the play of ideas and wanted to talk about specifically some ideas from the early 20th century in Central Europe and thought that those ideas had new applicability now so we don't know and we can't look into the soul of another person but what do you think triggered this triggered him to move down this pathway that he moved toward fascism the University of Chicago now most people who don't go to the UFC and the Committee on social thought do not end up as Richard Spencer but it it seems like after going to Colgate and then going to UVA for his undergrad really getting into vogner for a while and then going for a master's degree at the at the University of Chicago where that play of ideas that philosophical play of ideas is it's expected it's a good thing he just landed on the wrong idea when the movies when music stops and that idea was a true love of a kind of authoritarianism that was defended in this intellectual sense in the early 20th century in Europe in specifically Nazi Germany right let's also pick up the narrative and and and take us to how he becomes the ideologue or the thought leader of this movement one of the things that's interesting about him to me is that it in my experience 20 25 years ago covering skinheads and the like that a lot of those people they weren't by any means intellectual I'm not calling Richard Spencer an intellectual per se but they they came to racism I've been working as an organizing principle of their lives they came to authoritarianism out of a set of very well developed of economic based resentments it's sort of the reason that poor whites in the 30s and 20s and forties and fifties were drawn to the KKK rather than middle-class or upper-class whites this is a different very different story story though on Richards he comes from a very wealthy background he has no grievance that I could name except perhaps being looked down on by the a students in our high school so not to say I thank you very much responsibility but I think for a while he he realized that there was more to him than just being a B student he had he had possibilities within and I think he probably what's wrong with running for Congress as a Republican though that's what I'm getting at yeah there are normal channels for this feeling and he did not he did not choose them continue with his development is it because he has this maybe greater brain power than the typical skinhead that he was that he rose and that he developed a set of ideas that people people latched on to what's the story behind you declined to call him an intellectual I think I probably would you know that Jack barzoon famously said intellectual is just a guy who carries a briefcase to work that's that's an intellectual today someone who has a laptop or a gmail account I don't know I think with Richard he's an intellectual in the sense that to counter his ideas you you need to do some reading you need to go to the library you need to do a few Wikipedia article skimmings you know it's not it's not as if he's coming to these ideas purely out of opportunism in fact you'd probably be wouldn't be more famous if he had better ideas but he would probably be have more opportunities in the future so it's it's not it's not it's not cynical it sincerely felt and it's it's a kind of kind of kind of intellectualism Rosie how popular is Richard Spencer actually it's question for both of you but but one of the things I'm wondering about and this thought is prompted by watching a fever seemed to break in France I'm wondering if we in the mainstream press if mainstream politicians in the general fear about the direction the country is going have made Richard Spencer and Richard Spencer figures a little bit too big in our minds I mean how how influential is this person uh I would say Mercer Spencer is less influential now than he then he was for sort of a brief moment in time I think that he's obviously more influential in this current political moment than Benny would be otherwise but I do think that on a couple different levels he's sort of not a son lost influence but I you know first of all there's the question of how many people really are alright how big of a movement is it really like we don't actually have sort of numbers you know I would argue that that doesn't mean that it's not influential I think that the fact that we're speaking about them right now is is is proof that they've had you know a really considerable influence on our politics and our political culture I mean another sort of thing that has happened within the alt-right that I'm sure Graham sort of heard about while he was reporting his story on Richard Spencer was there's been a lot of infighting and a lot of a sort of battle for the soul of the movement and sort of who speaks for it and there's kind of splinter movements and now some people don't want to call themselves alright any more like Mike Stern of edge for example and so he's he I would say that that Richards approached this sort of more highfalutin sort of more intellectual sort of sort of character that he said he has presented to the world is it's gone out it's gone out of style a little bit in terms of this kind of new right emerging in favor of the kind of Mike sort of edge types who are a little bit or in your face plain whom like turn of occasion my turn bitch is a sort of blogger and Twitter personality who used to call himself alright no longer does and represents I think sort of kind of a splinter movement off of the alt-right that we're sort of seeing emerge so two related questions of one is what role is Annie and I'll emphasize if any because I want to be farrier if any did did the alt-right play in the rise in popularity of Donald Trump and the second question goes to suspender directly is he seems to have broken with Donald Trump what's the cause of that but go to this go to this key question because I want I want to calibrate this exactly to be fair to everyone involved it did the alt-right have any influence at all in popularizing some of the less politically correct quote unquote ideas of Donald Trump I mean I don't think that you can really quantify the extent to which the alt-right helps get Donald Trump elected or popularize him himself I mean you do have to take into account that he was already sort of called for famous before you know before they came along in a number of different factors that led to this but but he was adopted by this movement yeah definitely well and I think I think that you could sort of argue the reverse I think it's sort of Trump himself that that gave them a certain like political salience that they didn't have before and I also think that it's important not to conflate the alt-right with with sort of the Trump base which is the real engine of have you got Alexis or I think you know the alt-right is sort of a very self-consciously kind of ideological movement and it's also sort of sort of diffused and mostly based online and I and I think that makes it really difficult to say what exactly their impact was in terms of transactional election I mean in terms of changing sort of our political culture and how we talk about politics and sort of moving the Overton Window I think that's where they really had impact what the Overton Window is just sort of moving the you know the boundaries of what of what is worth considered acceptable and normal speech right right any sense of why Richard Spencer and parts of the alt-right are breaking with Donald Trump I think the most important precipitating event for that break is Trump's or our strike against Bashar al-assad in Syria Trump for Richard Spencer I think and for much of the alt-right Crump was not alright Crump was simply someone who would would openly raise some of the issues that they all right thought were its pet issues one of the things that that Spencer seems very very strongly about things very strongly but is a pure oscillation of Vladimir Putin so anything that suggests that there's a break between Trump and Russia or anything that suggests that Trump is going soft on issues relating to immigration into the United States those are things that are Spencer will happily open hostilities with the Trump administration over either of those things can either of you explain the popularity of Vladimir Putin among far-right figures in the United States well I think there's a couple it's on sort of a couple different levels I mean one is this kind of valorisation of like white masculinity and this idea of sort of you know this sort of strong white european leader acting as a sort of a counterbalance to to you know to other sort of political he's the premier Christian soldier in the in the northern belt of countries in other words Putin right it's sort of a cult of personality kind of situation I mean grandma'd also be able to yeah I think that I think you hit on something it's probably the most important single factor which is a white alpha male kind of personality that many Albright figures seem to want to latch on to there's also a family reason Richard Spencer is married to a semi-pro propagandist or Lederman Putin that is you know it's a strong family what makes you a semi-pro propaganda as well opposed to a fully professional I don't know she she hasn't been written highlighters of this point it's a part-time job so the question then becomes that feeling about Putin in the all right does that feeling in any way explain feelings that some people in the White House might have for Vladimir Putin is there is there any kind of relationship between that well I think it's clear that Trump himself has you know something of an affinity for for Vladimir Putin but is that is that based on his his the fact that he's a symbol of white male Christian masculinity or is that because what their Putin said something nice about him once or is that because of some no no that's one of the theories obviously that if you say something nice about Donald Trump he'll like you but it is there any proof that there's this kind of romantic understanding of Putin inside the White House itself I'm not talking about in the legions of people outside the White House who valorize Putin in terms of trance I mean he you know he's shown you know a sort of you know a considerable record of showing this kind of acidity for you know authoritarian leaders basically and Putin's not the only one you know I would have to sort of see inside his head to see whether there's the same kind of sort of you know sentiment that I was describing before right but I do think that I mean it fits into into Trump's sort of sort of the way that he thinks about about these you know semi dictators around the world he's shown he said very nice things about several of them I mean in terms of geopolitics you know obviously Donald Trump has has not shown a great level of interest in kind of the transatlantic alliance and in keeping sort of Europe together and I think that that also explains part of his his sort of tolerance for Putin gram is there is there some sort of direct or indirect connection is there some sort of philosophical through line connecting some of the figures on the far right you know and some of the figures who actually work in the White House right now on this question there are social connections so Richard Spencer after he went to the University of Chicago is at Duke University for a PhD still unfinished in intellectual history he came to know Stephen Miller you can't help but ride down that guy's academic credentials you've been doing this for like 30 years it's Stephen Miller is very happy to distance himself from from Spencer but Spencer I think he does whatever he can to sort of be like a reputational lamb prey on those who have actually entered the White House and to try to to you know to take some of their power for himself do you if you had to name someone in the White House or in the that looks like one or two concentric circles out from the White House who most closely resembles the ideology we're talking about to sort of their proclivity for the city ology would it be Miller would it be where do you come down on that question well I mean while while being very careful not to like complaint things that shouldn't necessarily be completed I mean you know Stephen Miller is sort of the one that springs to mind in terms of you know being kind of a sort of hardcore nationalism like Graham said there is that connection for Duke although I don't think that they were close per se they know that he's Jewish do they know that Stephen Miller is true yeah I have to figure now yeah so so so yeah I mean you know Stephen Miller I think has been has been espousing some some pretty hard right ideas for you know for for much of his young life I mean and then if you're if you're sort of talking about these factions within the white house and which one sort of mostly kind of resembles what we're talking about here I mean you know you would you would sort of lump Steve Fannin in among then among that I mean I do think that this all sort of oversimplifies it but but if that's all right I think you've been ins definitely the person who many figures in the alt-right would say this is our guy the more influence that Steve Bannon has the more influence that we have but with someone like Richard Spencer that there's also he has a theory of the case of how these ideas are going to enter the mainstream and it's not that Steve Bannon is all right it's not that Donald Trump is all right it's that these are figures who are making certain discussions possible through the Overton Window it's by shift it's it's using something as ambiguous as a tweet you know something that can be read in many different ways and some of those ways are all right compliant you know it Richard Spencer he knows that if it's so much as discovered that Steven Miller has had a phone call with him then Steven Miller will probably be fired however you know Richard once said about about Donald Trump is that always be grateful to Donald Trump because even if he loses the election even if his presidency is a failure he's the one who has allowed us to talk about issues that that the alt-right cares about issues like the identity of America as a white Christian entity and issues like the criminal cabal's that have run this country for the last twenty years which he thinks some day and when the United States is a better place we'll be thrown in jail he says Donald Trump's away there but he is not himself you know on board do a quick continuum if you could of of the right today because I want to get to this question of of populism rather than nationalism because I want to make sure that we don't conflate two things that might be different but do a continuum of the right start you can start with the Heritage Foundation and move to the right or wherever you want to start no no I mean I'm just there's the the right that the right that we in Washington recognize and then there are things that were no longer recognized and fold into that and you're an expert on this as well fold into that where the Alex Jones of wing of American thought fall falls into into answer discontinued over that's a total sort of odd appendage I think this is amazing era neue is recognizable obviously yes and the paranoia is sprinkled in many different portions of the spectrum this is difficult to do because it's not a single dimension we're talking about anymore with with the alt-right I think we have to especially the Spencerian alright what we first have to distinguish is people who think that the central organizing political identity should be that of a race that of white Christians in the case of Richard Spencer and then all those other conservatives including neoconservatives including regognize who they think may be identity matters a bit but it matters much more that GDP Rises that right the next recession is averted or that's a kind of international order led by an American hegemony is what we what we need in the world these are all ideas that are an azimuth to the Spencerian all right because according to them it causes this truths about what we deeply are as white Christians to be kind of stamped down and forgotten right right but go back to this go back to this question of populism and nationalism are there or I'm going to ask you for your opinion on this are there acceptable expressions in American politics today of populist or nationalist feelings I mean are we are we lumping people who should not be lumped in with Nazis unfairly yeah and so the view of American identity as white Christian is a rather narrow view of what American identity is that doesn't mean there is there is there isn't some view of what American identity is that that most people in this room would accept and it just happens to be one that if you have any disk decency will include people of many different colors and religions and so forth so I think that there there may be people who a Spencerian Albright is trying to pull closer to them that think of the American identity is something narrower than what say Barack Obama might prefer but isn't quite to the point where it's defining people by their religion or their race right Rosie we're going to take some questions fairly soon but talk about the international dimension of this how much interplay is there between the the right wing here and their counterparts across across Europe and and was I right or wrong before to suggest that maybe at least in France this this bubble is bursting this kind of fever is bursting and that and that we're not going to see of a wave of nationalism sweep across countries that previously had unalloyed reputations as open democracies well to take the first part of your question I mean it first it depends like which part of the right you're talking about if you're talking about the sort of a nanite right there's definitely been been there there have been over terms that have been made you know Steve Bannon has has spoken highly in some of these spheres in the in the European far right be spoken of positively well for example the Philip n-nice she's been someone she's a very popular character actually on the American alright and so and Breitbart has written about that the smoother version of her aunt was a smoother version of her father because that's their well huh yeah I guess if you're sort of going to go down to the generous that way sort of yeah in terms of what this means for for the future of populism in Europe I mean you know I and many others kind of saw Donald Trump's election as as him sort of leading this global sort of populist nationalist wave in the intervening months it seems like it's not as much as a sort of upward movement as we may have thought I would argue that it's not necessarily that a fever is broken and it's more so that that this this type of ideology has become kind of baked in the case in certain places not necessarily growth trajectory anymore but it was sort of part of the political firmament so that's the real that's the interesting question right right right right there is of even if these parties don't win in across Europe for instance or other places are there ideas now in the discourse in a way that they weren't two years ago yeah I think absolutely the way that that the alt-right likes to speak of this introduction of ideas is the term red filling and I'm red pilling to to take the red pill like in the movie The Matrix the matrix well red come take the pill and then you realize that you've been enslaved for all these years mentally and that actually the aliens are taking over your mind you take the pill and then you realize who you really are what I think the alt-right thinks is that this wave of nationalist victories or near victories is a kind of collective red filling where people whether or not these particular political movements succeed they're waking up slightly and they're thinking of in terms of identity in a way that that they had been taught as Dogma in schools in in politics forbidden to speak of about identity in these ways and now it's impossible not to think of identity in these ways with with Richard in particular though he has I think the most ambitious and expansive view of what that red pelling can lead to where instead of thinking of yourself as a patriotic Frenchman or German or Austrian maybe start thinking of ourselves as patriotic white people white Christian as a unified white race spanning the ocean in a way that we've never thought of before I think that that's going to be a hard sell for a lot of people I think but what I'm trying for understatement the but there's a related question Rosie and maybe you could go with this one I what percentage of the people who this would be your opinion based on reporting I don't have opinion I know you don't have opinions I told her not to have opinion now she's not going to have an opinion based on reporting based on polls based on anecdotal evidence what percentage of people who vote for Trump or make up that hardcore base of support that's keeping him in office that keeps Republicans in Congress in line what percentage of that is part of what we would might think of as a conscious almost conscious white backlash against the change that is occurring in America well I think the question is how conscious is it I mean I don't think that most people think of themselves in sort of ideological terms the way that the sort of thought leaders of the Tri movement do I think that that if you look at what happened in this past election I think it is clear that it was driven by this sort of you know popular unrest among you know the white working-class that felt that it had been left behind in in certain ways and there was this whole question that became almost like a Twitter meme of economic anxiety and like how much is it driven by economic anxiety and how much is it driven by sort of cultural or racial anxiety and I think that it's actually sort of it's all of those things for some people it was just one of those things and for some people it was a combination thereof I mean you can't really quantify it but there definitely was a sort of cultural backlash among kind of you know Forgotten whites in this country that that was a driving factor in him being elected and how many of those do you think are red pilled in a way I think very few you know it many times been reporting on Richard I've thought about things that I've seen it's Isis Isis is very very similar and they're their ideas of how these ideas penetrate with with with Isis they don't believe that most Muslims agree with them but they believe that there are a few things that they might be able to get people on or with you you asked innocently do you think that the ideal way to run the world is as a Caliphate with a really good Calif and then you get ordinary people to say well yeah theoretically yes similarly with the alt-right you'd ask well do you think that just anyone can be an American with any views at all and they say well no there's there's some limits of course then you add well maybe are some of those limits racial or some of them religious so what what there is in both cases is an understanding that there's kind of lump an electorate or base that can be brought along with just a just a few thought leaders getting those ideas penetrated in so go to this final question and if you want to start lining up at mics please do and we'll try to get people up there as well but go to this this last question you you mentioned Isis Graham of course is one of the world's great experts on not only Isis ideology but on the radicalization process i we've seen at the margins of some violence what you might call white backlash of violence in this country periodically do you a Richard Spencer on the other hand is most famous for getting punched rather than punching do you expect and it's a question for we can end on this question do you expect a a radicalization process to continue in certain segments of the white American community do you think that this is going to lead to a systemic violence of the sort that we saw in the 80s with the order and various other neo-nazi groups I think it's possible now with the comparison I made with Isis I think who as you say Richard famous for getting punched and his idea Isis's idea of people it doesn't like is kill them or enslave them with Richard it's through a series of policies make them voluntarily leave this country which is preferable at least to the ISIS version right but it's certainly true that the ideas that richard has are ideas that are closely associated with with violence event really and I would be shocked if we didn't see at least some more of that and nothing is done of that by the way is to absolve the violence we've already seen into the hands of the alt-right but it could get worse well I think you know the sort of alt right as a movement however you want to define it I mean I think that if we were going to see you know sort of full-scale organized violence on their part I suspect we would have sort of seen it already they're very disorganized it's a group of people I do agree full heartedly with with Graham that the types of ideas that Richard espouses you know that they have undergirded movements that have led to violence and so you can't really rule anything out I mean like but is the idea that they're sort of going to be you know courts of young guys and you know make America great again hats and Pepe the Frog signs you know carrying out sort of violent rays or anything I mean you know I had the favorite for native behavior at these Confederate anti-big these rallies against taking down Confederate statues but they haven't and certainly in Berkeley in places we've seen some kind of confrontation but I'm asking about terrorism you don't see that developing I mean I you know I can't really think out and of course there have been instances of like Bo Nazi terror in this country before but but I really you know I don't know we'll go here and then there go ahead and please keep your questions in the form of a question because um because I'll be ruthless does any pressure on you now mine's a question hi my name is Uma and my question is in your experience on the field and in your professional lives have you seen any types of trends or patterns in the response to this alt-right Popular's of nationalism movement among the last among the establishment in the globalists etc what do you mean by response exactly do you mean like a is the response to kind of look at it and think oh we should engage and intellectually debate or we should ostracize it and not allow it to be in the open stuff like that I mean in my experience sort of reporting on on the alt-right you know I think there's been sort of different phases at first it was why are you writing about these people this is like 10 guys in their mom's basement that it was like oh my god this is so scary like please keep reporting on it and then sort of another wave of backlash of okay now you've given them too much attention so it's sort of it's gone in kind of a cycle like that and I think like I was saying before I think now you know I do think that that this movement in sort of related movements I've become kind of sort of a feature of our politics that doesn't really seem to be going anywhere I think one pattern I've seen is a kind of unfair denial of some of the ideas of the alt-right there there was a period of understandable disgust for this movement which led much like to discuss that we all had for Isis to look at the alt-right as something that didn't have an intellectual genealogy didn't have journals that were devoted to its ideas and as with Isis we're now getting to a point where we're understanding that those ideas have had places in American history have had places in American politics and I think that's probably a good step toward understanding them and potentially you know getting rid of them my question is about the larger picture with the Republican Party Donald Trump being the leaders party and everything how how trumpet music the GOP will be in like 10 or 15 years you know and I because I think the GOP is he turned largely into a party organized around the principle of defending position of whites in the country and embracing Donald Trump the way that it has polar I am saying that you know Donald Trump said racist statement about that judge and then voting for him you know and something for him everything so the G open E is like capitulated to this guy and what are the long-term consequences of that for the GOP and for the country well you know I think that a lot of this is going to depend on on how how well his presidency goes whether he manages to win reelection and a whole host of other sort of electoral factors we're still I mean we're still very early on in this administration and anything could really happen over the next couple years I mean I think that you know you're right that the Republicans have largely sort of fallen in line and like Jeff was saying earlier part of that is because his numbers among Republican voters are actually still pretty good his power sort of derives from his base and I think when you start seeing that change is when you might see Republican leadership starting to kind of back away from him a little bit and then you could see sort of a culture shift in terms of what the parties sort of is willing to tolerate or not but these are all sort of hypotheticals I was today in the news we've seen Britain open talks to leave the EU leave running on a very anti-immigration platform we've seen Eastern European countries say that they would rather incur sanctions from the EU rather than letting more migrants we've seen turkey saying that they're probably going to dishonour indications from turkey they're probably to dishonor a deal to keep Syrian migrants within Turkey so we've really seen what's the question the question is we've really seen a global kind of backlash against immigration and migration in the past couple years are we really just looking at a kind of interesting looking tree in a deep forest of anti-immigration backlash that is kind of outside the north outside of the major parties and what they find acceptable Graham I mean is this is globalism versus localism which is what we're talking about a way is this mainly about immigration and the people that you've come to know I think immigration is a very important idea for them it's definitely it's one of the issues that gets them out of bed in the morning now it's also something that is used for something larger like as I've said many times tonight the idea of a state of a s no state as Spencer likes to say is something more than then getting curtailing immigration it's that plus making the state making the state reflect in its policies a new idea of what it is so I think it's a very important factor but it's not the end game for any of you all right who I've spoken to there are white female to subscribe to the ideas and I was kind of wondering what you think they feel there is to gain from subscribing that and how that movement I'd say first of all the white women are no less interested in being edgy and hip and all the things that the old write claims to be than white men so that's that's part of it there's also though I think it needs to be mentioned at an ADA list aspect as well right so if they want lots of all bright kids they want lots of white Christian babies this is this is very important to them and I think a lot of the iconography of women in the movement is closely tied to that I I'm sorry how much of that is directly derived from good old-fashioned Nazi propaganda about second white women yeah it looks just like that if you went to the National Policy Institute which is kind of astroturf think-tank that that Richard runs a lot of and would you know it has those bright yellow hair kind of images of Central European fecundity Central European fecundity mean expecting no no no no not I've work combination I was expecting tonight go ahead exactly could you step closer her than my own I can exactly put this in the form of a question but I mean wouldn't Weaver critique of this discussion no your article and everything is that it seems to kind of pop team record sponsors turn he lays out which is like culture is be saying that is on the politics downstream can culture the culture is what's driving everything when the last 30 or 40 years the economy has undoubtedly completely changed structurally in every way to the detriment of most people like it is this not the thing that is probably behind this I mean Spencer being rich in me own leader this movement they're always which and well as you keep leaders a lots of social movements okay isn't at Graham the auto Iranian page people causing probably more than the cultural change yeah I mean often often people will point to to economic you know wage stagnation among white people and so forth and I'm not going to say that's not important it's it's often assumed though because of you know the power of that kind of material is that explanation that that is where this is going that's the end when I think it's both the end and the means you know Richard and his ilk are very happy to pick up the dissatisfaction from wage stagnation or what have you and then move that toward an end that is has nothing to do with economics at all so I don't think we need to choose one or the other the both can be very important I'm going to go to these other questions to say this is what the real issue is these people are okay thank you I'm going to go to the question over here Thanks go ahead so my collision sorry it's 1/2 bar talking to the mic support on question 1 is that um you guys think that we're having a multi-speed economy where one part of the country might be still upset they lost their coal jobs 30 years ago and the other is moving on to solar energy and that causes economic backlash and also how there's the ideas that our voice looks like decline of what removal ISM by Edward Luce lay in to kind of this fringe all right element that's becoming less spring I think the first one you dealt with in the previous answer I mean I would just say the the more I look at this movement and and other movements that are that are you know I've been afflicting us for the last couple years the more I see that they the power of ideas is not to be underestimated I mean Richard nice we almost literally come from exactly the same geographic and economic milieu from a prosperous North Dallas families with physicians physician fathers and we have different ideas because of different ideas that reached at the different moments and you know that we could say that this is this is a kind of high echelon thought leader type phenomenon but I think it's replicated in many many different places where it matters a lot where the ideas come from and less than you might think some of the material and economic explanation everyone did originate in a hyper misogynistic corner of the internet I wonder how much of particularly young men joining the alt-right has to do with the male in addition so I do think that there there is a certain amount of overlap between sort of the alt-right and the kind of men's rights movement which is what you're referring to I I don't think that they're necessarily the same thing I do think that like they're in the Venn diagram there is there is overlap in terms of is it being about sort of male backlash it's hard to say I will say that you know in my experience reporting on the outright I have found that it is a very heavily male movement especially you know young men I'm not sure exactly what that means but there is sort of an element to it of kind of valorising like white masculinity and stuff like that are there any questions up there I mean you could shout them if somebody want to raise their hand I don't want to discriminate yeah just go shower did you understand her everything's asking about whether martial law is going to be declared by people in the province yeah well you know it certainly hasn't happened yes you're sitting in one of the first places that go by the way I you know we've gathered you here for a reason right um I look I yeah I think that I think that it's it's important to sort of you know keep a clear head in terms of in terms of what's really going on here I think that one of the unfortunate sort of political after-effects of trap selection has been that there is a certain level of kind of fear and paranoia among the opposition that sometimes becomes a little bit outside the realm of what is sort of you know could really happen in reality so in terms of I mean I think that you know democracy is a fragile thing and anything could always happen but I don't really see any evidence that we're about to enter into a mortal well I would just say we have not seen yet the courts lose their power or lose their power and so I wouldn't I wouldn't I don't want to over I don't want anybody to leave here thinking that we're certainly overstating any kind of threat to the democracy that we have I mean that yeah the roads are our democratic institutions have have have basically held up actually I'm going to do two more questions I'm sorry to everyone else but we're going to run out of time very quickly so you and then you or you and you would rather what go ahead my apologies already been answered if it has gotten together there's been an alarming increase in diagnosis anxiety depression suicides and overdose in the past decade more Americans ever are doing disclose state isn't isolated from the community I can't we can't here is this utter yeah our slower slower slower okay this is Larkin answered before going to bed there's been an alarming increase in diagnosis of anxiety depression suicides and overdose deaths in the past decade more Americans than ever are coming disconnected and isolated from their communities how much does this play a role and people subscribing to far-right ideologies so if I understood the question properly that there's a sense of isolation there are suicides overdoses that are happening and how much does this play a role and the rise of far-right ideologies could I again I'll go back to to lean a bit on some Isis reporting that there are many people who in normal circumstances would not be reaching very far for for the ideas that they're going to pick up and then in extremists they do are they are willing to look a bit further especially if they feel like they are rejected especially if they feel like they haven't haven't been heard and if there is a kind of enemy that comes from whatever is is associated with these overdoses and suicides then I wouldn't be terribly surprised if the similar phenomenon happened and people were feeling like they were rejected from normal channels of political expression and then trying something different I want us to add something to that because that you know the Economist Tyler Cowen has an interesting theory about why he's arguing that there won't be a revolution in America whatever kind of revolution you can imagine and he says that you know we as a country we supply sufficient sufficient amounts of cheap calories to our citizenry and sufficient amount of entertainment options video games and the like know that so people are actually narcotized into into a kind of quiescence about their condition I would add to that a third which is the the dark ization that comes from at narcotics of an opioid epidemic being a case in point so I would I would attach myself to grams basic analysis and this is his this has been his analysis not only of the alright in America but of Isis of course that that that the trigger the accelerant to these kind of problems are smart people with sets of easily articulated coherent ideas a coherent worldview think without that you don't have you don't have the phenomenon that we might be seeing today you have to have it has to start with this set of ideas economic distress alone is not going to turn someone into a Nazi there has to be a Nazi right nearby or easy access to a world view in order to make that happen go ahead alright thanks for taking my question and I got a quick second here you and John love it were great on the pond last week so I just got to say that oh my god that was a that was a high wire act for me I got to say I thought you were saying ten all right but hopeful question to end this here you talk about kind of a backlash in Western Europe there's been a lot more moderate and less kind of awakening do you see a side effect of an unintended consequence of the Trump administered ministration being kind of an awakening of the left and more importantly the moderates in the center as kind of a new force that's going to awake and in Western Europe and possibly the United States well I don't think there's any question that you know the Democratic base has been has been very energized by this and if you look at the special election for example in Georgia six districts and the fact that John Asif you know has done has done so well that's sort of evidence with that I I don't know I mean a lot of this will be able to have more answers after the midterms happen in 2018 to see actually how sort of codified and organized this backlash is going to be at least in America I mean in terms of so yes we've seen some signals of a backlash but I don't think we've seen though is the same spry anis and the field of ideas you know the alt-right has has energized different nationalist movements and there is this kind of pan white vision that that's out there and these are the creation of identity is something that has happened before and it's not as if the creation of German identity or Italian identity or French identity in the 19th century has been undone those ideas are still around now it's it's the the difficulty is is we now see different identities being formed with this pan white identity it is aspirationally at least being formed and the left in the early 19th century found you know the birth of a kind of modern liberal democracy as a way to combat that then and that felt like a new thing that felt like something new and important now the backlash that we have right now and the reaction to the alt-right I don't think is as exciting is not as new and it's not quite ready to acknowledge the ideas that the alt-right has brought with it so although we see you know electoral victories here and there I think there's actually still a lot to come in the field of ideas that we still need to observe from the left as a reaction we're going to do one more question because you've been standing there and I feel bad they get a quick question anxious liberal arts students who want to know how to have a dialogue with an alright person without role in my eyes how do you have a conversation with someone they all right they want to have a conversation with you I mean have you heard of this thing called Twitter if you can have that conversation all night long trying to and I don't know how to respond to things is that level of violence but there is also an evidence cycle analytics aspect to it there's all the things you talked about all the anxieties I just don't know how to balance my empathy with you know an intellectual like dialog is have you maybe you have you had that block or have you accomplished that yeah right well maybe maybe could can you answer this in the context of D radicalization of Isis I'm not comparing the blah-blah-blah-blah-blah but but but do that yeah well I have some some very pessimistic things to say about that oh good you can have these conversations it doesn't mean that it ends with the other person being convinced but having the conversations is itself I think something we should aspire to do it's important with the alright however end with Isis to distinguish between real conversations and then what's on their side simply trolling that's what you probably get if you just reach out to the next person you find online who identifies themselves as alright so we've talking to Richard Spencer or talking to someone from Isis you want to instead get to the point where you're actually understanding what these ideas are and having the person interact with you at least acknowledging your humanity the fact that you are trying to understand and you know that's that's the only way you get to the point where there might be at least some intellectual back-and-forth that plant the seed of doubt and in the other person you know that there's in the case of Isis you find many people who the reaction that they have when hearing someone say that Isis is the way to be a Muslim is to simply dismiss them hatefully you know who to to mock them it seems to be the only way that that interaction actually gets anywhere is to plant at least a bit of doubt there and once the worm gets in the Apple it might bring the rottenness that leads to a different idea in that person but without at least starting that conversation not going to get anywhere at all so try it let me close with this question for Rosie it's related to this and this is very important do you see any evidence that people in the Trump administration not all right people because we don't all right people in the tribal initiation but people who subscribe to a more populist nationalist understanding of America and its challenges at the moment do you see over the last five or six months any proof that coming into contact with the reality of governance the executive order on immigration for instance do you think that anything has happened to make them say you know what these ideas are great in theory but in the American framework they just can't be carried out or do you still see a kind of a level of true believer on the part of people who went into this administration I mean I don't see any evidence that this sort of white house ideologues have changed their ideology I do think that like you said the fact that it's now bumped up against the realities of governing means that we're not seeing sort of like a full-fledged like Steve Van Daan's entire agenda is not being an active right now because it's been it's been sort of impossible the travel ban has not been able to made it make it through the legal system there have been certain victories I mean there was you know Trump's sort of refusal to commit to article five at the NATO summit there have been you know there have been you know certain things that that were sort of on the agenda that are being carried out but I do think that it's not a question of ideology changing I think it's a question of things that were wanted bumping up against things that sort of either have to happen or getting in the way my apologies to everyone who want advanced question and couldn't but I appreciate all of you being here tonight antek thanks you and I thank Rosie and gran for a great conversation thank you very much for coming

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23 thoughts on “The Rise of Populism and Nationalism

  1. Anarcho socialism and neo liberal realism are dying!
    Because it is not natural or inherent to the European! We are nationalists by nature, not internationalists!
    And we are social too, but that’s just in our ethic to not exploit or undermine and hurt our own people. It’s based on our common style legal proclivity and it’s in our good nature!
    We reject your global order, and when the decentralized ledger monetary system overtakes the traditional, we’re going to see a different world to now.

    We don’t want your outside management, we don’t need your moral guidance or you to do our thinking for us. Not everything revolves around you!

    People are waking up and realizing the truth, origins and reasons of all the political, economic and intellectual components which make up the ideologies which have been sculpted for them.
    They will be free and create the world in their natural vision, and do what’s best for them, from the inside out, once again.

    And if you stop trying to manipulate and fuck with us for once, maybe the backlash won’t be so harsh this time! And believe me, it’s coming.
    Sorry for all the decent middle class hard working jews who have to suffer because of a few supremacists and degenerates.

  2. Jews hate white people, because they cannot control us!! The want to conquer and enslave everybody, they are the globalist who our trying to destroy the west. Demoralize, brainwash and replace (white people).

  3. The alt-right wants nothing more than what the Jews have for themselves in Israel, with the exception that the alt-right can achieve it without mass murder, in contrast with Israel.

  4. They really compare the alt right with Isis … astonishing! How hypocritical, when it's ok to have thousands of Jews organisations… but when peoples from white Christians culture come together there Nazi's …who the hell do they think gave their lives in defeating Hitler's Nazi … mostly White Russian Christians, along with mostly white Christians Americans, British, Australians …and how do the Jewish Organisations treat these Christians peoples that took them into their countries as refugees by the millions …You try and undermine the west by …open ended Islamic immigration which if continued will compromise our western values… and eventually lead to Ethnocide of the indigenous peoples in Europe … do the Jews call the Zionists Nazi's for keeping Israel for the Jews …?

  5. The Alt Right is of the political right in both the American and the European sense of the term. Socialists are not Alt Right. Progressives are not Alt Right. Liberals are not Alt Right. Communists, Marxists, Marxians, cultural Marxists, and neocons are not Alt Right.

    The Alt Right is an ALTERNATIVE to the mainstream conservative movement in the USA that is nominally encapsulated by Russel Kirk's 10 Conservative Principles, but in reality has devolved towards progressivism. It is also an alternative to libertarianism.

    The Alt Right is not a defensive attitude and rejects the concept of noble and principled defeat. It is a forward-thinking philosophy of offense, in every sense of that term. The Alt Right believes in victory through persistence and remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition, and the lessons of history.

    The Alt Right believes Western civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its three foundational pillars: Christianity, the European nations, and the Graeco-Roman legacy.

    The Alt Right is openly and avowedly nationalist. It supports all nationalisms and the right of all nations to exist, homogeneous and unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration.

    The Alt Right is anti-globalist. It opposes all groups who work for globalist ideals or globalist objectives.

    The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.

    The Alt Right believes identity > culture > politics.

    The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means.

    The Alt Right understands that diversity + proximity = war.

    The Alt Right doesn't care what you think of it.

    The Alt Right rejects international free trade and the free movement of peoples that free trade requires. The benefits of INTRAnational free trade is not evidence for the benefits of INTERnational free trade.

    The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.

    The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.

    The Alt Right is a philosophy that values peace among the various nations of the world and opposes wars to impose the values of one nation upon another as well as efforts to exterminate individual nations through war, genocide, immigration, or genetic assimilation.


  6. 59:42. Just keep those cheap calories supplied and those endless entertainment options open and the goyim will never know what we've hit them with!

  7. Shame on these fake atheist bolchie Jews fighting against the self determination of Western Christian nations in their own land while they support Zionism! Westerners are in their rights of exercising their sovereignty. This video has just turned me a Christian non-White straight male more “antisemitic” !


  9. Surely it's just a cohencidence that such (((journalists))) are constantly advocating for hate and war agaist Russia to wipe put out even more white christian people. And then they wonder why antisemitism exists.

  10. the Jews can't stop thinking about the alt right because the maza balls just can't satisfy the Nazi fetish…

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