The most alarming trend I see in the USA and other Western countries at the moment is the growing support for the alt-right movement and its obsession with race. Richard Spencer, the current golden boy of the Alt-Right movement in the USA, has repeatedly denied being a white supremacist and in a December 2016 interview with CNN reporter Sara Ganim said, “Only white people can support what we call Western civilization.” He has also advocated a “peaceful ethnic cleansing,” with those of non-European descent voluntarily leaving the United States. Is this a likely scenario? Fortunately for the well-being of the USA’s economy, arts and culture, it’s highly unlikely. The Atlantic allowed Spencer to tell his own story in this 2016 interview. Take a look and then please read on.
Trump’s election rhetoric and the Alt-Right
The thing I deplored most about Donald Trump’s election campaign rhetoric was his verbal bigotry openly aimed at women, the physically challenged and racial and religious minorities. By firing up his supporters with what would normally be considered as ‘hate-speech’ at his political rallies, Trump led the way in making it okay for folks like Spencer to come out of the closet and throw off the white sheets. With his clean-cut, 1950s all-American good looks (which is fitting since Spencer uses appearance as his base line for separating one group from another), Spencer seems to be the perfect poster boy for the movement. He’s well-spoken and looks like a normal young suburban guy who might live next door. The most alarming thought to me is that he just might be, but perhaps it’s better for us to be able to identify who these radical racists are on a day to day basis rather than waking up in the middle of the night to find a cross burning in the front yard without a soul being in sight.
“Trump is a white nationalist, so to speak, he is alt-right whether he likes it or not.” Richard Spencer in a recent interview on The David Pakman Show.
The Alt-Right ignores history
When Spencer speaks about the superior white race establishing firm control over all others, he completely ignores the history of humanity. Eventually, the truly oppressed always rise up against the ruling establishment. If he doesn’t like immigrants coming to ‘his’ version of America, why is he espousing the same concepts of ethnic cleansing used by dictators for centuries which only perpetuate societal unrest and result in the mass migration of oppressed minorities from one part of the world to another. In other words, ideals like his are often responsible for immigration to the USA and other Western countries.
Spencer longs for a space where all those of European heritage can huddle together in a ‘new Rome’ and build some sort of homogeneous utopia simply because they all supposedly share the same race. In fact, he uses the term ‘race’ in all his arguments, never talking about culture or language which I would argue has a far more powerful unifying effect than race alone. It’s sad that his education didn’t include a few courses in anthropology and world history since Spencer would have been required to study the cultural contributions that many races have made to the sciences he believes are the private reserve of his ‘white race’, which by the way excludes the Jewish race. Should we tell him that Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx were Jews or that at least 197 people of Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize, which accounts for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2016, and makes up 36% of all US recipients during the same period even though people of Jewish heritage only account for 0.2% of the world’s population? Will these great minds be excluded from Spencer’s future utopia along with the contributions of their scientific knowledge?
And while we’re exposing Spencer to historical facts, let’s also remind him that technological advancements weren’t hatched from an egg in some European context but have been passed down over millennia from one society to another which then builds on those ideas and develops new innovations and applications. Historical records often credit the powerful ancient Chinese civilizations with the development of gunpowder, and of course Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”, written between the 6th and 5th centuries BC is still considered required reading for many of the world’s leaders. Furthermore, does Spencer really believe the ancient Greeks drew their wealth of knowledge in the sciences out of thin air? Most historians would agree that they further developed what they learned from their Arab trading partners. In fact, world trade and migration have been the greatest contributing factors to the spread and advancement of technology since ancient times. We can see these trends continuing today with the continued globalization brought about by the dissemination of ideas across the entire human spectrum via the internet and social media.
Let’s not forget that advances in medicine and other sciences were flourishing in the Arab world while Europe was languishing in death and superstition during the Dark Ages! So, to credit the white race with being the founder and custodian of all scientific discovery and innovation is blatantly ignoring historical facts. Do the leaders and sympathizers of the Alt-Right movement really believe that whites were somehow responsible for the miraculous architectural and engineering achievements of the Mayas, Egyptians, Khmer and the list goes on? All these monuments were engineered and built by non-European civilizations. The myth that we perpetuate through required Western Civilization courses in most schools in the USA–that all wisdom originated with the ancient Greeks, especially during the Hellenistic period, was then transferred to the Romans and has progressed along some linear path into our lives today–simply ignores the majority of human history.
Do tech firms discriminate by not hiring more whites?
Spencer also says that Silicon Valley tech companies have discriminatory hiring practices because they often hire STEM graduates from India and other foreign countries instead of white American males. Does he really think major corporations like Apple, Google and Microsoft would harm their own financial bottom lines and risk losing the ability to develop cutting edge technologies for the sake of some pie in the sky diversity policy? The main reason a technology company might hire Indian Sanjeev instead of white American John from Kansas is because Sanjeev is more qualified, period. Tech companies have to jump over many hurdles in order to be granted H1B visas for staff from countries such as India, so does anyone seriously think they’d go to so much trouble and expense if the coding talent they need existed here in the USA.
I’ve taught Indian students and believe me they work harder than most white American students can possibly imagine because they know they face seemingly insurmountable odds in being granted admission to one of India’s own superb IITs or other top technology universities around the world. I have Indian friends who literally give their all to ensure their children’s future success which usually includes hours of after school tutoring and lots of parental involvement in both the childrens’ studies and school curriculum. America’s tech corporations understand they must hire the world’s best and brightest in order to maintain their own superiority over their global rivals, regardless of the race or gender of applicants. According to a Forbes report, many CEOs of Silicon Valley firms are non-white, including the CEOs of Microsoft, Google and Oracle who were all born overseas.
All whites are productive members of their societies–really?
And what about the fallacy that all whites of European origin are productive workaholics striving to create something ‘bigger than themselves’. Should we show Spencer statistics that prove there are plenty of whites living on some form of state welfare support or the ‘dole’ as they say in British Commonwealth countries and not necessarily contributing to their nation’s GDP? Again, if Spencer’s willing to look at facts, he can check the US Department of Agriculture and the US Census Bureau sites for statistics which show the ethnic breakdown by state of those who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Is peace possible in such a scenario?
Perhaps even more flawed is his stated desire for world peace when he’s obviously intelligent enough to realize that peace can never exist as long as any one race/culture believes in their superiority and that it’s the destiny of the superior culture to rule all others. So, if being a believer in multi-racial societies makes me a ‘loser’ (as Spencer calls all whites who disagree with his views), then I proudly accept the label because I prefer to believe it is possible for humans to evolve to a point where people of different races, religions and cultures can live in peace and harmony in an egalitarian society. Shouldn’t that ideal of sharing our nation’s (and the Earth’s) resources be our primary goal, rather than using our brain power and physical energy devising strategies to sow more seeds of division between ethnic (as well as other) groups? I’m tired of people trying to create divisions rather than working to educate and unite. Divide and conquer is one of the world’s oldest war strategies. Do we really want to live in a society administered by leaders who adhere to this line of thinking and use such tactics to gain and maintain power and wealth? I submit that this is exactly the opposite of what America’s founders had in mind.
As I sit here listening to my favorite jazz compilations, sipping on Sri Lankan tea and admiring the reproductions of Diego Rivera’s murals I have hanging on my walls, my Scots-Irish, Welsh and native American (Cherokee) blood tells me that the life I experience each and every day is far richer because I’m aware of the contributions people of all races have made toward building the USA in disparate fields from the arts to science and business. To think otherwise ignores statistics which can easily be researched on various US government websites or gleaned from other reliable online sources. Spencer seems to support ideas and opinions that make him ‘feel good’ over facts that are supported by academic and government research.
I suggest anyone who’s interested in further reading on the topic of Western decline and the rise of economic and political power in Asia should check out Kishore Mahbubani’s excellent book “New Asian Hemisphere” which was published in 2008. World demographics clearly point to the continuation of this phenomenon. In other words, white folks, get over it and work instead to create multiracial societies that work for all because they are the future unless we destroy our planet in a nuclear holocaust first!
Good food for thought Henry. I hope yourpoints will encourage Spencer and others like him to think again.
Thank you, Marios, for your comment and for supporting Quest blog.