National Policy Institute leader Richard Spencer gave the final speech of his organization’s conference over a week ago. By now, nearly everyone has seen the footage of Spencer, glass in hand, hailing Donald Trump while his audience cheered. Several audience members were filmed giving Nazi salutes, leading to a great deal of controversy for Spencer and his crew, and finally forcing the media to deal with how, exactly, to write about white nationalists without legitimizing them.
Beyond that well-publicized moment, here are a few highlights of Spencer’s speech, beginning with his vicious attack on the media and establishment Republicans. After boasting that he and his fellow white nationalists always took Trump’s chances seriously, Spencer denounced the “mainstream media,” adding that perhaps he should “refer to them in the original German: Lügenpresse.”
Of the alt-right’s many enemies he said, “It’s not just that they are Leftists and cucks. It’s not just that many are genuinely stupid. Indeed, one wonders if these people are people at all, or instead soulless golem, animated by some dark power to repeat whatever talking point John Oliver stated the night before.”
He also lauded the alt-right and the “victory of will” they achieved on election night, boasting that “We willed Donald Trump into office.” The audience applauded again. “We made this dream a reality. And if we will it, it is no dream — a quote I’m sure our friends at the Anti-Defamation League know very well,” he sneered, clearly referencing 19th century Zionist Theodor Herzl.
Spencer then went on a tirade against the many injustices supposedly suffered by white Americans everywhere. The U.S. government, for example, has refused to do its job securing the southern border, while Western governments more broadly “seek out the most dysfunctional immigrants possible and relocate them at taxpayer expense.”
He continued, complaining that
In the current year, one’s career can be ruined and one’s life destroyed if you express anything other than admiration for a man who wants to cut off his genitals and say he’s a woman. In the current year we are told the great threat to our democracy is “fake news,” and then hear breathless accounts backed by little to no evidence that Breitbart.com is a white nationalist organ.
In the current year, a white who takes pride in his ancestors’ accomplishments is evil, but a white who refuses to accept guilt for his ancestors’ sins is also evil, maybe even more so. In the current year, white families work their whole lives to send their children to universities, where they will be told just how despicable they are.
In the current year the powerful lecture the powerless about how they don’t recognize their privilege. In the current year a wealthy Jewish celebrity bragging about the ‘end’ of white men is the one “speaking truth to power.” In the current year, if you are physically strong you are fragile.
Black is beautiful but whiteness is toxic. Government doesn’t stop crime, but subsidizes it. White privilege is very real, but race is just a social construct. And if facts are too disturbing, you can always retreat into the “safe space” of boxed juice, teddy bears, and endless empathy where reality doesn’t have to matter anymore.
Yes, according to Spencer, it’s truly difficult to be white in America, where one can be criticized for transphobia, and might even have to learn about white privilege — which has nothing to do with being shamed or branded as “despicable.”
He continued by asserting that, “until this past generation,” America was a “white country” that was “designed for ourselves and our posterity” and “belongs to us.” That line elicited another burst of applause.
Toward the end of his speech, Spencer announced that race “is real” but “in some sense whiteness really is a social construct.” “Think of the concepts that are now designated ‘problematic’” — emphasizing the word “problematic” with a nasally whine — “and associated with whiteness: Power, strength, beauty, agency, accomplishment.”
Evidently this is the part where Spencer needed to make his white audience feel good about being white, and he certainly gave it his best shot. He said being white means being a “striver, a crusader, an explorer, and a conqueror.” He ahistorically claimed not only that white people “don’t exploit other groups,” but that whites “don’t gain anything” from the presence of non-whites. He exclaimed that “They need us, and not the other way around!”
“Great historical changes are imminent when people are forced into a binary choice. Fight or flee, join or die, resist or cuck!” It was as if the Ku Klux Klan booked a motivational speaker.
Finally, after a few more lines about the “unique” place in history reserved for white people and how we are “not meant to live in shame and weakness and disgrace,” Spencer finally raised his glass and toasted the president-elect, shouting “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!” Cue the Nazi salutes.