On Friday, New Year’s Day, Richard Spencer posted a new episode of the Radix Journal Podcast. The podcast has evolved over the years, starting as Vanguard Radio, a “radical traditionalist” podcast for his Alternative Right website. He has since split from that brand, taken the helm of the National Policy Institute, and started the Radix Journal. The podcast has often been conversations with people on the racist and neo-fascist right wing, often including pseudo-intellectuals, professors, and authors. Here they have attempted to reclaim a right-wing academic avant garde, where he has had conversations with everyone in his movement from Matthew Heimbach to Paul Gottfried to Kevin McDonald. Conversations often looked at things like race and IQ, the German Conservative Revolution, Julius Evola, male tribalism, the Republican party viewed from the right, contemporary theories of anti-semitism, and profiles of organizations like the League of the South and Youth for Western Civilization. The niche that Spencer carved out for himself, and really built the Alternative Right around, was that he would be more thoughtful and philosophical than those nationalists better known for burning crosses and shaved heads.
At least, that used to be the case.
In this new episode, called Cuckservative Speaks, he labeled it “A famous Cuckservative and respected Beltway pundit pays a surprise visit to the 2015 NPI conference.” Here Spencer makes one of the most profoundly embarrassing moves of his career where he attempts to do a funny mocking impression of a “Cuckservative” Republican, complete with awkward voices and dubbed in laughter and applause. The podcast was essentially him dressing up in skinny jeans and trying to “hang with you youths,” which may reveal why he has become known for his “fashy” hair.
What Spencer is trying to capture here is clear, in his attempt at both style and rhetoric.
Since its first episode in August of 2014, The Right Stuff’s primary podcast, The Daily Shoah, has become one of the most popular white nationalist program on the internet. It has done this by taking the themes and ideas of the Alternative Right, meaning a contemporary white nationalism and neo-fascist politic, and bringing it back down into the gutter where they can understand it. Earlier in our tenure, we did a couple of articles about The Daily Shoah discussing how they reveal exactly what the “suit and tie fascists” of the Alt Right really are. Since their inception they have added a half dozen other shows, all trying to one-up each other on how self-referential and offensive they can be. Now they have moved beyond simply being the “straight talk” of the Alt Right as they force all of their “colleagues” to side with their own vulgar racial hate.
The Daily Shoah was billed as “Opie and Anthony for white nationalists,” yet it is mainly composed of skits and jokes that mock the holocaust, deride people of color as subhuman animals, and generally call for the abolition of equality, democracy, and compassion. Their open use of racial slurs and over the top racial jokes was unequivocally opposed by people like Richard Spencer for years. Spencer has openly said that these types of words are an affront to the movement, that they miss the point of an acceptable racial nationalism, and basically would make him look like a “jerk.” Greg Johnson, the eccentric academic founder of Counter Currents has also said that he does not like this kind of racial humor, saying that it is vulgar and completely regressive. Even RamZPaul, the racist YouTube sensation known for making nationalist comedy videos, has openly distanced himself away from “radicals” who use Nazi imagery.
Not only has all of these people now joined The Daily Shoah on different episodes, and in many cases invited hosts like Mike Enoch onto their own shows, but they laughed along and even joined in calling people “fa****s” and “Dindus.”
This participation is only one way that TRS has begun to show its dominance in the Alt Right-sphere, but their ideas, rhetoric, and language has begun to seep into all channels tuned to their racial arson. Terms like “LARPing,” “Cuckservative,” “The Current Year,” “Wow, just wow,” have all become common place, with the Radix Journal continuing to use them as jokes and show titles, almost as though the agenda is being set by idiots at the back of the class. This extended even into their 2015 National Policy Institute Conference, where those TRS in-jokes were the lowest common denominator for conference attendees.
In general, TRS has gained its popularity through very concerted internet trolling, using provocative hashtags to chase trending topics, and use insular jokes and internet culture as the barometer of actually “seeping into the culture.” This has had a modicum of success, at least in terms of media coverage. They broke through with the #Cuckservative meme, and then joined in with the #BoycottStarWars campaign that very unsuccessfully went after the movie because it included a black character. Lately, they have become the Donald Trump fan-network, and use the #AltRight hashtag to connect the reactionary Trump campaign with their own “forward thinking” white nationalism.
It is less that that rest of the Alt Right is willing to have their brand dumbed down by the the Daily Shoah as much as they have begun to realize that this is the mindset most of their audience base actually has. The image of the intellectual white nationalist who bases his ideas simply on identity rather than racial hatred and angry bigotry is a myth, one that was created by them only to appear to be on the vanguard of radical politics. Instead, their movement is built on angry “men in basements” who define political participation and movement building as harassing Buzzfeed reporters on Twitter using false accounts. The Daily Shoah itself reveals its lack of intellectual pedigree quickly, where the hosts often deny the existence of global warming and reduce complex political issues simply to the fact that one person in a story is Jewish(We are still perplexed how Jewish ancestry automatically leads them to politics you disagree with, or how the complete lack of Jewish consensus on politics affirms your narrative.). Spencer has seen the writing on the wall very clearly and is jumping on it, allowing these ridiculous inside jokes define his message because he really believes that these angry message boards hold the roots of some “paradigm shift.”
For anti-fascists, The Daily Shoah presents one of the clearest opportunities to destroy the “identitarian” mirage by showing exactly what their message means when stripped of its Evolian wordplay. While people like Spencer may rap philosophic about Heidegger, Mike Enoch says exactly what the white nationalist movement is built on, complete with calling war refugees “barbarian hordes.” Their politics have always been disgusting, but at least now the pretense has been shaken off as, it turns out, they never needed it to attract their base.
White nationalism has desperately grasped at intellectual straws for the last several years, including creating an Alt Right with so many disparate strands that barely recognize one another. Once the Right Stuff fades after Donald Trump’s campaign becomes a memory, people like Spencer and Greg Johnson will likely regroup and double back on their conference-circuit. This, however, is tactical rather than essential as, no matter how they phrase it, their politics are as complicated as the hoods that came before them.