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Ron Unz Confronts the Far Right
A very interesting night among influential conservatives
[Last week, Ron Unz called me and asked if I’d like to go to a secret conservative meet-up. I told him I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Everything I’ve ever heard Ron say has either been brilliant or insane, with absolutely nothing in between. He picked me up in East Los Angeles, and we took the forty-five minute drive to Hollywood.
We arrived at the scene, which is the backroom of a glitzy restaurant. There, we found two dozen right-wing thinkers and celebrities, a group that included Twitter personalities, journalists, conservative donors, and a few former Trump administration officials.
As we enter the room, we catch the back end of a speech by James Felix, a former White House official.]
James: You know, just a few years ago, those of us in the darker corners of the internet were the only ones talking about these topics, and now they’re everywhere. You used to have to speak about black crime in hushed tones, now we can share the FBI crime statistics and all the WorldStarHipHop videos to our hearts’ content. The border. Remember when you had to be crazy to talk about the border? Now it’s the number one issue for Republicans in each election cycle. States are clamping down on the trans menace. And friends, just you wait. Near the end, the Big Guy finally learned how to maneuver around the bureaucracy. I’m so looking forward to the second term! But we can talk about that later. For now, let me cede the floor to Andy. Come over here!
[From the middle of the room, a kid who’s about 5’7 walks to the front. His name is Andy Romero. He’s got a short black buzzcut and is wearing a flannel shirt. I recognized him as the founder of American Fortress, a site that produces edgy right-wing content with a white nationalist bent. I had no idea that he would be at an event like this, rubbing shoulders with former administration officials and big donors. Perhaps the radicalization of the right has gone much further than I’d thought. Once again, I’m glad that I watch Rachel Maddow, and am able to benefit from her insights and deep research into American politics.
Andy goes on to give a speech about the topics he’s obsessed with. Inner city crime. The knockout game. The regular white guy who had bought a book about how to propose to his girlfriend but is now dead because four black youths decided to sucker punch him and put it online, and he hit his head on the pavement and died. Some professor of Africanax Studies had given a speech where she said “logical thought is the lifeblood of whiteness. Every time an argument holds together, it commits violence against the essence of black bodies.” The audience can hardly contain itself. Upon reading that line, Romero gives his trademark eyebrow raise and they love it. Then he goes on to tell us about the border being the number one threat to America. Nothing else matters.
After a while, I realize I’ve heard all of this before. As with all nice restaurants in West LA, there’s a wonderful selection of fake breasts to enjoy, and the fakeness never bothered me since I don’t subscribe to the naturalistic fallacy like some primitive right-winger. So I go out and decide to look around for a bit, but before long Ron finds me.]
Ron: Hey Richard, where are you going?
Me: Ah, Ron, I’ve heard it all before. I’m interested in seeing who shows up to an event like this, but I get bored with ideas easily. That’s why I’m always attacking my audience and trying to find something new to fight about. If I hear “Imagine if the races were reversed” one more time, I don’t know what I’ll do.
Ron: Yes, you like conflict, we’ve all noticed. We’re similar in that way. Why do you think I built a website full of Nazis, communists, Russian nationalists overdosing on copium, and Steve Sailer? And that’s why you should come back! I’m going to stir the pot a bit…
[I’m intrigued, so we walk back inside. Romero is now in an animated conversation with a Twitter personality who I recognize as Brahmin Hitler. Ron interrupts and starts talking to Romero.]
Ron: That was a great speech Andy, I learned a lot. And I must applaud your ability to in recent years get your ideas accepted into the mainstream of conservatism. No one will admit this, but your content is driving more and more of our electoral politics. But there’s one thing about your speech that gave me pause. You said the border crisis was the main issue facing the country, right?
Andy: No, not just the border! Maybe that’s how your typical Republican politician frames the issue for the captive nursing home audience watching the boob tube. We’re going to shut down legal immigration too! America First!
[The crowd erupts.]
Ron: Yes, yes, I know. So immigration is the greatest threat facing the US?
Andy: All European-descended people, yes. What’s going on in Western Europe is just as disturbing.
[Brahmin Hitler cuts in]
Brahmin: Yes, every nation has a right to maintain its ethnic balance based on the people who built it. This is the only issue that matters. Everything else is a distraction.
Ron: Very well. But like I said, I noticed something very curious about your speech, and I wish you would explain it to me. Your talk was a never ending list of things Americans with deep roots in the country have done. You talked about the tragic story of the man in Philadelphia. I know, there’s one of these each day, and there has been since before I was your age. The affirmative action intellectual preaching the destruction and dispossession of whites, while seeing his ideas operationalized through the Democratic Party, is similarly not new. The cities today get burned down for the same reasons they did in the 1960s! Some low-life has a problem with the police, they do the world a favor by removing him from society, and the local community is enraged that it has lost one of its precious sons.
I also hear a few other complaints related to covid restrictions, you really hate the vaccine I see. [I cringe at this point] And then there’s transgenderism and gender theory, which I agree are signs that the world has gone mad.
Now, despite this, you sit here and tell me that immigration is the greatest threat to Western civilization. Conservatives have been wailing about the border for decades now. Yet we’ve had millions and millions of Mexicans and Central Americans come to this country, and they seem to have done remarkably little to anger you. Can you even think of a prominent Hispanic intellectual or media personality who annoys you? Ok, AOC. There was a guy named Castro who got like 0.01% in the Democratic primary last time. And then there’s…I’m blanking. I guess George Lopez insulted conservatives a few years back, does anyone remember George Lopez? But then he was balanced out by Carlos Mencia, the Honduran-American who used to have a show on Comedy Central where he’d skewer political correctness. But we’re digging pretty deep here. All your complaints are about blacks and whites. Perhaps immigration is not the threat to the country you think it is?
Andy: Nice try, (((Ron))). We all know that immigrants vote Democrat. They empower those who do the things we hate. And not to mention their lower IQ! Yes, we’re among friends, we can talk about that here.
Ron: You don’t have to tell me about that…
[Suddenly, we’re interrupted by Allison Collier, a tall, leggy blonde with a shrill voice who became famous for wanting to nuke the Middle East but is now better known for her book, La Muerte de America, about how third world immigration is destroying the country.]
Allison: Again, nice try Ron. I don’t agree with Andy’s racial essentialism, but let me say that I agree that immigration changes the country for the worse. And you can complain about blacks all you want. But in the end they’re Americans. And we should help our fellow Americans before anyone else.
Ron: Noble sentiments, Allison. Do you maintain that making sure that the government helps poor people is one of your passions in life? Because I distinctly remember a tweet of yours a few weeks ago, in which you complained about fat people getting food stamps, and…
Allison: Yes! American capitalism is the greatest engine for improving people’s lives in the history of the world. Our poor people are fat, and Democrats want more of them because they’re their natural constituency.
Ron: Ok, well, I guess we don’t need to explore whether there’s something of a contradiction there…
Allison: Yeah, you don’t want to because there is no contradiction. American capitalism has made poors fat. We have an amazingly successful system that came out of the Anglo-American tradition. Immigrants are the greatest threat to that. They don’t have the right culture, and they vote the wrong way. You can take or leave the race stuff, but that’s what’s important.
[Out of the corner of my eye I notice Moldy Marius, a mysterious esoteric thinker who has captivated the mainstream media, along with many young right-wingers. Curious about his opinion on the topic, I ask him to weigh in.]
Marius: What this conversation is missing is a discussion of the subtleties of POWER. You talk about identities and ideas. But what are those? Are they not simply ways to manifest POWER? Take this electrical socket right here.
[Everyone looks at an empty electrical socket behind Marius. Half of the room appears captivated, the other half is just staring blankly ahead.]
Marius: As you can see, the outlet transfers power. Have you ever read The Principles of Electrical Engineering by T. Stott Farrywell? It came out in the late 1910s, as the great war was winding down, and it explained all of this. You see, the socket transfers power, before that it goes through the circuit breaker. Is the socket itself power? What about the way we discuss the socket and organize the tables and chairs around it? Now what, or who, is the actual source of power? Is it the electrician? Well, it would be easy to think so if you’re a hobbit. The elves have a different view.
Given the lack of focus on the principles of power thus far, I believe we have to start at the beginning. The word “democracy” comes from the Greek words dêmos, or common people, and krátos, which means force. Now force is easy to mistake for POWER, yet it is important to keep the two concepts distinct. The word power ultimately descends from the proto-Indo-European root of poti-. Here, already, you see that, unlike force, power is a fundamental variable that undergirds all social interactions. Force can be a kind of power, but it is ultimately the weakest kind.
Just ask Vladimir Vladimirovich about that! Oh yes, he had the tanks, he had the artillery. But what did the Cathedral have? Photons that compose motion pictures, they could not reach beyond the screen and club you over the head. But Igor from Vladivostok could be shipped across 11 time zones, given a uniform, and be told to teach you a lesson…
Now hobbits are under the impression that we truly live in a democracy, or a system of common people-force if you will. And what would cause them to believe that? Well, this is the invisible force behind the system, and its power has so much power stacked upon power that we are the proverbial fish in the water. Oh, sweet, sweet hobbits, do you have ears to hear what I am saying?
[My attention begins to stray at this point. After ten minutes or so, Ron mercifully cuts in.]
Ron: That’s very interesting, Marius. But I’d like to go back to the strangeness of this group and their complaints. When you’re talking about crime and the destruction of our great cities, aren’t you really talking about, well, since you like the euphemism of “Foundational American,” I’ll call them “1619 Americans”…
Brahmin: In a way, yes, but preserving the Foundational American stock is important. Whenever there is diversity, you see division, chaos, bloodshed. That’s the rule here, that’s the rule everywhere. Have you ever read Precambrian Pederast? He taught us about all that is wrong with this disgusting era. Ethnic homogeneity must be preserved, above all else.
Ron: That certainly doesn’t seem to be the rule here. Today, I live in the Bay Area. California is a majority-minority state. And yet we see very little of the violence you fear. In 1970, California was 76% white. It’s now 35% white. You know what’s happened to the murder rate in that time? It’s been cut by two-thirds! As far as racial strife, you may have seen recent news stories about the California reparations commission and San Francisco wanting to offer blacks ungodly amounts of money to compensate them for past and present racism. The Bay Area is like 8% black, they’re the smallest population of the major American “races.” Yet if you follow racial issues in the state, if you went into a coma in the late 1960s and woke up in 2020, you would be amazed at how little had changed. Well, pronouns and that stuff would be new. But on race, you have income and test score disparities, crime that we can’t be honest about, so-called “police brutality.” Only if anything, California is a lot more peaceful due to the demographic change you all decry so much…
Allison: But they vote, Ron! Who gave us these crazy policies?
Ron: I won’t dispute that Hispanic and Asian immigrants tend to vote Democrat. But look at it another way. Republicans in 2016 nominated the guy whose main message was “Mexicans are rapists.” In 2020, he still won 40% of them. Can you imagine if Republicans could actually pretend to like these people? Italians ended up pretty evenly divided between the two parties, and even Jews are headed in the conservative direction thanks to differential birth rates. I see no reason why there’s some impossible barrier to overcome between Mestizos and white Americans. I mean look at this room…
[In addition to the clearly swarthy Romero and Brahmin, at least a third of the room looks to be of either Hispanic or South Asian descent.]
Ron: You doubt that you can have a multiracial country? You all have built a multiracial movement based on the idea of maintaining racial purity. Don’t check your phones, you might see another alert of a Neo-Nazi Mexican mass shooter, there have been a few of those lately, and a right-wing Indian just tried to kill Biden I believe. Remember not that long ago when there was a mass shooting, and everyone would either hope it was a right-wing white male or a Muslim, depending on their politics? Well, now we have the brown white supremacist, which right-wingers on Twitter tell me can’t possibly exist, even though it’s like half their movement now.
When was the last time you even heard of Muslim terrorism? Is a brown mass shooter these days more likely to be a Muslim extremist or someone whose brain has been melted by the online right? This question would’ve been laughable a few years ago, and I guess it’s still laughable now, but for a different reason.
And the funniest part is that I suspect that all of this results from a fear of talking about what is arguably the main issue at the heart of the American experiment. That’s right, it’s the weird, sadomasochistic relationship between whites and blacks that was so well dramatized by Tom Wolfe when he was alive. Oh sure, you guys talk about race and crime. But it seems like you need your “racism” to be more inclusive. You need to pretend to exclude everyone, because it seems more consistent with universalist principles. “We just want to preserve the demographic majority, the same right that anyone else has. Oh, it’s not any particular group that’s the problem, it’s the principle of diversity. Can’t we just have a world where every nation is homogenous to the greatest extent possible and then we can all get along?”
[At this point I burst out laughing]
Me: Ron, so wait, what you’re saying is that when we see a Klansman walking around in a hood and screaming about defending the white race, we should pity him for how much his mind has been captured by political correctness? That’s quite a funny image, in fact, it alone has made my night here worthwhile.
Ron: Indeed, Richard, that is what I’m saying. And these poor kids worried about the future of the American right, are digging their own grave, because, guess what? The die has been cast, and we’re headed to a non-white majority. And so conservatism is shaping up to be a movement that represents a coalition of overweight rural whites from left behind areas of the country and short Mestizos, all crying about the passing of whiteness and also about how much the country sucks because everyone is so fat. This probably isn’t a winning message. Of course, there’s overwhelming public support for clamping down on crime and making institutions color-blind, or, as you would put it, going after civil rights law. This is what turned whites towards the Republican Party in the first place, or the disgusting ways in which white elites have let our cities be destroyed and gone to war with every American principle — merit, freedom of speech, rule of law, you name it — in the name of anti-racism.
But instead of focusing on those things and fixing the country, the American right has decided to get distracted by doubling down on becoming a movement of brown white nationalists, in a country where the majority of children born are already non-white.
[At this point, I can feel the energy go out of the room. A few of the attendees pick at one or another of Ron’s points, but they’re clearly deflated and realize that he has given them a lot to think about. An hour and a half later, he is driving me home.]
Me: Wow, Ron, that was something else. I really wish you would’ve elaborated on the vaccine thing a little bit more. Their desire to “own the libs” has really swallowed every other part of their brain, even though they like to think they’re more sophisticated than regular conservatives, and I appreciated you recently taking apart some of the most ridiculous claims of the anti-vaxxers.
Ron: Thank you, Richard. We’ll have to do this again some time.
Me: Oh yeah, I had a lot of fun. What do you think you should try to convince people of next time?
Ron: I believe that covid-19 has a non-zoonotic origin.
Me: So lab leak? That’s it? That’s very mainstream at this point, it’s impossible to find a right-winger who doesn’t believe that this was all the fault of the Chinese.
Ron: Who said anything about the Chinese?
Me: Wait, is this another one of your anti-American conspiracy theories? You’re now going to tell me that the US government accidentally inflicted covid on the world?
Ron: Who said anything about it being an accident?
Me: Please stop Ron, there are only so many mind-blowing ideas I can digest in one night. Let’s talk about the pleasant California weather for the rest of our trip, and how nice it is to live in a state with such natural beauty and low levels of violent crime.
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