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Spencer’s finesse may owe to the fact that he’s familiar with the culture he has come to despise. He didn’t grow up in a like-minded household. In fact he jokes that his parents probably “don’t agree” with his work entirely. Spencer, who’s now 35, came to embrace his ideology as a student at the University of Virginia and then continued further out on the ideological spectrum. He then obtained a master’s degree in humanities from the University of Chicago.
After a brief stint as an English teacher in Virginia, Spencer landed a job as an assistant editor at American Conservative magazine and later joined Taki’s Magazine, a paleoconservative webzine that gives a conservative take on politics and popular culture.
The site has come under fire in the past for promoting racist content. During the Trayvon Martin trial, it published an article by John Derbyshire that instructed white parents to encourage their children to stay out of predominately black neighborhoods and warned them to scrutinize black politicians more than whites. (The conservative magazine National Review fired Derbyshire after he wrote this screed.)
In 2010, Spencer founded AlternativeRight, a webzine that promotes “heretical perspectives on society and culture.” The next year, he took over as the chairman of the National Policy Institute and moved it to Montana. He has since became a speaker to like-minded audiences and gives regular video addresses on his website.
Spencer has appeared at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., and hosted online seminars with Jared Taylor, a similarly polished promoter of what Taylor calls “race-realism,” and South African Dan Roodt, who has spent his life promoting Afrikaner rights and culture. Spencer has spoken before Youth for Western Civilization, a student group that once took credit for chalking “white pride” around the campus of Towson University in Maryland.
On Oct. 26, Spencer is hosting an international conference called “After the Fall: The Future of Identity” at the Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.
With me, he was slow to unmask his feelings about race. But around sympathizers he has been forthright.
During the American Renaissance conference in April, Spencer said, “The ideal I advocate is the creation of a white ethno-state on the North American continent,” an idea he called “perfectly feasible.” During this speech he quoted Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, and said, “I have a dream.”
He also said: “Today, in the public imagination, ‘ethnic-cleansing’ has been associated with civil war and mass murder (understandably so). But this need not be the case. 1919 is a real example of successful ethnic redistribution—done by fiat, we should remember, but done peacefully.” This is true if you consider setting the stage for World War II successful.
Rachel Carroll Rivas, co-director of the Montana Human Rights Network, a group promoting cultural understanding and diversity in the state, says Spencer has stayed out of the community headlines, but says he shares the same goal as other white separatists in the area: to make the area all white. Spencer, she added, is waging a marketing campaign that repackages a classic brand of hate and selling it as a benign intellectual study. The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified Spencer as a leading academic racist.
For his part, Spencer rejects the notion that he is driven by hatred and considers “racist” a “slur word.” (“I guess ‘academic racist’ means: ‘We don’t like you … but you’re kinda smart.’ So, I guess I should take it as a compliment!” he wrote in an email.)