Celebrate the Facts!
Richard Spencer coined the term alt-right and is a leader in the white nationalist movement. He is refined, intelligent, tailored, articulate; he is a button-downed face of a toxic ideology and is dangerous, but Spencer has a self-destructive streak. Perhaps his advocacy of racist ideology is a way of externalizing his own self-loathing, like his penchant for self-immolation.
The public has a skewed perception of white nationalism because of artificial divisions of groups by nominal leadership and slight differences in geography and ideological objectives. Corporate media tends to support these narratives by covering particularly repugnant aspects of each. The many divisions include Ku Klux Klan, alt-right, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, Boogaloo Boys, racist Skinheads, Aryan Brotherhood, and various white nationalist militias.
Rather than seeing themselves as a stain on humanity, these thought leaders tend to adopt a white Knight attitude, where they delude alone can save the white race, despite nonexistent villains who attempt to stop them. Operating in echo chambers of white grievance, these folks reinforce one another’s eccentric beliefs to the point of extremism and often violence.
The overriding goal of these organizations is to create a pan-continental white male-led sovereign nation then deport or eliminate anyone who is not Caucasian. Seeded by military veterans, soldiers, and police officers, these groups quickly tend to violence.
The key to white nationalist strategy is insulating leaders from direct culpability in criminal acts. White nationalist Louis Beam prescribed the mechanism in his 1992 essay Leaderless Resistance. The piece recommended no longer planning in large groups but forming cells of one to six men. This methodology became standard among white nationalist groups, mitigating the ability of law enforcement to tie leaders to criminal acts.
Spencer was born in Boston and came from some money. His mother owned several cotton plantations in Mississippi, and his father was an ophthalmologist.
Spencer obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, a master's degree from the University of Chicago and dropped out of the Ph.D. program in History at Duke University. He is intelligent, articulate, well-educated, and makes a lovely appearance. But, unfortunately, he’s the perfect lead singer for a toxic ideology.
Spencer became president of a not-for-profit organization called the National Policy Institute in 2011. He also ran NPI’s publishing division, Washington Summit Publishers, a book publisher specializing in racist titles including Witches, Feminism, and the Fall of the West, and Martin Heidegger: The Philosophy of Another Beginning.
Spencer also operates a website called Radix Journal. Charitably, the website, founded in 2012, is amateurish in format and is not exceptionally well-maintained. Unfortunately, Spencer forgot the mantras of consistent, compelling content in this pursuit as the content is sporadic and dated.
Racist gibberish litters the site, including a discussion of ethnogenesis and the idea that interracial marriage creates a new race. Among other items, the website promotes a racist polemic called Making Sense of Race, by a running mate of Spencer’s, Edward Dutton, available on Amazon. Dutton claims Making Sense of Race ‘will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about race, but might have been afraid to ask.’
Like other white nationalists such as David Duke and Augustus Invictus, Spencer fancies himself an author. He edited The Great Purge: The Deformation of the Conservative Movement, also sold by Amazon as The Great Erasure. In addition, Spencer wrote the forward to The Conquest of a Continent and edited Hero Complex: The Man of Tomorrow in Pulp Culture.
A sampling of Spencer’s documented statements:
Spencer dog whistles his way through the convoluted rationale for his viewpoints. However, he’s smart enough to weave together an intriguing, though flawed, narrative. Spencer attempted to limit his liabilities with some limited success, although time finally caught up with him, and he’s in deep, dark water.
Spencer married a Russian named Nina Kouprianova in 2010. Kouprianova seemed a perfect match in the fanatic department, as she had published glowing articles about Vladimir Putin, criticized western media, and been a talking head on the Russia Today (RT) network espousing anti-Ukrainian propaganda
Kouprianova accused Spencer of physically, emotionally, and verbally abusing her during their eight-year marriage, according to documents and exhibits filed in court as part of their divorce proceedings. Kouprianova documented the abuse in a court filing, including transcriptions of conversations, emails, photographs, and a call to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
The judge presiding over Spencer’s divorce case found him in contempt of court in May 2020 over his failure to pay more than $60,000 in fees owed to the court-appointed guardian ad litem who represented the interests of Spencer’s two children.
Spencer attempted a speaking tour of college campuses in 2017. The results were catastrophic. After his speech at the University of Florida, police arrested three of his supporters and charged them with attempted murder. Riots and arrests punctuated his speech at Michigan State University.
In May 2021, a federal judge ordered the NPI to pay $2.4 million after losing a suit brought by an Ohio man severely injured during the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Spencer was a defendant in Sines v. Kessler, a federal civil suit against organizers, promoters, and participants in the Unite the Right rally, the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017. The jury awarded $25 million to the plaintiffs. Spencer’s attorney withdrew from the case, and he defended himself, pleading poverty, so he will likely attempt to appear judgment-proof to avoid paying any settlement.
The NPI exists no longer. Spencer resides in Whitefish, Montana, a tiny hamlet near the Canadian border, and lives in his mother’s house. Media reports indicate locals ostracized him and even booed him out of a restaurant.
What next for Spencer? He could continue to live off family wealth, but one is inclined to speculate he’ll return his endeavors as an alt-right vocalist and attempt to monetize his infamy.
Michael Donnelly investigates societal concerns with an untribal approach - to limit the discussion to the facts derived from primary sources so the reader can make more informed decisions.