White-Shoed Supremacy: A resurgent white racial consciousness is afoot, eschewing the militia look

By Leonard Zeskind

The Nation June 10, 1996

 Over Memorial Day weekend, Samuel Jared Taylor’s “American Renaissance” newsletter will convene 150 university professors, journalists and clergymen in Louisville, Kentucky’s Seelbach Hotel for gentlemanly discussion—coats and ties required.  They will catalogue a growing list of indecencies, including theft of the national shrines by bands of multicultural brigands, and an imminent demographic tsunami that will swamp European-Americans altogether.  They will lament the genetic link between the black race, crime and I.Q. as a sobering but scientific fact. 

 At the end, a solution will present itself: resurgent white racial consciousness as a precursor to old fashioned white supremacy.  Nothing hateful, mind you, just the stuff that once made America great.  They call it “white separatism” now.     

 This is not just another gathering of crackpots.  Many of the “American Renaissance” crowd came from respected institutions. And thanks to the presidential campaign of Pat Buchanan, whom many of them have supported and informally advised, the wind is at their backs. Their rise is emblematic of a re-alignment on the right: a break in the ranks of religious and cultural conservatives and the emergence of a new white nationalism as a credible autonomous movement.  Although weakened by the infantilism of its militia wing, the new white nationalists will increasingly act as the vanguard of the far right.

 More a brain trust for a neo-Confederate national revival than an Aryan Nations’ militia outpost, the Memorial Day conference will be a reprise of a 1994 Atlanta meeting.  At that time Taylor, a handsome middle-aged Japan expert and Anglophile Yalie, introduced a small contingent of northern Jews and Catholics to his Southern brethren.  Rabbi Meyer Schiller from Yeshiva University High School in Queens, Fr. Ronald Tacelli S.J. from Boston University and CUNY prof Michael Levin spoke to a crowd that included Ed Fields, publisher of The Truth At Last, a baldly anti-Semitic tabloid popular at cross-burnings. For some reason, David Duke was turned away.

 Sam Dickson, an Atlanta lawyer whose hobby is casting doubt on the Holocaust at his own Historical Review Press, was my favorite of the weekend.  He skewered the left-wing portrait of right-wingers as paranoid and status-anxious. Tactfully, Dickson left the business about Hitler and genocide at home.  A supporter of David Duke’s campaigns for state representative and Louisiana governor, he gave $250 to Pat Buchanan’s presidential bid last year.

 Dickson isn’t the only Old South-type to support Buchanan’s presidential aspirations.  Among them is Boyd Cathey, former editor of Southern Partisan, a glossy quarterly magazine devoted to sectional irredentism and re-doing the War Between the States. Cathey was the North Carolina state chairman for Buchanan in 1992.  Three years earlier, he joined the twenty-five-member advisory board of the Institute for Historical Review in California, which maintains that the Nazis didn’t do it. He claims to have left the advisory board in 1992, although he is still listed on institute publications. He and Buchanan are now two of Southern Partisan’s three “senior advisors.”

 When Taylor first started “American Renaissance” six years ago, he stuck to the usual right-wing litany of complaints about black people and affirmative action, without much hint of the genetic determinism that distinguishes white supremacists from ordinary racists.  His 1992 book was similarly cast; in a review in The Wall Street Journal, Clint Bolick of the Institute for Justice in Washington, D.C., called it “easily the most comprehensive indictment of…race-conscious civil rights policies.”

 Then came The Bell Curve, which altered the debate on the right about race.  Now it’s O.K. to say what could only be intimated in the past. As American Renaissance concluded in 1994, “The rules of dialogue in America may finally have changed…by injecting questions of race and intelligence into the mainstream, [The Bell Curve] has done the country an enormous service.”  Everyone get out your yardsticks; science is at hand. “Larger heads (containing larger brains) are positively correlated with intelligence,” Taylor wrote in a book review in that same issue. “As groups, white and Asians have larger brains than blacks.”

 At the same time, Taylor has stripped anti-Semitism, if not anti-Semites, from the mix.  By keeping the conversation in Atlanta well-mannered and heavily referenced, he stuck a decidedly white supremacist foot in the door of a mainstream conservative movement that still bars the bedsheet and brownshirt crowd.

 One of the first to sense the wind shift was Sam Francis, a long time friend and informal advisor to Pat Buchanan.  While Francis wasn’t certain that race was a “sufficient” cause of white accomplishment, it certainly was a “necessary” one. “The civilization that we as whites created in Europe and America could not have developed apart from the genetic endowments of the creating people,” he told the Renaisancers two years ago.  At that time, Taylor had just raised the white nationalist sail, which is now filling with the wind from Buchanan’s America First campaign.