Guess who came to the American Renaissance conference
The other day I linked a news article in a Virginia newspaper that truthfully reported a speech about Islam delivered by Andrew Bostom, author of The Legacy of Jihad. The fact that the reporter simply conveyed what Bostom had said, without imposing a liberal spin and liberal framework on it, was so rare as to be astonishing. Today in the Washington Post there appears the more typical liberal media coverage of politically incorrect ideas, a story about the American Renaissance conference held this weekend in Henrdon, Virginia. The story barely mentions what any of the speakers actually said; it consists almost completely of attacks on the conference, including lots of quotes from liberals who did not attend the meeting saying why it was so bad and racist. And the story is even framed by the hoary trope, dating from Dinesh D’Souza’s dishonest account of the first AR conference in 1994 (where I was a speaker), that this was a meeting of Klansmen in suits and ties instead of sheets. The liberal imagination sure is a dry spring, as Lionel Trilling commented a half-century ago.
How can liberals stand this world they’ve created? Isn’t there some little spark of normal intellectual curiosity in them that would make them like to know what different kinds of people, including race realists and white racialists, have to say about the tremendous ethnic/racial/cultural problems of our time? Maybe there is, but liberal society effectively suppresses it.
Unfortunately, the main attention-getting thing about this conference, as far as the mainstream media were concerned, was that David Duke was in the audience and made himself a visible presence throughout the weekend, culminating in a three-minute harangue by him from the floor during the question period on the last day, in which, according to someone at the conference, he expatiated on the only subject that is of interest to him, the supposedly alien and illegitimate presence of the Jews in America. Of course, as far as Duke is concerned, Jews are an alien and illegitimate presence in Israel as well; he doesn’t want Jews to live anywhere. During Duke’s remarks, Michael Hart, who had spoken at the 1996 AR conference, stood up and said, “Your’re a f——-g Nazi. You have disgraced this meeting,” and stormed out. Apparently Jared Taylor, editor of the American Renaissance newsletter and host of the conference, was mightily upset by Duke’s acting out. But what did he expect? Duke is a major Jew-hater and an attention hog. How could Taylor have been so naïve as to allow Duke to attend at all, especially as he had rigorously excluded him from every AR conference since the first AR meeting in 1994, which Duke famously crashed? Let’s hope that Taylor has—finally—learned his lesson.
Most of the speakers at this conference were Europeans, including Nick Griffin (who delivered an enthusiastic speech saying the tide is turning and that people are waking up to the Islamic menace), which gave the meeting a very different complexion from its usual focus on American race problems.