‘Leader Of Richard Spencer’s White Nationalist Group Was Inspired By A Jewish Intellectual’

From the Forward:

Evan McClaren, the new leader of Richard Spencer’s white nationalist think tank says his political path into far-right politics began after reading the work of Paul Gottfried — a Jewish intellectual who has been dubbed the “Moses of the alternative right.”

McClaren became executive director at the National Policy Institute this summer, taking over the role that Spencer once held and says he was “very attracted to the writings” of Gottfried as a younger man.

“I was very attracted to the writings that were published by Paul Gottfried,” McLaren told the Intercept.

Gottfried is an academic and author who has been an outspoken critic of neoconservatives in the Republican Party and coined the term “alternative right” — which Spencer later shortened to “alt-right.” While Gottfried does not call himself a white nationalist he has become — in the words of Tablet — a “philosophical lodestone” to people like McLaren and Spencer.

McLaren was so moved by reading Gottfried’s work that he drove to his office in Pennsylvania to get involved in Gottfried’s H.L. Mencken Club, named for the 20th century “free-thinker.”

It was through this club and Gottfried that McLaren would go on to meet other white nationalist leaders like Spencer — and later take over leadership at NPI.

“I knew Evan during his college years at Kenyon,” Gottfried wrote in an email to the Forward. “He then attended an early meeting of the Mencken Club but never came back. I was flabbergasted to see him evolving into some kind of white nationalist.”

At a Shabbat dinner in 1994, I met a guy and immediately hated him because it seemed like he was making progress on some woman at the party I wanted. Then I started talking to the guy and we kept talking deep into the evening and it turned out he had no designs on the woman (who I had no success with anyway). This guy became my best friend in LA from 1994-1998.

I felt chagrined that night about the thin line between love and hate. I started out the night hating the guy and ended the night befriending him. He became such a good friend that I trusted him enough to give him a credit card (I was responsible for it) and I expected he would pay his bills promptly. It turned out that he stiffed me for about $500 and got furious when I canceled his card. He never wanted to discuss what happened and that took a toll on our friendship and I felt like I wasn’t particularly interested in having him in my life.

A mutual friend said to me that I should join the line of people who’ve been burned by this guy.

My buddy’s life went from bad to worse. He had accident after accident and normal life ceased for him around 1999. I haven’t spoken to him since about 2008.

It is easy to flip between love and hate — for individuals and for groups. I’m not surprised that many white nationalists were influenced by Jewish intellectual Paul Gottfried. In slightly different circumstances, our love turns to hate and vice versa. In one context, goyim might be favorably disposed to many Jews and in other contexts, they might want all of them gone from their country, just as for Jews, in some circumstances, may feel positively toward goyim and in slightly different circumstances, hate them.

Big doors swing on small hinges. If you are a visible representative of a minority group, you should be on excellent behavior when dealing with out-groups. Millions of lives might swing on it.

Hitler had many positive experiences with Jews but more negative ones. I’m not sure how much his personal experiences shaped his worldview on Jews.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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