HP: Richard Hanania, Rising Right-Wing Star, Wrote For White Supremacist Sites Under Pseudonym

I don’t know how Richard Hanania can emerge unscathed from this, but he seems tough enough to keep going the best he can.

He’s one of my ten favorite public intellectuals (along with people like Christopher Caldwell, Steve Sailer, Nathan Cofnas, Rony Guldmann, and Charles Murray).

I’ve never been offended by anybody in my life and so I’m not starting with Hanania. I go to Orthodox shuls and we say un-PC things about out-groups all the time. It’s normal, natural and even healthy to have some negative views of out-groups, but these negative feelings should motor along with an intensity under 5/10 in most circumstances if you want to lead a productive life in a multicultural society.

The desire to say what you want and the desire for social acceptance are at war with each other. Saying exactly what you think is like playing tennis with the net down. Saying what you think in ways that are most likely to get a hearing from the public is difficult. Steve Sailer and Charles Murray are as good as anyone at this.

Hanania tried to have the best of both worlds and he played the game as effectively as anyone for years. His apology is solid.

Trying to phrase things so that they have the best chance of achieving social acceptance is the best way to go for most people most of the time. So if you have a strong in-group identity, enjoy it, but also take time intermittently to consider how your words and deeds might be perceived by those outside of your group.

A through-line in all of Richard Hanania’s work, from the pseudonymous to the up-front, is smarty pants attention-seeking. He’s an equal opportunity provocateur.

One problem with this approach is that you incentivize people to take you down.

I don’t think Hanania is neuro-typical. He typically approaches the camera with a smirk. He has an exaggerated sense of his own brilliance.

I wonder about the quality of Richard’s relationships while he was writing under the Richard Hoste persona.

I try to follow this advice:

Always assume five people will watch when you broadcast:

* Your best friend
* Your worst enemy
* Your boss
* Your mother
* A lawyer

I create from the person who thinks freely, but I strive to broadcast with my most important relationships in mind.

It’s easier to say what you think when you don’t value your relationships, but down that easy path lies destruction and death.

You’re going to be judged by the company you keep even when your own conduct is exemplary.

It sounds like Richard fell into the unforced error of saying that some races are better than others. It’s normal and natural to think your own group is best, but it is rarely wise to broadcast this.

I notice right-wingers on Twitter protesting this Richard Hanania “doxxing.” That abuses the term “doxxing” which means broadcasting somebody’s home address and other private information. Richard Hanania published in public under a pseudonym. There’s no moral obligation to protect his double life.

Hanania chose to play in the big leagues and this investigation is fair game.

Like Richard Hanania, it is important to me to be a hero. This is not something you’re supposed to admit publicly. Nobody like status-seekers and yet we all seek status. The pro-social aka those with secure attachment seek status in ways that are usually pro-social.

Selling my soul online is hard, so when I do it, I want to contribute to my community.

The most important parts of my life I don’t talk about online because my happiness is more important to me than my blogging.

Ernest Becker wrote in his 1973 classic The Denial of Death:

* Society itself is a codified hero system, which means that society everywhere is a living myth of the significance of human life, a defiant creation of meaning.

* When we appreciate how natural it is for man to strive to be a hero, how deeply it goes in his evolutionary and organismic constitution, how openly he shows it as a child, then it is all the more curious how ignorant most of us are, consciously, of what we really want and need. In our culture anyway, especially in modern times, the heroic seems too big for us, or we too small for it.

We disguise our struggle by piling up figures in a bank book to reflect privately our sense of heroic worth. Or by having only a little better home in the neighborhood, a bigger car, brighter children. But underneath throbs the ache of cosmic specialness, no matter how we mask it in concerns of smaller scope. Occasionally someone admits that he takes his heroism seriously, which gives most of us a chill… We may shudder at the crassness of earthly heroism, of both Caesar and his imitators, but the fault is not theirs, it is in the way society sets up its hero system and in the people it allows to fill its roles. The urge to heroism is natural, and to admit it honest. For everyone to admit it would probably release such pent-up force as to be devastating to societies as they now are.

* The fact is that this is what society is and always has been: a symbolic action system, a structure of statuses and roles, customs and rules for behavior, designed to serve as a vehicle for earthly heroism. Each script is somewhat unique, each culture has a different hero system. What the anthropologists call “cultural relativity” is thus really the relativity of hero-systems the world over. But each cultural system is a dramatization of earthly heroics; each system cuts out roles for performances of various degrees of heroism: from the “high” heroism of a Churchill, a Mao, or a Buddha, to the “low” heroism of the coal miner, the peasant, the simple priest; the plain, everyday, earthy heroism wrought by gnarled working hands guiding a family through hunger and disease.

It doesn’t matter whether the cultural hero-system is frankly magical, religious, and primitive or secular, scientific, and civilized. It is still a mythical hero-system in which people serve in order to earn a feeling of primary value, of cosmic specialness, of ultimate usefulness to creation, of unshakable meaning. They earn this feeling by carving out a place in nature, by building an edifice that reflects human value: a temple, a cathedral, a totem pole, a skyscraper, a family that spans three generations. The hope and belief is that the things that man creates in society are of lasting worth and meaning, that they outlive or outshine death and decay, that man and his products count.

* To become conscious of what one is doing to earn his feeling of heroism is the main self-analytic problem of life.

* The social hero-system into which we are born marks out paths for our heroism, paths to which we conform, to which we shape ourselves so that we can please others, become what they expect us to be. And instead of working our inner secret we gradually cover it over and forget it, while we become purely external men, playing successfully the standardized hero-game into which we happen to fall by accident, by family connection, by reflex patriotism, or by the simple need to eat and the urge to procreate.

* The whole thing boils down to this paradox: if you are going to be a hero then you must give a gift. If you are the average man you give your heroic gift to the society in which you live, and you give the gift that society specifies in advance. If you are an artist you fashion a peculiarly personal gift, the justification of your own heroic identity, which means that it is always aimed at least partly over the heads of your fellow men… To renounce the world and oneself, to lay the meaning of it to the powers of creation, is the hardest thing for man to achieve — and so it is fitting that this task should fall to the strongest personality type.

Dysfunctional people, such as myself at times, often bid for heroism at a cost to their well-being. When you don’t think you have much to lose, it is easy to get caught up in your own heroism and ignore the damage you are inflicting on yourself, and possibly others.

The Wall Street Journal reports today:

He Thought He Saw Wrongdoing on Wall Street. It Took Over His Life.

Years ago, Peter Clothier thought proxy firms were counting shareholder votes incorrectly. His life fell apart after he reported it.

Peter Clothier checked into a Santa Fe, N.M., hotel in 2017, alone and suicidal.

Drunk on red wine, uninterested in the opera festival he had come to attend, Clothier fumed. For years, he had been trying to call attention to what he believed was wrongdoing in his corner of Wall Street. He felt unheard by his former employer, and the government.

Clothier emailed a former colleague, saying he intended to kill himself and laying the blame on other former co-workers. He didn’t follow through, but one thing was clear: Clothier’s life was falling apart.

Whistleblowers sometimes win widespread acclaim, as when an Enron employee appeared on the cover of Time or when Russell Crowe starred in a movie about a former Big Tobacco executive. The U.S. government believes in rewarding tipsters who call attention to misbehavior. This year, the Securities and Exchange Commission issued its biggest ever whistleblower award, for $279 million.

But most whistleblowers don’t become rich or famous. Many destroy their relationships, lose their jobs, turn disillusioned when their big revelations are greeted with ambivalence. Since the SEC launched its whistleblower program more than a decade ago, the agency has received more than 64,000 tips. By late 2022, 328 of those whistleblowers had received financial awards.

Richard Hanania, when writing under a pseudonym, probably thought of himself as America’s whistleblower.

You’re most likely to misjudge things when you are not bonded to others and you are not sharing your thoughts with people who care about you. I wonder how many people Hanania told about his online persona?

The wise man balances his desires to be a hero with what those he loves considers to be heroic and makes choices balancing his own best interest and their best interests. No man should be an island. There’s nothing we do that doesn’t affect other people (I don’t believe in the modern liberal buffered strategic autonomous identity), including how I chose to spend my time at 3:50 a.m. today (which was to work on this blog post).

From the HuffPost:

A prominent conservative writer, lionized by Silicon Valley billionaires and a U.S. senator, used a pen name for years to write for white supremacist publications and was a formative voice during the rise of the racist “alt-right,” according to a new HuffPost investigation.

Richard Hanania, a visiting scholar at the University of Texas, used the pen name “Richard Hoste” in the early 2010s to write articles where he identified himself as a “race realist.” He expressed support for eugenics and the forced sterilization of “low IQ” people, who he argued were most often Black. He opposed “miscegenation” and “race-mixing.” And once, while arguing that Black people cannot govern themselves, he cited the neo-Nazi author of “The Turner Diaries,” the infamous novel that celebrates a future race war.

A decade later, writing under his real name, Hanania has ensconced himself in the national mainstream media, writing op-eds in the country’s biggest papers, bending the ears of some of the world’s wealthiest men and lecturing at prestigious universities, all while keeping his past white supremacist writings under wraps.

HuffPost connected Hanania to his “Richard Hoste” persona by analyzing leaked data from an online comment-hosting service that showed him using three of his email addresses to create usernames on white supremacist sites. A racist blog maintained by Hoste was also registered to an address in Hanania’s hometown. And HuffPost found biographical information shared by Hoste that aligned with Hanania’s own life.

Hanania did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story, made via phone, email and direct messages on social media.

The 37-year-old has been published by The New York Times and The Washington Post. He delivered a lecture to the Yale Federalist Society and was interviewed by the Harvard College Economics Review. He appeared twice on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Fox News’ former prime-time juggernaut. He was a recent guest on a podcast hosted by the CEO of Substack, the $650 million publishing platform where Hanania has nearly 20,000 subscribers.

Hanania has his own podcast, too, interviewing the likes of Steven Pinker, the famous Harvard cognitive psychologist, and Marc Andreessen, the billionaire software engineer. Another billionaire, Elon Musk, reads Hanania’s articles and replies approvingly to his tweets. A third billionaire, Peter Thiel, provided a blurb to promote Hanania’s book, “The Origins of Woke,” which HarperCollins plans to publish this September. In October, Hanania is scheduled to deliver a lecture at Stanford.

Meanwhile, rich benefactors, some of whose identities are unknown, have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into a think tank run by Hanania. The think tank doles out cash to conservative academics, and produces political studies that are cited across right-wing media.

Hanania’s rise into mainstream conservative and even more centrist circles did not necessarily occur because he abandoned some of the noxious arguments he made under the pseudonym “Richard Hoste.” Although he’s moderated his words to some extent, Hanania still makes explicitly racist statements under his real name. He maintains a creepy obsession with so-called race science, arguing that Black people are inherently more prone to violent crime than white people. He often writes in support of a well-known racist and a Holocaust denier. And he once said that if he owned Twitter — the platform that catapulted him to some celebrity — he wouldn’t let “feminists, trans activists or socialists” post there. “Why would I?” he asked. “They’re wrong about everything and bad for society.”

Richard Hanania’s story may hint at a concerning shift in mainstream American conservatism. A little over a decade ago, he felt compelled to hide his racist views behind a pseudonym. In 2023, Hanania is a right-wing star, championed by some of the country’s wealthiest men, even as he’s sounding more and more like his former white supremacist nom de plume: Richard Hoste.

Unmasking Richard Hoste

Starting in 2008, the byline “Richard Hoste” began to appear atop articles in America’s most vile publications. Hoste wrote for antisemitic outlets like The Occidental Observer, a site that once argued Jews are trying to exterminate white Americans. He wrote for Counter-Currents, which advocates for creating a whites-only ethnostate; Taki’s Magazine, a far-right hub for paleoconservatives; and VDare, a racist anti-immigrant blog.

In 2010, Hoste was among the first writers to be recruited for AlternativeRight.com, a new webzine spearheaded and edited by Richard Spencer, the white supremacist leader who later organized the deadly 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (“Little fucking kikes,” Spencer reportedly told his followers at a party after that rally. “They get ruled by people like me. Little fucking octaroons. My ancestors fucking enslaved those little pieces of fucking shit.”)

Spencer bestowed Hoste with the honor of writing one of the introductory articles for the launch of AlternativeRight.com, which would become a main propaganda organ of the nascent “alt-right,” the online fascist movement that exploded into the public consciousness due to its ties to former President Donald Trump. (Spencer shuttered the site in 2013, and it was later relaunched under another name.)

“We’ve known for a while through neuroscience and cross-adoption studies… that individuals differ in their inherent capabilities. The races do, too, with whites and Asians on the top and blacks at the bottom,” Hoste wrote in the 2010 essay, titled “Why An Alternative Right Is Necessary.”

He lamented that Republicans hadn’t done enough to stop Democrats’ “march of diversity” despite “irrefutable evidence” that some races are “better than others.”

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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