Richard Spencer doesn’t see himself as a hatemonger.
In fact, he says, the notion that what he’s doing is hateful is simply wrong.
The clean-cut, all-American-looking Spencer was the focus of harsh criticism at the Whitefish City Council meeting Monday night. He’s at the helm of the innocuously named National Policy Institute, a white nationalist independent think-tank and publishing firm.
For years Spencer, 36, has been a part-time Whitefish resident whose business and beliefs have flown well under the radar of most locals. Now a large number of area residents, led by the Love Lives Here anti-discrimination group, would rather see him leave town.
That group told the council there’s no place in Whitefish for hate and the radical idea of a white ethno-state. A few people pointed out that the Southern Poverty Law Center refers to the National Policy Institute as a “hate group.”
Spencer sees an irony in that label.
“When people call you a hate group, it means they hate you,” he told the Daily Inter Lake during a phone interview. “They’re looking at a mirror reflection... They clearly think more about me than I think about them. I don’t harm anyone; I haven’t challenged or provoked them.
“I took a look at what they’re suggesting — some kind of speech code — that the municipality wouldn’t be allowed to do business with the National Policy Institute. That’s fascist,” he said. “It’s ironic they’re suggesting municipal censorship. Why wouldn’t they just contact me instead of getting the mayor to make me illegal?”
According to Spencer, the National Policy Institute supports the heritage, identity and future of European people in the United States and around the world. Spencer, of English and German heritage, said the broad European race is what he identifies with, but he doesn’t view it as a superior race in terms of intelligence.
“It’s a question of how you measure these things,” he said. “Everyone has a different path.”
The idea of a white ethno-state is similar to Zionism for Jews, or communism for Marxists, Spencer explained. Zionism is a nationalist movement of Jews that supported the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in Israel, while communism supports a society based on common ownership. These kind of big ideas all have been considered “fantastical” at some point in time, he said.
Spencer said his work is forward-looking, and to some extent theoretical.
“It’s an ideal about the day after tomorrow, if we could imagine what kind of society we ultimately want,” he said. “We should start thinking now about what different things will be possible in the future.”
He speculates about a “post-American future,” a time when America’s world power may have waned.
“I don’t want to seem apocalyptic,” he said. “America has had a tremendous amount of power for 70 years. It has defined the world economically and culturally... these kinds of things don’t last. It never has in history.”
Spencer sees mass immigration and multiculturalism as factors that could play into America’s eventual weakness on the world stage. He maintains the white race should be embracing their own racial identity just as other ethnic groups are rediscovering and asserting their own heritage.
That sentiment doesn’t make him a racist, he insists.
“The word ‘racist’ is a slur word. I would never identify with that,” he said.
While some publications have claimed Spencer advocates for some type of government-forced sterilization to control race degeneration, he said that’s not true.
“I don’t think we should use the government for any action like this,” he said. “I reject the notion of sterilization.”
Eugenics, the practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population, does figure into his way of thinking, however.
“Eugenics and race are totally different matters,” he said. “Eugenics is wanting to use artificial selection to breed a healthier population. That idea doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with race.”
Spencer said he is concerned about population trends in today’s society, in which he believes parents with more intelligence tend to have fewer children because of the cost or other factors.
“A lot of people who have lower intelligence don’t think about those things,” he said. “They don’t think about how we care for children. This is a tragic situation. We need to talk about it to find a better way forward; it’s a question of how we get there.”
Contraception could be used in humane ways to improve the world, he maintained.
“I think most women, if given the chance, would want some kind of sensible planning,” Spencer continued.
“If we’re going to have a post-American future; if this current world order would go away, I’d want a state defined by our civilization,” he said.
Though he envisions that future culture as a European one, “it’s not just about being white,” Spencer said. “I hope we can have a state defined by the peoples of Europe and our shared civilization.”
He acknowledged there are many contradictory forces in European history, including ethnic and religious conflicts.
“I don’t think any world empire can last, and I think that goes for America,” Spencer said. “If there was a way to all come together, and some of these contradictory forces could be constructive tensions; that’s my dream.”
Spencer’s ultimate goal, he said, is to publish “some very important works that change consciousness, things that change the way people see the world.”
Features editor Lynnette Hintze may be reached at 758-4421 or by email at email@example.com.