OCCIDENTAL DISSENT’S HUNTER WALLACE: Paleoconservatism Won The Metapolitical Debate—Next, Political Power
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Crossposted from Occidental Dissent, where it was posted under the title Paleoconservatism: The Journey from the Margins to the Mainstream. Comment at Occidental Dissent

VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow writes: We’re once again cross-posting Occidental Dissent’s Hunter Wallace, this time his powerful speech to the 20th Anniversary Celebration for James Edwards’ The Political Cesspool radio show. Wallace very kindly gives me, the great Pat Buchanan, and several other VDARE.com writers credit for inspiring and informing him politically over the last almost 25 years(!)

He also celebrates the fact that, in spite of a corrupt GOP  Establishment, numerous self-appointed gatekeepers, the ongoing communist coup, Deep State plotting, and, in VDARE.com’s case, New York Attorney General Letitia James’s unscrupulous lawfare, our ideas are winning with the Republican base (aka America).

We’ve added many links to Wallace’s speech—delivering it out loud, obviously he didn’t need them—and that includes links to the round dozen of polls he cites that show Americans are starting to see what’s going on.

Hunter Wallace: I delivered the following speech at The Political Cesspool 20 Year Anniversary Conference this morning.

I want to talk with you today about a paradox.

At the level of metapolitics, which is the realm of ideas, values, and priorities, it seems like everything has changed on the Right. At the level of politics, however, nothing much has changed. We continue to be bitterly disappointed. We are like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football which Lucy always pulls away at the last minute. Political victories always seem just over the horizon.

I’ve been politically active since 2000. I will start there because my political awareness only goes back about 24 years to the dawn of the new millennium. I was a 20-year-old sophomore at Auburn University in Alabama. I was growing concerned about racially charged issues like illegal immigration and affirmative action. I voted for the first time in the 2000 presidential election. I voted for Al Gore because I disliked George W. Bush. It wasn’t an ideological vote. I had an instinctive dislike of the man.

As many of you will recall, Pat Buchanan ran for president on the Reform Party ticket in 2000. He defeated Donald Trump in the primary and won 450,000 votes in the general election. Some of you were likely part of the 0.4% of Americans who voted for him. I first heard about Pat Buchanan during the Florida Recount, when votes for him on the infamous “butterfly ballot” in Palm Beach County, FL cost Al Gore the presidency. I was too young to remember his presidential campaigns in the 1990s.

In hindsight, the years around 2000 were the winter of paleoconservatism and the summer season of neoconservative dominance of the Right. National Review, The Weekly Standard and Commentary, which were all controlled by first and second generation neocons, defined the boundaries of the respectable midwit Right. Fox News, which was also controlled by neocons and dominated by Irish Catholic blowhards like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, defined the lowbrow Right. The Religious Right was dominated by Christian Zionists and neocons like Richard John Neuhaus. Pat Buchanan, who had been smeared as an anti-Semite by William F. Buckley, had left the Republican Party and led the Reform Party into oblivion. Sam Francis, who had been fired by the Washington Times for remarks he made at the 1994 American Renaissance conference, edited the Citizens Informer on the margins of the Right. Both Buchanan and Francis were published by VDARE, which was founded by Peter Brimelow in 1999.

I don’t remember much about the glory days of the Reagan era during the Cold War, when the United States triumphed over the Evil Empire and the Berlin Wall came down. It coincided with my childhood. I don’t remember William F. Buckley either. This is important because I am middle-aged now and no one younger than me remembers this time either. My formative influences in young adulthood in the 2000s were George W. Bush and 9/11, the Iraq War, and the Crash of 2008. I also developed my views through interacting with likeminded people on the internet, not through watching television.

In the early 2000s, the mainstream Right was still in thrall to its vision of Reaganism, which only seemed to become more ambitious after Reagan himself departed the political scene. The mainstream Right was pro-war, pro-immigration, and pro-globalization. It was “optimistic” about America’s future. It supported amnesty for illegal aliens and global free trade. Nationalism and populism were stigmatized on the Right. “Racism” was strongly taboo. Anti-Semitism was verboten. Protectionism was a dirty word. True Conservatism was defined as classical liberalism. The SPLC and ADL were considered respected “watchdog” organizations. It was a party in which John McCain was considered a “maverick” and the leading rival to the establishment. Much of the energy of the Right at this time was focused on “ending evil” and “ending tyranny” in the world by exporting democracy and liberalism to the Middle East.

Those of us who recoiled from this glorious vision and who identified with its critics developed an acute sense of our own marginalization. White identitarians, paleoconservatives, rightwing populists, and libertarians were always part of the Republican coalition. We were junior partners though. The values and priorities of the Republican establishment and its demographic base among white college-educated voters in the suburbs were very different. The conservative movement understood their coalition as a “three-legged stool” of social conservatives (the Religious Right), defense hawks (neocons), and fiscal conservatives (free marketers). The reality of the Republican coalition was becoming more complex than this antiquated self-image in the 2000s. There were millions of disaffected white voters who rejected the Left and usually voted Republican, but who were misaligned with the mainstream Right for various reasons, mostly due to its dumb ideology, which was still a reaction to the New Deal era.

Mainstream conservatives had Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, National Review, and the Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage. They had gatekeepers at all the institutions which they policed to keep out the “racists.” They even had Tucker Carlson in those days. In contrast, we had Pat Buchanan in exile on MSNBC. We had our own alternative archipelago of web zines, forums, podcasts, and blogs on the internet. We also had the comment sections… do you remember those?

These websites exploded in number in the 2000s and were the seedbed of our dissident rightwing counterculture. We discussed and debated all the taboo issues. We read all the pundits who were purged from respectable conservatism, like Joe Sobran and John Derbyshire. This “national conversation” was driven underground and went on outside of mainstream channels. It didn’t attract much attention until the consensus that gradually developed out of it became known in the 2010s as the “alt-right.”

In my case, it began with discovering Stormfront in 2001 and reading Pat Buchanan’s book The Death of The West, which was about Western cultural decline and the Great Replacement. Pat Buchanan released a torrent of books and columns in those years: The Great Betrayal (1998), A Republic, Not an Empire (1999), The Death of the West (2002), Where the Right Went Wrong (2004), State of Emergency (2006), Day of Reckoning (2007), Suicide of a Superpower (2011). I also read Peter Brimelow’s Alien Nation (1995) and Lawrence Auster’s The Path to National Suicide (1991). I read Richard Herrnstein, and Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve (1994). I read Jared Taylor’s Paved with Good Intentions (1992). I read Dr. Kevin MacDonald’s The Culture of Critique (1998) and David Duke’s My Awakening (1998). I devoured Sam Francis, Steve Sailer, and Paul Gottfried columns at VDARE and Chronicles. I listened to Dr. William Pierce’s radio show. I read Justin Raimondo on Antiwar.com. I used to read the paleolibertarians on LewRockwell.com.

In retrospect, I absorbed my politics from Pat Buchanan and other older men in the paleoconservative / paleolibertarian / White identitarian sphere. In particular, I remember Buchanan saying everything that really needed to be said on issues from deracination to demographic change to the West’s religious and cultural decline to liberalism to the American Empire to the power of the Israel Lobby in Congress. It is all there. Buchanan even wrote the definitive book on World War II—Churchill, Hitler and The Unnecessary Warwhich was published in 2008. National identity issues became the salient issues for us. We understood that the rest of our lives were going to be defined by a tumultuous era of racial and cultural change. Mainstream conservative liberals couldn’t imagine a world where anyone would be disturbed about this. It would all work out once the government was cut down to size.

Almost 25 years have passed. That’s an entire phase of life.

I was a young adult in 2001. I am a middle-aged man with two children in 2024. I’m getting gray hairs. A generation below me has reached young adulthood. My grandparents’ generation has passed away. We now live in a world where everyone younger than 45 was raised on the internet.

We have been posting on the internet for a quarter century now, reading and sharing articles, commenting on articles, producing and listening to podcasts, producing and watching videos, hosting and attending conferences like this one. The development of social media essentially threw gasoline on the conversation that we were already having online. The internet was relatively free until 2017. The Powers That Be didn’t grasp the significance of what was happening until Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election.

Here are some numbers which I would have found too optimistic in 2004:

  • In a recent Marist poll in April 2024,84% of Republican voters supported deporting ALL illegal aliens. 77% considered anti-White racism as problematic as anti-black racism. 65% thought immigration was bad for the economy. 77% said they believed America was too politically correct. 56% desire a strong leader who will break the rules to set things right. 28% believe they might even have to resort to violence to sort it out. The poll found that opposition to illegal immigration, political correctness, and anti-White racism were the most galvanizing and unifying issues for Republican voters.
  • In a recent Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll in May 2024, 86% of Republicans prioritized controlling and reducing immigration as an important policy goal. 89% supported increased deportations. 87% supported expanding the border wall with Mexico. 85% wanted to penalize businesses that hire illegal aliens. Only 33% support a path to citizenship for illegal aliens.
  • In a recent Gallup poll in April 2024, 27% of Americans picked immigration as their most important issue. This is the first time in the history of the Gallup poll that immigration has not only been the most important issue, but has stayed there for the past three months.
  • In a recent U Mass Amherst poll, 60% of Republicans said they believed America was in danger of losing its identity. 66% believe the Great Replacement is happening. Multiple polls on this issue have illustrated that Americans understand this in terms of racial and cultural demographic change.
  • In the most recent PRRI American Values Survey, 52% of Republicans said they believed that God intended America to be a promised land for European Christians. 72% thought America had become too soft and feminine. 55% see immigrants as invaders. 69% see immigrants as a threat to American customs and values. Only 30% believe “white supremacy” is still a problem.
  • In a recent Chicago Council on Global Affairs Survey, 53% of Republican voters wanted America to stay out of world affairs. This is the first time in the history of the survey that staying out of world affairs has been preferred to taking an active part in world affairs. In the 2000s, only 27% of Republican voters on average wanted to stay out of world affairs.
  • In the latest New York Times/Siena poll, 69% of Americans wanted either major changes to the system or to tear it down entirely
  • In a CBS News poll, 81% of Republican primary voters said they agreed with Trump that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of the country.
  • In a recent Gallup poll, only 17% of Republican voters were satisfied with the way our democracy is working, which is down from 67% in 1998.
  • In a recent American Compass poll , 77% of Republican voters supported tariffs to boost American manufacturing. 78% supported government support to developed advanced technologies like semiconductors. 57% thought Wall Street investors were weakening our economy. 41% of Republican voters even had a positive view of labor unions.
  • In a recent poll which was featured in a Jerusalem Post article, nearly half (42.4%) of young evangelical Christians under 30 said that they neither supported Israel or the Palestinians. There has been a 50% plunge in support for Israel among young evangelicals since 2018.
  • In a recent Gallup poll, 30% of Republican voters disapproved of Israel’s military actions in Gaza. A recent Pew poll found that 26% of Republican voters oppose military aid to Israel. A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll found that 34% of Republicans are less likely to support candidates that support military aid to Israel. Support for Israel is strongly related to age.

Generally speaking, public opinion on the Right is trending in the right direction on almost all of our key issues. Identity issues are now the animating force in the Republican coalition. We live in world where Rich Lowry is publishing books like The Case for Nationalism and writing articles like “Yes, Fight Anti-White Racism,” and where immigration is the most important issue. Yoram Hazony hosts National Conservatism conferences. Even our traditional enemies now want to be perceived as nationalists.

These sentiments have also made their way into official campaign rhetoric. Donald Trump is running in 2024 on deporting all illegal aliens, building the border wall, ending our involvement in foreign wars, enacting huge tariffs on Chinese goods (Joe Biden has already beat him to it), dismantling the Deep State, ending anti-white discrimination, and so on. Whether Trump will actually follow through on any of these laudable goals is a separate question. He is making his pitch to an audience which wants these things. These are things which we wanted 20 years ago, when most Republicans were clapping like seals for the Patriot Act and supporting the invasion of Iraq. Even the U.S. military is now suspect on the Right.

Six years ago, woke evangelical elites in the Southern Baptist Convention like Dwight McKissic [Tweet him] and Russell Moore mounted a campaign to get my friend James Edwards ousted from his church. The Southern Baptist Convention condemned the alt-right. Today, every Christian church including my own church—the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod—is dividing over the rising influence of the Dissident Right and Christian nationalism. Big Eva elites like Russell Moore and Beth Moore have been ousted from positions of influence. The Presbyterian Church in America recently cancelled a panel that featured David French due to an overwhelming online backlash. In April, the French family stormed out of the PCA after accusing their last church of being “brimming with neo-Confederates” who have repeatedly confronted them at the communion table. Over half of Southern Republicans now support a National Divorce.

These are all highly encouraging numbers.

Whether it is white Christian nationalism, a National Divorce, the growth of nationalism and populism on the American Right, opposition to globalism, support for industrial policy, explicit opposition to anti-whiteism, a desire to deport all illegal aliens and cut legal immigration, skepticism about Our Greatest Ally Israel, concern about cultural decline, or a desire to stay out of foreign wars, ordinary people have received the message. It is resonating. Even Charlie Kirk can be found bashing MLK these days.

In spite of all this good news, which is welcome and long overdue, the catch is that so much work still needs to be done. Nothing that we want is really happening in spite of the growth in public support. Instead, Congress recently voted to spend $95 billion to support the wars in Israel and Ukraine. Illegal immigration is currently at an all-time high. Anti-white discrimination and hate in education have never been more intense. The Deep State has never been this out of control. Donald Trump is currently on trial in New York. Confederate monuments and other historic monuments, such as statues of Christopher Columbus, have been coming down for years. Meanwhile, House Republicans have funded a new FBI building, renewed and expanded government surveillance, and have held over 20 separate votes on Israel and anti-Semitism in the last two months. We have been told that Jewish students on Ivy League campuses are facing the equivalent of the Jim Crow South and Nazi Germany. The Republican House recently passed the Antisemitism Awareness Act and the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, which would defund our own Department of Defense until Israel gets the military aid that recently cleared Congress.

It is no exaggeration to say that Israel’s Amen Corner on Capitol Hill looms large as a bigger problem than ever. It has hijacked the legislative agenda. No other issue facing the nation receives adequate attention. Victory for us feels so close and yet at the same time still so far away, because it is so difficult to imagine our current representatives spending their political capital to address any of our issues. Even if Donald Trump wins the 2024 election, you have to wonder: Will that benefit us or mainly Israel?

We’ve come a long way over the past 25 years. The metapolitical battle is close to being won. The challenge of the next 20 years will be figuring out how to translate these metapolitical gains into tangible political power and actual political victories. Thank you.

Hunter Wallace writes for Occidental Dissent.

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