Richard Spencer’s Nordic Supermen

March 14th, 2010 at 1:39 pm | 66 Comments |

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Before one proceeds with an article explaining what goes on in the white nationalist world, it’s probably important to explain exactly how one knows about it.

I have always been intrigued by the bizarre. I’m familiar with every weird movement in the book: from astral projection to suppressed Nazi technologies to black magick — yes, with a ‘k’, if it’s loony, I’ve probably studied it. (With apologies to John Avlon, anyone who thinks that Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann represent the lunatic fringe of America is not being very adventurous.) Why exactly I take such an interest in the field is something of a mystery even to me. I suppose that, to a degree, I’m attracted to the creepy, mystical aesthetic surrounding it. It’s also continually fascinating to explore the outer regions of the human experience.

Now, anytime one researches this area, he’s sooner or later bound to come across what I call the Nordic cult. Its dominant branch is ‘Odinism,’ which seeks to revive ancient Pagan tribal religions from Northern Europe, with a special focus on the warrior-god Odin. Alternative Right‘s Richard Spencer — who is also a former employee of The American Conservative, one might add — is in a Facebook group called the “IrminFolk Odinist Organization” (and another called “Society for the Re-Definition of the word ‘RACISM’”). Odinism is typically — though not always — racialist in orientation, usually emphasizing the bloodline of the adherent. A white nationalist text I once stumbled across put it thus: “It’s not you, it’s the chain, the chain, the chain…”

Strictly speaking, they are not white supremacists. When white nationalists use the word “racism,” they are not calling for the subjugation of other races. They simply want them to live somewhere else, with their “own kind.” The races naturally do not intermingle well, they maintain, and inborn biological differences make it impossible to form a cohesive mixed-race society. As an article on Alternative Right puts it: diversity is a “siren song.” This is by-the-book collectivism, no matter how much Spencer protests to the contrary.

Contra Charles Johnson, none of this has anything to do with the Republican Party or mainstream conservatives. This is a fringe movement that gladly declares itself reactionary. One ought to understand it, though — to differentiate it from rank-and-file right-wing beliefs, and to grasp the beast as it is, rather than as one supposes it to be.

*  *  *

In the course of my readings, I picked up contacts within this bizarre movement, and was once invited to a white nationalist gathering by an acquaintance of mine who lives in the area. I’ll call him John. I don’t ask for John’s conversation, nor did I ask for him to invite me to this event, but he’s thirty years old and lives with his mother, so his social skills are a little lacking. He was told to bring someone he knew, and for whatever reason, he thought to ask a gay, atheist, classical liberal.

I wasn’t told the location — it was a secret! — so I just gave him my address and told him to scoop me up. After being hopelessly lost for about an hour, he finally arrived. Coincidentally, my mother was making her way home (I’m in college) at this very moment and wondered where on Earth I was heading and who on Earth I was with. Trying to explain it to her, John informed her, without looking her in the eyes, that it was a Northern European cultural festival. Fine, good enough explanation for her, she said — and as we drove off, he explained why he couldn’t look at her in the eyes: she’s a MILF! (Even the most manly and racially pure get nervous around pretty women.)

Sadly, when I arrived, the festival was already over. All that remained were four or five stragglers and the head honcho: a fat, hairy, shirtless man bearing a Thor’s Hammer necklace. Now, I’d planned my day around this event and I didn’t intend to leave without some good anecdotes, so I asked some of them for information about their ideology and their organizations. One of them handed me a business card promoting the “Wolves of Vinland,” a “folkish heathen” organization that revolved around ancestor-worship, Nordic pagan imagery, and racial purity.

In the meantime, I’d seen the wife and children of the master of the house going back and forth. All of his young boys sported neo-Pagan Thor’s Hammer necklaces, and their father proudly announced to his guests that he was raising his children to be warriors. Even at school, he said, they’re proud of their ancestry. When students ask them why they wear the hammer, they’ll explain that they are proud to be Nordic. (The subtext of the conversation was: ‘I intend to live vicariously through them, for I am one hundred pounds too heavy to be any kind of warrior.’)

I sat and watched in morbid curiosity. The conversation soon shifted to the direction of the movement, and three of them discussed who counted as legitimate members of the folk. The first man, whose ancestry could apparently be traced back to Northern Europe, thought that the folk, properly conceived, was strictly a Nordic venture. Norway usually gets top billing among subscribers to this line of thinking, but Sweden and Denmark are almost always approved. Iceland and Finland are usually good to go, too. But to preserve the purity of the folk, there should be action toward excluding those of impure, non-Nordic ancestry.

Another man, whose heritage was German, argued that the blood of the folk actually extended to central Europe and the surrounding areas. Conveniently enough, the third man, whose ancestry was Irish, believed that anyone of any European ancestry should be included in the folk. The folk are a pan-European movement, not a Northern European one — even though, he admitted, the purest folk were of Nordic descent.

They also discussed an event from earlier in the day, when a white woman apparently brought her racially impure boyfriend to the event. Many of the folk approached him, telling him that his presence made them uncomfortable. Not surpisingly, he was acquiescent and left. (What he was thinking by showing up in the first place, I have no idea.)

John sat back in silence for most of the time, although I did provoke him by saying that he had a rather Jewish-looking nose. He was livid while driving me home: “You can’t say things like that! They might think I’m a Jew! Please don’t ever say anything about me looking like a Jew!” I suggested that he try to find friends who aren’t going to judge him based upon whether he has a “Jew nose,” but I somehow don’t think the message hit home.

*  *  *

The ‘Alternative Right’ most diverges with American conservatism in the way that it takes a sledgehammer to classical liberalism. A crude ‘might is right’ philosophy is applied to human action, with the understanding that group loyalty and self-preservation within the collective is the only way to prosper. Richard Spencer seems to have picked at least part of it up after a hideously poor reading of the works of Friedrich Nietzsche — he is a self-proclaimed Nietzsche fanatic (although, like most wannabe-ubermensches, Spencer is little more than a scribbler).

Christianity is abhorred because of its inclusiveness. Nietzsche’s attack on the ‘slave morality’ of Christianity — which is a swipe at altruism, mostly — is extrapolated to an understanding that Judaism and Christianity are too racially impure. Anyone can become a Christian — all that’s required is faith in the divinity of Jesus. This is what sparks the impetus to Odinism: it’s more selective, and one’s membership is determined by his genetic makeup, rather than individual accomplishments or personal beliefs.

Even one’s musical tastes must be examined through the lens of race. White nationalists tend to pass over American pop culture in favor of Norwegian ‘black’ metal — bands such as Burzum, Emperor, and Immortal. Some of the musicians are racists, some are not; all are nihilistic and aggressive. Black metal is characterized by a depressive, hopeless sound, featuring thrashing guitars, inscrutable bass-lines, screamed vocals, and lyrics glorifying mystical fantasies and the icy landscapes of the North. If one keeps a certain distance from the music, it is actually quite gorgeous at times — if a bit of an acquired taste. (Burzum’s “Dunkelheit” and Emperor’s “The Acclamation of Bonds” are both excellent.)

Many of the musicians are infamous for church-burnings. Burzum’s Varg Vikernes — or, as he prefers, ‘Count Grishnackh’ — was imprisoned fifteen years ago for the brutal slaying of a rival musician and was only recently released. A former drummer for the band Emperor was imprisoned for the murder of a gay man who propositioned him. Aggression, aggression, aggression. As a brief perusal of the comments at the website “Occidental Dissent,” which reprinted my confrontation with Richard Spencer, will show, the attraction toward the violent nihilism embodied by these bands is hardly an accident.

*  *  *

While not all of the Alternative Right contributors subscribe to this silliness, a good portion do. Richard Spencer sympathizes with it, at the very least. But whatever the makeup of the sympathies of the contributors, one must not mistake Richard Spencer and the Alternative Right for conservatives. They’re not, and they don’t pretend to be. More of a cult than anything else, these proud reactionaries are primitivists, tribalists, and racialists. They despise modernity, classical liberalism, individualism, and any attempt to suppress what they view as the natural right of the hammer to tell the nail whether it stays up or gets pounded down.

The far-left has its deconstructionists and postmodernists, and the far-right has its reactionaries and tribalists. Neither camp is intellectually serious, neither has any real influence; both are composed of pseudo-intellectuals who think that they’ve stumbled onto The Real Truth that’s being suppressed by an elite power structure (that’s why they both hate the Jews!). The trouble comes when Spencer and his ilk try to wrap up their excrement in bows and ribbons. The fringe needs to stay confined to the fringe: that’s why articles about these, er, folk, by me, Tim Mak, and David Frum are necessary.


Richard Spencer has been claiming that I simply made up the dialogue we had last year. Suffice it to say, I don’t have any particular motivation to make such a thing up. If I wanted to piggyback on someone else’s name to gain notoriety, I could have chosen someone a lot more interesting than him.

Recent Posts by Alex Knepper

66 Comments so far ↓

  • Alex Knepper

    “Anyway how do you figure a 30 year old guy who still lives with his mother is “most manly” ? His nervousness around your MILF mom is telling – this guy is uncomfortable in his own skin; hence the whole Aryan Super Race mindset. ”

    LOL. It was tongue-in-cheek: he’s obviously not manly. That should have been obvious! Haha.

  • Alex Knepper

    Let’s not fight collectivist cancer by spreading it.

  • derek12

    “Excellent question. The short version is: I believe that Americanism is the belief that the individual should be allowed to go as far as his talents, productive work, and innovation can carry him — regardless of unchosen identity traits. That the government should get out of the way of the aspiring self-made man in his quest for the good life. And that all men — regardless of background — ought to be treated equally before the law.”

    Blacks voted 96-98% for Obama. Marion Berry won reelection in a black city even while in jail I believe. Why? Because blacks vote on the basis of race. That is, unless a black guy believes in individualism and then they hate him, a la Clarence Thomas. 90% of them vote Democrat in a normal election and believe in socialism and affirmative action. Look at the majority black cities and the governments they elect. Since the majority of American blacks are racial collectivists, are they not Americans to you? Or are only the 2-3% of American blacks who are classical liberals Americans?

  • ltoro1

    I ask again. Where the hell did all of these crazies come from? Seriously never seen anything like it in my life.

  • Carney

    I will concede that there is an unfortunately greater presence of anti-Israel / “anti-war” / anti-Semitic types among race realists and pro-whites. That does deserve serious criticism.

    But neo-pagans are very rare, and going on and on about them, and posting a picture of a cartoonish, repellent, stereotypical “Nordic”, is a deliberate distortion. It’s like when the media or left-wing atheist or “anti-hate” groups that publish reports on the religious right and lump in a widespread influential figure like James Dobson with a fringe character like R. J. Rushdoony or Fred Phelps.

    Or akin to describing left-wing, pro-black “civil rights” movement by focusing only on Louis Farrakhan’s numerological rants, and posting a picture of a half-naked African tribesman with a bone through his nose.

    If you want to engage serious and sober race realist or pro-white thinkers and writers, discuss:

    Dr. Ian Jobling and White America ; or

    Jared Taylor and American Renaissance ;

    By the way, when does a homosexual atheist get to cast himself as an arbiter of normality or respectability in any context, much less that for the conservative movement?

  • S.L. Toddard

    “Because (a preference for one’s own is) irrational.”

    As I stated previously, ethnic diversity and social harmony are inversely proportionate (Diversity and Community in the 21st Century, R. Putnam). We know that when ethnic diversity increases, social capital decreases and civic virtue breaks down – people trust each other less, they become less tolerant, less politically active. We know that “inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbours, regardless of the colour of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less”.

    Considering this phenomenon, isn’t it *rational* to prefer an ethnically homogeneous community?

    “As far as George Washington, we ought to view him in context”

    Yes, we ought. George Washington did *not* believe that “the individual should be allowed to go as far as his talents, productive work, and innovation can carry him — regardless of unchosen identity traits,” or that “all men — regardless of background — ought to be treated equally before the law”. Therefore he does *not* fit the definition of “American” you adhere to/invented.

    George Washington was not an “American”, correct?

    Also, you *know* that by *your own definition* Spencer is not “racist”, as he does not subscribe to the “belief that one ‘race’ is inherently, as a whole, superior”. It does not logically follow, from his refusal to “share a civilization with them” (which I’m not sure is even an accurate allegation), that he must have a belief in “racial superiority” – it could simply indicate a preference for his own, rather than foreigners.

    Will you retract and apologize?

    And, if as you claim you oppose “claims based on ‘ancestry’”, on “pride in one’s heritage”, and “collectivism”, and if you oppose “a Jewish homeland based on a Jewish ethnic identity”, then how can you defend that same ethno-state as you did on jihadwatch?

  • sinz54

    S.L. Toddard: A Frenchman who chooses to believe in X, Y and Z does not cease to be a Frenchman.
    But an American citizen who chooses to believe in Totalitarianism, or Islamism, or Nazism, or Communism, is often labeled “un-American” by his neighbors. The Ku Klux Klan, made up of American citizens proud of their Southern ancestry, was considered “un-American” by the FBI.

    We used to have a “House Committee on Un-American Activities,” which investigated the alleged “un-American” activities of American citizens. Clearly there was a concept of “un-American” that had nothing to do with British ancestry. What was it?

    In America, everybody knows what it means for an American citizen to act “un-American.”
    Why don’t you?

    Want another example? For many years till political correctness began in the 1970s, the comic book character Superman was characterized as fighting for “truth, justice, and the American way.”

    So here you had a space alien from another planet fighting for “the American way.” Clearly that wasn’t due to his ethnicity, but to something else. What?

    Every kid who read those comic books, and their parents, knew what “the American way” meant. It didn’t mean being of British descent. It meant a love of individualistic freedom; dealing with one’s neighbors peacefully, honestly, and fairly; and always keeping alive the dream of success through one’s own efforts.

  • sinz54

    S.L. Toddard: People prefer the company of those with whom they share an ancestral memory.
    If that “ancestral memory” is visible, yes. (Few Americans require genetic testing of all their friends. If one of them has a drop of African blood in his ancestry, few acquaintances would know it.)

    People self-segregate, especially in sex. Interracial marriages are still a small minority in America. As American citizens, we have a total right to freedom of association–which includes the right to NOT associate with those we don’t prefer.

    But what YOU want is for racialist preferences to drive Federal policy. That you will not get. Because it’s un-American.

  • S.L. Toddard

    “But what YOU want is for racialist preferences to drive Federal policy. That you will not get. Because it’s un-American.”

    I’m sorry – pre-1964 American immigration policy was… “un-American”? How so?

  • derek12

    “People self-segregate, especially in sex. Interracial marriages are still a small minority in America. As American citizens, we have a total right to freedom of association–which includes the right to NOT associate with those we don’t prefer.”

    Ever heard of affirmative action? Fair Housing laws? School busing?

    If I try to set up a business that only serves or employs white people will you guarentee the government won’t come after me?

    We lost our freedom of association in the 1960s.

  • S.L. Toddard

    “It meant a love of individualistic freedom; dealing with one’s neighbors peacefully, honestly, and fairly; and always keeping alive the dream of success through one’s own efforts.”

    OH! So Mr. Knepper is wrong about what defines an “American”. Also, the citizens of the UK might find it interesting to know that they, too, are “Americans”. As are Canadians! How fascinating. And idiotic.

    “But an American citizen who chooses to… etc etc”

    No one is disputing that there are certain beliefs we Americans consider “American”. They are considered “American” because they were widely held by the historic American people (i.e. the descendants of the original British settlers, as well as the descendants of those who came after that assimilated into American culture to the extent that they are culturally indistinguishable from the descendants of those settlers) – that is what makes them “American”. It is not the belief that defines what an American is, it is what *Americans* belief that defines those beliefs as “American”.

  • Hellacious Heath

    ” Burzum’s Varg Vikernes — or, as he prefers, ‘Count Grishnackh’ — was imprisoned fifteen years ago for the brutal slaying of a rival musician and was only recently released. ”

    Nah, Varg doesn’t like to be called Grishnackh anymore.

    ” All I know is getting into Valhalla has nothing to do with your heritage; Valhalla is reserved for Viking warriors who die in combat.”

    No, there are other ways to get in. One can hang themselves like Odin did to gain entrance. (P.S. I am Half-Norwegian gifted with Aryan Ancestral Memory!)

    ” I hope nobody thinks the Vikings (I assume they are they poster boys for this nonsense) were racist. ”

    Look up the word ‘skraeling’.

    “America was created, not out of a race or ethnicity, but out of an IDEA–the idea that all men are created equal and equally entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”


    The first federal naturalization law, the Naturalization Act of 1790, restricted American citizenship to “free white persons.”

  • DFL

    I suggest David Hackett Fischer’s “Albion’ s Seed” for an explanation of the demographic roots of Anglo America. These were the folks who settled a continent-sized nation and did most of the working, thinking and dying as they forged a new nation. I don’t think that many thought of America as a “proposition nation” as many neo-conservatives erroneously do. They certainly did not believe in America becoming a rootless, Third World mossaic of a nation.

  • hhr

    derek12 –

    The Federal Government responded because The States were clearly denying individual liberty to its citizens as. The KKK and other influential politicians thwarted The Constitution in order to promote there racist vision for America. They brutally burnt and hung blacks on trees in order to freely associate amongst themselves. There is a limit to getting rid of people you don’t want to associate with just because you feel you own the road. In America both black and white can travel on the same road we do not have to hug but we both have a right to travel the same road. You don’t get to kick me off because you want to walk that road with white only white people.

  • amarranazo

    Sorry I’m late to the debate, but “…Odinism is typically — though not always — racialist in orientation, usually emphasizing the bloodline of the adherent”. That sounds like Judaism. My rabbi told me that I didn’t have to believe in God to be a Jew. That makes it pretty clear we’re talking about a cult to and of ethnicity.

  • nooffensebut

    Mr. Knepper,

    I hope you have a chance to read this, and I would respectfully ask you to read a few entries on my blog:

    I agree with much of your assessment of white nationalism, but I would consider myself, for lack of a better term, a race realist because I think that is the point of view to which any rational person would come after looking at the scientific evidence. Furthermore, I do not think it is possible to defend classical liberalism without accepting race realism because individualism accepts that virtues like intelligence exist. Many virtues are partly genetic, and genetic differences are not very equally distributed by place of origin. Believing in virtue opens you to the charge of racism.