In a few weeks, MSNBC commentator Pat Buchanan will unleash his latest book, Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? According to its Amazon.com product description, the lyrically titled screed “traces the disintegration [of America] to three historic changes: America’s loss of her cradle faith, Christianity; the moral, social, and cultural collapse that have followed from that loss; and the slow death of the people who created and ruled the nation.”
Weighty topics. Fortunately, Buchanan wasn’t alone in sussing them out. As Media Matters pointed out yesterday, in his acknowledgements, Buchanan extends “special thanks” to one Marcus Epstein, “for the invaluable assistance and untold hours he devoted to researching ideas, issues, and anecdotes.”
Epstein, a loyal acolyte who in a blog post for the white nationalist hate site VDARE (named for Virginia Dare, the first English child to be born in the New World) praised Buchanan as “the lone voice of sanity in a nation driven mad,” must be delighted. Once moderately notorious as an early associate of the ultraconservative student organization Youth for Western Civilization (YWC), Epstein is these days much better known for his drunken assault on a black woman who happened to be passing by as he wandered the streets of Washington, D.C., in July, 2007. According to court records, Epstein was making offensive comments about non-whites and decided to express himself more dramatically by calling an African-American woman passing by a “nigger” and then attempting to karate chop her in the head. He was briefly detained by the woman’s husband, but escaped only to be taken into custody minutes later by a Secret Service officer who witnessed the altercation. He pleaded guilty in 2008 and agreed to continue mental health counseling, complete an alcohol treatment program, write a letter of apology to the victim and donate $1,000 to the United Negro College Fund.
Epstein’s arrest became public in 2009, leading the supposedly non-racist YWC (which nonetheless associates with unapologetic white nationalists like American Renaissance’s Jared Taylor, who wrote in 2005, “When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”) to distance itself from him completely.
Fortunately, he had friends in other places. After graduating from college in 2006, the young white nationalist was hired as executive director of American Cause, a group led by Pat Buchanan and his sister Bay that seeks to “promote traditional American values.” Epstein also became executive director of Team America, a political action committee “dedicated to securing our nation’s borders”; it’s headed by Bay Buchanan and Tom Tancredo, who would later become YWC’s honorary chairman.
When news of his racist assault became public, Epstein’s conservative benefactors rushed to his defense, castigating the media for making a mountain out of a molehill. “I’m assuming that the only thing that makes [the incident] even newsworthy is the fact that it comes in the context of the Sotomayor thing,” Tancredo — who a week earlier had declared that then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor “appeared to be a racist” — told The Denver Post. Bay Buchanan downplayed the incident, telling the Post it was “an out-of-character moment” for Epstein and that he was only kept on after agreeing to treatment. She added that Epstein would be voluntarily leaving Team America PAC later that summer.
Epstein disappeared from visible activism after that, but it’s no surprise to learn that he’s been working behind the scenes for Pat Buchanan, whose history of white nationalism is well documented. In 2002, his The Death of the West warned white Christendom against a looming demographic tipping point. (The book’s message so energized former Klan leader David Duke that Duke fantasized on his own radio show last year about winning the presidency with Buchanan as his running mate.) It was in that book — edited by Sam Francis, chief ideologue of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens — that Buchanan first began using the explicit language of white nationalism. In his footnotes to The Death of the West, the former Nixon speechwriter even cited the late William Pierce, author of the race-war novel The Turner Diaries and the founder of America’s then-leading neo-Nazi group, to back up his own arguments.
His 2006 book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America reflected racial views that veered into the extreme. White America is changing color, Buchanan argued — “one of the greatest tragedies in human history.” The Mexican government is involved in a plot to take over the Southwestern United States, and parts of this country already look like the “Third World.” America, despite what its founders wrote, was a nation formed not on the basis of creed but rather a homogenous ethnic culture. With its blood-and-soil nationalism and echoes of Nazi ideology, State of Emergency unapologetically reflects Buchanan’s insistence on the centrality of race to the United States and its culture. “This idea of America as a creedal nation bound together not by ‘blood or birth or soil’ but by ‘ideals’ that must be taught and learned … is demonstrably false,” Buchanan wrote.
In July, he defended Anders Breivik’s theories about the supposed evils of multiculturalism, writing that the Oslo terrorist, who slaughtered 77 people in July, “may be right.” He denounced New York’s passage of a law to legalize same-sex marriage in a blog post earlier the same month, waxing wistful on the virtue of prejudice and arguing that if a prejudice has withstood the centuries, there must be a good and valuable reason for it.
That a man who has unapologetically and repeatedly expressed such ideas has no problem hiring the likes of Epstein should not, then, be particularly shocking. While YWC is still struggling to maintain plausible deniability on charges of racism and must distance itself from its vile former associate, Buchanan — for reasons that aren’t entirely clear — has over decades of open bigotry accumulated a degree of gravitas which allows him to associate himself with whomever he likes. The karate-chopping racist hanging on his coattails must consider himself lucky.