About Christopher Cantwell
A one-time drug dealer, candidate for Congress and aspiring stand-up comedian, Christopher Cantwell now hosts Alt-Right luminaries such as Matthew Heimbach, Augustus Invictus and Andrew Auernheimer, aka, Weev, on his call-in talk show “Radical Agenda,” which is live-streamed via Facebook and UStream three days a week from his home studio in Keene, New Hampshire.
On his show and in mordant essays published on his website Christophercantwell.com, this 36-year-old self-proclaimed fascist – whose style borrows from such mainstream shock jocks as Howard Stern and Opie and Anthony — argues for an Anglo ethno state free of African-Americans, Jews and non-white immigrants, save, perhaps, for the occasional exception.
In Cantwell’s world, Blacks are prone to violence and have lower IQs; Jews spread communism and can’t be trusted; immigrants are outbreeding whites; and a race war is all but inevitable.
Cantwell has called for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government, and, in previous years, for the assassination of ordinary law enforcement officers and other government workers. Democrats and “communists” need to be “physically removed” from the country, Cantwell insists, and white men should consider polygamy to increase number of Caucasian babies being born.
Cantwell’s violent rhetoric and racist statements have gotten him kicked out of one libertarian organization after another, and with each ouster, he has moved further and further to the right, culminating in his alliance with neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and earning him a loyal, paying audience of haters.
“[M]y goal here is to normalize racism,” he explained to Hatewatch in one of two interviews for this profile. “I'm going to make a commercial enterprise out of saying things that people want to make illegal. I'm going to make a whole fucking bunch of money doing it. Anybody who gets in my way is going to find themselves in a very long list of people who regretted underestimating me.”
Though his hatred of law enforcement and the state has waned as he has drifted ever rightward, Cantwell’s corrosive rhetoric occasionally spills over into real life. Combined with an admitted history of alcohol and drug abuse, it makes for a volatile combination, as Cantwell’s influence expands and his participation in Alt-Right and neo-Nazi events increases.
In his words
“If you listen to the first time I was on the show, all right, like, I did not get the Jew thing. Like I thought of Jews as white people with bad ideas, right? Like, I had no idea Karl Marx was a Jew. I had never associated Jews with communism, right? And it was like the second that I made that connection, I was like, they all have to die … I’m not even a Hitlerite but I’m like ok, let’s fucking gas the kikes and have a race war because once I realized they were responsible for the communism, then I was like, oh, wait a second, yeah, that’s a fucking really good reason to fucking genocide a group of people.” — Interviewed on the Alt-Right show Exodus Americanus, June 26, 2017.
“I never wanted to jump over a counter and attack a fucking hotel clerk because he fucking didn’t speak proper English. But what it is now is that I see it as a fucking threat. You know? I feel like my country is being fucking invaded. That like I’m being outbred. That guy has probably fucking 12 kids at home.”” — podcast, “I Almost Committed a Hate Crime,” January 29, 2017.
“I think chemical and biological weapons can do a great deal of good for mankind. Releasing nerve gas or some kind of lethal virus into a left wing protest could prepare the bodies for physical removal without making a big scene for the cameras or destroying anything of value.” — Facebook post, January 28, 2017.
“I would go ahead and I would say that I don’t know that Dylann Roof made the fuckin’ best use of his life by fucking throwing it away on these fucking animals in the goddamn church. But I understand what he’s going through, right?” — Radical Agenda, January 5, 2017
“It’s the right thing to be concerned about the immigration, because you see these fucking hordes of unwashed religious fanatics pouring across borders with no resources just thinking that they’re going to collect welfare and fuck our women and fucking breed us put of existence. That makes me want to bash people’s skulls open, I understand. “ — Interviewed on The Daily Shoah, September 22, 2015.
Cantwell grew up in Stony Brook, New York, an upscale hamlet in Long Island’s Suffolk County. In his conversations with Hatewatch, he related that his father was once an air traffic controller — a fact apparently confirmed by his father’s name in a roster online for the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Cantwell said that President Ronald Reagan fired his dad in 1981, part of a mass termination of more than 11,000 striking members of the air traffic controllers union who had refused the president’s order to return to work.
For a while, Cantwell said his father had to make do “mowing lawns and shit,” while his mother kept house and attempted, unsuccessfully, to raise him as a Catholic. Meanwhile, he went to school “with a bunch of rich assholes,” ran with a bad crowd and ended up involved “in a lot of crazy shit,” which resulted in incarceration when he was 19.
Suffolk County District Court records show that in 2000, Cantwell pleaded guilty to 5th degree criminal possession of stolen property, 4th degree criminal possession of a weapon and driving while intoxicated, all misdemeanors. He was sentenced to six months in jail, of which, Cantwell said he served four before being released.
“I was involved in so much bullshit when I was a teenager, honestly, that like what I got caught for was the least of the shit I did,” he told Hatewatch.
When, in 2009, he announced a run for the U.S. House as a Libertarian in New York’s First Congressional District, he admitted to his past on his website VoteforCantwell.com. But by that time he had racked up another DWI and, because it was his second in less than 10 years in New York state, was facing a possible felony conviction and four years in jail.
Cantwell’s congressional campaign floundered, and he failed to gather the signatures necessary to place his name on the ballot. On the DWI, he took a plea deal, and was sentenced to 45 days incarceration, of which, he says he served 28.
A theme was forming. Cantwell’s struggles with substance abuse and his legal battles over his DWI produced in him a fervid loathing of all government authority, a tendency toward extremist rhetoric and an embrace of first libertarianism, then anarcho-capitalism and finally full-throated fascism.
The intertwining of these strands in Cantwell’s life were illuminated by Cantwell himself in a June 14, 2014 address that he gave before a convention of the Libertarian Party of Suffolk and Nassau Counties in New York.
The speech, titled “How the Libertarian Party Saved My Life,” was a sort of confessional, delivered by a then-chubby, redfaced Cantwell, whose online tagline at the time was “Anarchist, Atheist, Asshole.” In the speech, he described the details of his two DWIs, and the injustice he perceived as having been done to him on both occasions.
Cantwell said the first DWI occurred when a cop caught him trying to sleep off a drunk in his car. This inspired him to study the U.S. Constitution and the law, “in between blackouts.” In doing so, he came to the conclusion that the government “is a violent, evil monster,” which had to be stopped. Alas, he was “just one alcoholic on the verge of homelessness” and hardly capable of fomenting revolution.
“My mind went to very dark places,” said Cantwell during his speech.
He claimed he seriously had considered going on a bloody rampage, “like one of these guys like Jerad Miller,” who in 2014, along with Jerad’s wife Amanda, killed two Las Vegas police officers and one civilian in an explosion of anti-government rage, with Jerad dying in a shootout with police and a wounded Amanda committing suicide.
“I was going to go out blasting,” Cantwell told his audience, “and take as many of them with me as I could.”
In his speech, Cantwell said he eventually concluded that such an action would be a waste, and after attending a libertarian/Tea Party event, got involved libertarian activism, which led to his Quixotic Congressional campaign. He had found, “something to live for” in the Libertarian Party.
He later declared that he now was an anarchist and that he was leaving New York for New Hampshire, a hotbed of libertarian activism.
Actually, Cantwell had already been spending a lot of time in and around the town of Keene, New Hampshire, heavily involved in libertarian events and social circles there. He quickly earned a rep as a controversial figure, sometimes advocating for violence against the state and its agents, and in turn being shunned because of that stance. He also earned a rep as a heavy drinker, and was criticized online for driving while intoxicated and being loaded at Keene events.
In a June 2012 Facebook post, Cantwell addressed these criticisms, acknowledging that he drinks a lot, and pegging himself, rather accurately, as “a really abrasive guy with a dark sense of humor and a knack for fiery rhetoric.”
Later in the same post, he stated that he advocates for “the moral premise behind defensive force against statist aggressors.”
Continuing, Cantwell took a philosophical libertarian argument against the state to what he insisted was its logical conclusion: The state is illegitimate, and uses force to obtain its objectives. So in applying “defensive force against The State,” it would be acceptable, say, for a driver to shoot a cop who is attempting to pull over the driver’s vehicle.
“It is my honest opinion that this driver would be morally justified in shooting that police officer at the moment the [police car’s] lights go on,” he explained.
Such views alienated local libertarians who adhere to what they refer to as the “non-aggression principle,” sometimes referred to as NAP, in which only defensive force is allowed. Also adhering to the NAP: the Free State Project (FSP), a New Hampshire-based non-profit organization with a goal of encouraging 20,000 people with libertarian ideals to move to New Hampshire.
Cantwell was a member of the Free State Project, but he courted infamy by challenging the non-aggression principle. On the website for CopBlock, an organization that monitors police activity, sometimes by capturing video of police traffic stops, Cantwell, himself a CopBlock volunteer, shared an incendiary, August 2013 essay that he had penned about the local constabulary obtaining an armored vehicle, despite community opposition.
“So what to do?” asked Cantwell. “It’s a terribly unpopular thing to say, but the answer at some point is to kill government agents.”
As a result of this and other statements by Cantwell, the board of directors of the Free State Project unanimously voted to expel him from the FSP, declaring him unwelcome at FSP events.
Undeterred, Cantwell doubled down, writing essays such as “Gabby Giffords Begs for Another Bullet,” lambasting the former Arizona Congresswoman who was shot in the head by a deranged man during a meet-up with constituents and survived to become a gun-control advocate.
And in March 2014, he penned an essay titled “Violently Overthrow the Government,” in which he argued that it was “not impossible, impractical, or immoral” to do so.
Echoing the sentiment that got him banned from the FSP, Cantwell made this modest proposal in the same piece:
My proposal, and in all honesty, I’m still working out the details, has been to resort to force. For free men and women to forcefully defend themselves against agents of the State. To kill government agents who would otherwise use force against them, until their jobs simply become so dangerous that they seek other lines of work.
Cantwell reveled in the outrage that his pro-violence stance garnered. On Facebook, there are photos of him attending a Halloween costume party in 2014 as a policeman who apparently had been shot in the head. And in December 2014, he celebrated the ambush and murder of two New York Police Department officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, saying in a commentary on his site that the two men “chose their fate,” and since the shooter committed suicide it meant there were “[t]hree more violent criminals off the street. “
Cantwell does not disavow those words, and the essays are still on his website, but he admitted in his interview with Hatewatch that his focus has shifted away from cops to Jews, blacks and leftists.
“Right now, I have become convinced that our problems are a lot more racial than anything,” he said, adding, “I’m looking at things from a different perspective and saying to myself, `Well, the police are not my biggest problem right now.’”
Interestingly, Cantwell earned a spot in the sunlight in November 2014 with the help of Steven Colbert, whose “Colbert Report” lampooned Cantwell and two other activists, part of a group Colbert referred to as “The Free Keene Squad.”
In the segment, Cantwell and two other men are shown filling expired parking meters with change so as to spare the car’s owners a ticket, a practice they call “Robin Hood-ing.” They also follow meter maids around, harassing and filming them because the meter maids are, in the Free Keene Squad’s view, stealing money for the state by issuing tickets. One meter maid, a male U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq, ends up quitting because of the harassment.
Colbert plays the trio for laughs, liberally poking fun at them and painting them as annoying morons. Cantwell, easily the most obnoxious of the squad, openly carries a .38 on his hip, earning him the sardonic nickname “The Enforcer,” from Colbert.
During the segment, Cantwell offers the following unintended punch line:
I find that when I carry a gun, people are very unlikely to hit me.
That quote seems prescient in view of what occurred in May, 2015. Cantwell was walking down Keene’s Main Street early one Sunday morning when he encountered two couples who apparently were arguing amongst themselves.
Cantwell began filming the couples with his cellphone, and the quartet soon became aware of Cantwell. The quartet told him to stop filming, and Cantwell refused. The situation quickly escalated, as can be seen in the video of the incident that Cantwell later posted, with the group running toward him and Cantwell pulling his weapon and pointing it at one man. Police soon arrived and after reviewing Cantwell’s video, allowed him to leave with his weapon. There were no arrests, though one man was taken into protective custody, according to a local newspaper report.
The incident seemed to moderate Cantwell’s view of law enforcement. He remarked to Hatewatch that the officers from the Keene Police Department treated the situation “with the utmost courtesy and professionalism,” and that he developed a friendly relationship with the Keene police after that. He claims he learned from the incident and is far more careful about how he handles himself in public because of it.
The incident was widely debated online by libertarians and others, but a month later, Cantwell became embroiled in another controversy when he was dismissed from a non-paying gig with the libertarian-minded radio show Free Talk Live, headquartered in Keene and syndicated on more than 160 radio stations. Cantwell was let go after a couple of incidents involving race.
As the Wednesday night co-host, Cantwell had tremendous exposure, particularly since he had started his own show, “Some Garbage Podcast,” which he later rebranded as “Radical Agenda.”
Cantwell told Hatewatch that he got into trouble with the show’s producers when he came to the defense of a video online that claimed blacks on average have lower IQs than whites.
Additionally, on May 19, Cantwell responded to an African-American critic on Twitter with the retort, “shut up nigger.”
Ian Freeman, one of the show’s creators, explained to Hatewatch that Cantwell’s use of the N-bomb set off the flap, but that “further conversations behind the scenes” made it clear that Cantwell’s views on race did not comport with the show’s mission.
“As liberty-minded people, we believe in the individual,” he explained. “We don’t see groups. We certainly don’t see groups based on skin color, where someone is born or religious viewpoints. So he could no longer be a co-host of the radio program.”
Speaking with Hatewatch, Cantwell said he dropped an N-bomb “to show how much I cared about political correctness.” And he didn’t see anything wrong with exploring issues of race and IQ.
“I don’t think there’s an honest person in America who doesn’t think that the reason blacks are filling up our prisons is because they are dumber than us,” Cantwell told Hatewatch.
Cantwell said he didn’t start out a bigot and a racist. Though he admitted he had some conflicts with African Americans in New York and that he had experienced the self-segregation that goes on in the penal system, he didn’t see any problem with diversity while growing up.
“I’ve had a lot of experience with Muslims, Jews, blacks, Hispanics, whatever,” he said. “Most of the women that I’ve dated have not been white. My first love was a Korean girl. I almost married a Dominican chick. I almost had a baby with a black girl.”
The controversy over his racial views drew like-minded people to his program, and their discussions turned to the Jews, what the Alt-Right often calls JQ, or the Jewish Question. Cantwell has admitted on several occasions, on his program and others, that this has been a difficult concept for him to wrap his head around.
In one long, rambling recording that Cantwell has since removed from his site, he says as much:
Well everybody knows the fucking niggers steal and kill each other … but the fucking Jew thing, I have a little bit of trouble adjusting to, because they look like you. They look like us. They resemble us.
Yet, Cantwell now has no problem calling for all “kikes” to be “gassed,” largely because he sees Jews as agents of a communist menace. Cantwell says he receives the most referrals to his show from the online neo-Nazi publication, The Daily Stormer. He also utilizes many of the same dark memes as other Alt-Right-ers, both on his show and on his Facebook page; ones that praise the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and push the notion of throwing communists and other leftists out of helicopters.
And he has amused his racist audience no end by doing one show entirely in black face, while adopting one of the world’s worst impressions of an African America dialect. Similarly, he once did a whole show in the guise of a rabbi, though the costume he wore had him looking more like the Wizard of Id than a Jewish religious leader.
He has formed alliances with the likes of Richard Spencer and other white nationalists, showing up to support Spencer during Spencer’s appearance at Alabama’s Auburn University in April of 2017, and speaking (shouting is more like it) at the so-called “Free Speech” rally by Alt-Righters in June, 2017, in D.C. before the Lincoln Memorial.
Cantwell even stood with members of the National Socialist Movement and Matt Heimbach’s Traditionalist Workers Party at a demonstration in Pikeville, Kentucky on April 29, 2017.
“I think it’s worthwhile for white people to organize for their interests,” Cantwell told a reporter at the event, adding that he was there for the “identitarian portion,” but that he was not a big fan of the “socialism” part of National Socialism, an issue he has debated with Heimbach on Radical Agenda.
Of course, showing up at these events is another way to promote his show, like at the 2017 Bilderberg conference in early June in Chantilly, Virginia. Past the security barrier for the conference, a buff, and somewhat agitated Cantwell showed up with a bullhorn to address curiosity seekers, wearing a tight-fitting “Radical Agenda” T-shirt and kvetching that — according to him — 4% of the global elites at the conference were Jewish. He said this was an over-representation of the world population of Jewish persons, while ignoring the plain fact that, by his own estimate, 96% of the world’s richest and most powerful people at the Bilderberg conference were not Jewish.
(It’s worth noting that Cantwell has had black libertarian right-wingers on his show, and once was on a Jewish comedian’s podcast, both of which have infuriated some of his Nazi followers.)
Needless to say, Cantwell is a huge fan of “God Emperor” Donald Trump, whom he voted for in the 2016 election and is often the imaginary enabler of some of Cantwell’s twisted fantasies involving Trump’s deputizing “Right Wing Death Squads” and issuing “communist hunting license by executive order,” as he wrote in one February Facebook post.
Regarding his own personal weaknesses, Cantwell has admitted on his show and to Hatewatch that he has abused a host of drugs in myriad and unusual ways — everything from chocolate drenched hallucinogenic mushrooms to meth injected up his anus. He also told Hatewatch that he’s been sober since March 2017.
As for whether he might one day pop off in some spurt of violence like the one he envisioned after his DWI conviction, he admitted that he could be dangerous, given the right circumstance.
“Do I have a capacity for violence?” he asked rhetorically while speaking with Hatewatch. “You fucking bet I do. I carry two pistols, and I've been in multiple different types of combat training. I can fucking harm a man, and I'll put an end to a life if I have to, but I don't particularly want to. I've been involved with enough violence to know that it can go very bad, and I take prudent measures to avoid getting myself into violent conflict.”