William H. Regnery II
William H. Regnery II was the most reclusive member of the Regnery family, a right-wing publishing dynasty that continues to wield tremendous influence among both mainstream conservatives and far-right extremists. Despite his aversion to the public eye, Regnery became a major figure in the white nationalist movement, having founded the now-defunct white supremacist think tank National Policy Institute (NPI) and the Charles Martel Society, which publishes The Occidental Quarterly, a racist, antisemitic and pseudo-scholarly journal.
Regnery died at age 80 in Florida on July 2, 2021. Greg Conte, a white nationalist who once worked for NPI and Washington Summit Publishers but stepped away in August 2018, memorialized him in a Telegram post. “In the last years of his life, he was very sick from cancer,” he wrote. “But to the very end, his most pressing thought was to the future of the white race.”
About William H. Regnery II
In his own words:
“In my ethnostate, I would exclude, as a rule of thumb, non-whites, non-Europeans, wherever, however you want to define them. So, that includes blacks. We keep getting back to blacks, but we’ve got to throw in Han Chinese, have to throw in Amerindians, people who are distinctly different.”
– In an interview with Buzzfeed News, 2017
“Dogs are born to chase bikes and cats. The Left is similarly constituted to pursue the totalitarian chimera of universal equality. Missionary work is lost on this crowd.”
– From “The Richwine Atrocity: How Come Only the Left Retrieves Its Wounded?” VDARE, May 29, 2013
“The National Policy Institute is a Washington, D.C.-based research foundation that educates the public on trends and policies which affect the interests of the United States’ historic majority population. NPI seeks to elevate the consciousness of whites, ensure our biological and cultural continuity, and protect our civil rights. The institute will investigate issues of interest to the white community. It will study the consequences of the ongoing influx that non-Western populations pose to our national identity. NPI is guided in its work by the wisdom and vision of the Founders, whose purpose was to establish ‘a more perfect Union’ for the benefit of ‘ourselves and our posterity.’”
– Original mission statement of the National Policy Institute
“In 1940 whites constituted 30% of the world’s population. This number now stands at 15%. If this trend continues our fraction will plummet to 8% at mid-century… Consider that within the first and second hand memories of people in this room the white race may go from master of the universe to an anthropological curiosity. This remarkable prospect cries out for a diagnosis in the hope of cure or at the very least finding a means of remission. … The English-speaking countries were the first to throw open their immigration doors in the sixties and seventies. Europe followed suit. … So it appears that whites are unique in welcoming racial aliens into their midst. Why? I suggest that to a greater or lesser extent whites been hard-wired to be more concerned about others and more accepting of notions of universal equality. Such instincts fathered the philosophical arguments and social arrangements that have been codified into an increasingly tyrannical agenda that goes by the innocent sounding name of ‘political correctness.’ We forged our own chains and willingly shuffle about in shackles.”
–“We Can Kill With Kindness – Ourselves, That Is,” American Renaissance conference talk, 2005
“Our science and technology have swept the world and, like the Greeks before us, the pupils deem the teacher redundant and an embarrassing reminder of their debtor status. And, in apparent sympathy with this universal opprobrium, Europeans – who make up only 10 percent of the world’s population – ratchet down their numbers by contributing only 5 percent to the birth rate. Finally, as if to hasten our demise, national borders are thrown open and aliens are encouraged to colonize ancient kingdoms.”
– “For Our Children’s Children,” The Occidental Quarterly, 2001
“The Charles Martel Society is the intellectual home of Western Nationalism. Our purpose is to assure a future that will provide a cultural home for our children's children. In furtherance of that objective, we promote the study, discussion, and understanding of the concept of the nation-state, both in general and of the American nation-state in particular, especially in relation to the historical, geographical, biological, and cultural forces that have created it.”
– Statement of Purpose, The Charles Martel Society, 2001
For three generations, William H. Regnery II’s family has been a force in right-wing politics. His grandfather, William H. Regnery, was a founding member of the America First Committee, dedicated to maintaining American neutrality towards Nazi Germany. His cousin Al Regnery is a former president of Regnery Publishing, as well as a former official in the Department of Justice under President Ronald Reagan. There, as reported at the time by The New Republic, “He was criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike for awarding a $186,710 grant to a dean at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty College for the purpose of designing a high-school course on the Constitution. He drew even more bipartisan criticism when he awarded $789,000 to Judith Reisman, a former songwriter for the ‘Captain Kangaroo’ show, to do a study of the cartoons in Penthouse, Playboy, and Hustler.” Since 2002, Al Regnery has chaired the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, an organization that promotes conservatism on college campuses.
William Regnery II was steeped in conservative thought from early in his life. While he was in boarding school, his father bought him a subscription to Human Events, an early conservative magazine published by Henry Regnery, his uncle. (Henry split from that publication in 1947 to create Regnery Publishing, a influential right-wing press that has published books from conservative luminaries ranging from William F. Buckley and Jack Welch to Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin.) William Regnery II attended the University of Pennsylvania but left before he graduated to work for the 1964 Barry Goldwater presidential campaign.
Regnery’s political activism differed from that of the rest of his family in two respects. First, he abhorred the limelight. Where his relatives have headed corporations, held public office and run high-profile civic groups, the younger William worked hard to keep his activities out of the public eye. Second, while the other Regnerys worked to cultivate an air of mainstream respectability, William ingratiated himself with the white nationalist movement, where his familial and financial clout allowed him to set himself up as a major force shaping the entire movement. He felt, Regnery recalled in an extremely rare public interview in 2017, that the conservative movement had been a failure. Against the country’s “ebullient optimism” at the end of the Cold War, Regnery said he saw “nascent political correctness stifling debate, unrestricted immigration changing the demographics of the country, affirmative action penalizing whites and open housing curtailing freedom of association.”
Regnery fully devoted himself to the cause of white nationalism in the late 1990s, at which point he began working behind the scenes to set up and fund a network of racist and antisemitic groups, websites, publishers and conferences. This network revolved around two key organizations built by Regnery: the Charles Martel Society, and the National Policy Institute.
Regnery founded the Charles Martel Society in 2001, setting it up as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that he described as the “home of Western Nationalism.” He named the Society for the 8th-century Frankish ruler famous for defending Gaul, a region in western Europe, against an invading army of Andalusian Muslims. Martel has great symbolic importance in some white supremacist circles. Indeed, the Martel Society describes his victory as “perhaps the most important in European history, [it] meant that the future of Europe would lie in European traditions and culture, not those of the alien Middle East.”
The Martel Society’s primary activity is the publication of The Occidental Quarterly (TOQ), a racist, pseudo-scholarly journal. Regnery founded TOQ alongside the Society in 2001, and the journal is dedicated to “Western perspectives on man, culture, and politics.” TOQ assembled an editorial staff and stable of contributors with longstanding racist and antisemitic bona fides. As the founding editor, Regnery tapped Kevin Lamb, an outspoken white supremacist and homophobe whose association with TOQ subsequently led to his firing from his position as managing editor of Human Events, the magazine once published by Regnery’s uncle. The founding associate editor was Sam Francis, a leading intellectual figure in the racist far right whose writings continue, even after his death in 2005, to influence the movement.
The other members of Regnery’s editorial board were no less extreme, and some still hold their positions. Virginia Abernethy, for example, is a retired anthropologist who ran in 2012 as the vice-presidential candidate for the white supremacist American Freedom Party (at the time called American Third Position). Richard Lynn, a retired British psychologist, has called for the U.S. states with the largest white majorities to secede, and has suggested that non-white populations around the world should be “phas[ed] out.” Jared Taylor is the founder of the white nationalist New Century Foundation and editor of its American Renaissance magazine and website. Taylor’s foundation also hosts annual conferences that bring racist academics and intellectuals together with neo-Nazis, Klansmen and other white supremacists. Kevin MacDonald, an original member of the editorial board who has since replaced Kevin Lamb as TOQ’s editor in chief, is a former professor of psychology who wrote a trilogy of books claiming Jews bred into themselves the ability to surpass non-Jews in the realms of politics and finance, and thus that antisemitism is a rational evolutionary response to this “threat.” MacDonald is also a director of the American Freedom Party.
Finally, Wayne Lutton – who was not a founding editorial board member but was brought on board only a few months later – has written extensively on the evils of homosexuality and non-white immigration. Lutton also wrote for, and served on the advisory board of, the Institute for Historical Review, a pseudo-scholarly group dedicated to denying the Holocaust.
While TOQ primarily exists as a print magazine, the Charles Martel Society also operates an online-only “webzine,” The Occidental Observer (TOO). Like TOQ, MacDonald edits TOO as well, and the publication is dedicated to covering “white identity, interests, and culture.” TOO editors have sorted its posts categories that include: “Holocaust Industry,” “Jewish Aggressiveness,” “Jewish Opposition to Free Speech,” “Jewish Wealth,” “Jews as a Hostile Elite” and “Jews in Economy/Finance.” The Martel Society also operates a small publishing house, The Occidental Press, that sells books by affiliated writers such as MacDonald and Francis, as well as reprints of older racist books.
The Martel Society was a success for Regnery in that it provided safe spaces and a like-minded audience for academic racists whose ideas and arguments would not stand up to scrutiny elsewhere. To broaden the scope of his influence, Regnery needed another kind of organization, one whose reach extended beyond the readership of one quarterly magazine.
To that end, Regnery founded the National Policy Institute (NPI), a think tank dedicated to “promot[ing] the American majority’s unique historical, cultural, and biological inheritance,” in 2005. Regnery initially headed the institute, another 501(c)(3) non-profit, himself. He brought in staffers largely from the Charles Martel Society. Some of these early hires included Kevin MacDonald, Jared Taylor, Wayne Lutton and Sam Francis. Funding for the fledgling group was solicited from supporters, with the assistance of a grant from the Pioneer Fund, which since its founding in 1937 has been the largest source of funds for research and propaganda promoting scientific racism and eugenics.
Like the Martel Society, many of NPI’s efforts have revolved around its publishing operations. The institute published semi-regular reports rehashing perennially popular racist tropes, including Jewish influence in society, the dangers of affirmative action, the failures of school desegregation, and the academic conspiracy to suppress the truth about race. NPI also created its own publishing house, Washington Summit Publishers, which publishes and sells titles from academic racists, and its own semiannual journal, Radix. Both the press and the journal are currently run by Richard Spencer, who became the president and director of NPI in 2011.
Regnery originally met Spencer in the late 2000s and was apparently impressed by his political ambitions. At the time, Spencer was working as an assistant editor at the American Conservative but was eventually fired for his radical views. He then joined the paleoconservative publication Taki’s Magazine prior to moving entirely into the world of professional white nationalism in 2010. That year, he founded the online publication AlternativeRight before taking over at NPI the next.
With Spencer at the helm, Regnery operated largely behind the scenes at NPI. He was listed as the chairman of the institute from its inception in 2005 through the beginning of 2009, when prominent white nationalist Louis R. Andrews took over. Once Andrews became chairman, Regnery’s name was scrubbed from the NPI website. At NPI conferences, he went largely unmentioned and unrecorded, even when he was a speaker.
NPI’s reports went largely ignored by the mainstream media, and the organization’s failure to dramatically change the terms of political debate in the country frustrated Regnery. The organization also made an embarrassing attempt to branch out internationally with a “European Identitarian Congress” in Budapest, Hungary, in October 2014. Days before the start of the conference, which was to bring together American, Russian and European white nationalists to discuss common aims and “perhaps prepare the ground for collective action,” the Hungarian government announced that the meeting would not be welcome.
As the BBC reported afterwards, “Despite his nationalist reputation, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ordered Saturday evening's event to be banned as ‘an attempt to breathe new life into Nazi and … fascist ideology.’” The conference organizers decided to ignore the ban, and Regnery was arrested at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport as he tried to enter the country. He was deported the next day. (Richard Spencer made it across the border successfully but was arrested when police raided the meeting.)
The political terrain changed as Donald Trump began his presidential campaign in 2015, helping to breathe life into the “alternative right” – or “alt-right” for short. The term referred to an emerging coalition of far-right actors that rejected mainstream conservatism and embraced white nationalist ideas. Richard Spencer established himself as a leader of the movement, turning NPI into a natural rallying point for the alt-right. Regnery celebrated how Trump shifted the political discourse with his racist statements and policy proposals, calling him a “legitimizer.” White nationalism, he said, “went from being conversation you could hold in a bathroom, to the front parlor.” He also claimed to have only ever voted for two presidential candidates: Barry Goldwater and Trump.
In 2017, members of the alt-right believed their political future to be bright. They successfully garnered a massive amount of press coverage, a man they considered a fellow traveler was in the White House, and a deep institutional infrastructure that could propel their movement was already in place thanks, in enormous part, to Regnery. But their coalition began to break down after the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, “Unite the Right” rally in August. The rally, which brought together hundreds of white power activists, was organized in part by Spencer. It ended with James Alex Fields Jr., a 22-year-old white supremacist from Ohio, murdering anti-racist activist Heather Heyer when he drove his car through a crowd of counterprotesters.
In the wake of the rally, the alt-right coalition quickly descended into infighting over political strategy. Spencer continued an ill-conceived college speaking tour, which drew massive protests, created exorbitant security costs for universities and brought violence. After Spencer spoke at the University of Florida in October 2017, three of his supporters were arrested for attempted murder for shooting at counterprotesters. After an appearance at Michigan State – where Spencer was barely audible over the heckling crowd, and supporters clashed with protesters outside the venue – Spencer ended his tour, declaring, “Antifa is winning.” Lawyers with the nonprofit Integrity First for America named Spencer in a civil suit on behalf of the people injured at the Unite the Right rally. His lawyer withdrew from the case in June 2020, stating that Spencer owed him a significant amount of money and was being uncooperative.
Spencer, who once inspired confidence in Regnery, eventually drove NPI into disarray. Evan McLaren, a longtime Spencer ally, resigned as NPI’s executive director in 2018 and was never replaced. By early 2020, the IRS listed the organization’s tax-exempt status as revoked. Court filings sent to the organization’s address were returned as “undeliverable.” Then, in May 2021, a judge ordered NPI to pay $2.4 million to an Ohio man injured at the Unite the Right rally for his physical and emotional suffering. While Spencer continues to operate Radix and Washington Summit Publishers, NPI’s website is no longer active.
Regnery died July 2, 2021. He was 80.