Prominent Racists Attend Inaugural H.L. Mencken Club Gathering

While most political analysts say that John McCain lost the presidential election because of the sorry state of the economy and the unpopularity of President Bush, Peter Brimelow sees a different villain: Immigration.

“The fact is that white voters – what 50 years ago would have been called Americans because 50 years ago this country was 90 percent white – they went for McCain 55-45,” Brimelow told the inaugural meeting of the H.L. Mencken Club at a Baltimore hotel last Friday night. “It wasn’t overwhelming, but it was a sizeable victory. It’s not clear to me that the American people really supported Obama.” The president-elect only got a majority of white votes among 18-to-30-year-olds, according to Brimelow. “What this election shows is that whites vote one way and everybody else votes the other way.”

A former senior editor at Forbes magazine, author and founder and editor of the white nationalist hate website VDARE.com Brimelow blames the 1965 Immigration Act for a host of problems. (The Immigration Act greatly reduced the percentage of immigrants from Europe while allowing for huge increases in Asian and Hispanic immigration.) Until its passage, Brimelow said Friday, the United States had the option of being more like Switzerland – a relatively small population, stable birthrates, homogeneous and highly educated – or Brazil, which he characterized as “diverse” and “chaotic.” He added, “We’re in the process of becoming Brazil with gated communities and so forth.”

Brimelow’s comments came during his keynote address at the first conference of the newly formed Mencken Club. About 60 mostly male, entirely white people attended. While the turnout was modest, it included several luminaries of the academic racist movement, including Jared Taylor, editor of the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance, which features stories about eugenics – the pseudo-science of weeding out human ‘genetic inferiority’ through selective breeding, and carried a column by Taylor after Hurricane Katrina in which he agued that “when blacks are left entirely to their own devices—civilization disappears.”

The club will provide a forum for the “intellectual right” and be full of “young thinkers and activists,” said founder and president Paul Gottfried, 67, a speaker at past American Renaissance conferences.

Also a humanities professor at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and contributor of essays to VDARE.com, Gottfried and many others at the gathering are self-described paleoconservatives whose sharpest barbs are often aimed at neoconservatives rather than liberals. “We are convinced we are right – while those who have quarantined us are wrong,” Gottfried said in introductory remarks. Ultimately, he added, we will “do to them what they have done to us.”

The club’s leadership includes several other notable academic racists. Treasurer William Regnery, 67, is the founder of two white nationalist hate groups, the National Policy Institute and the Charles Martel Society, the latter of which publishes The Occidental Quarterly, a far-right race journal. Regnery in 2004 sought investors for a matchmaking service for “heterosexual whites of Christian cultural heritage” in an effort to ensure “the survival of our race.” Taylor, 57, sits on the boards of both of Regnery’s organizations.

Mencken Club vice-president E. Christian Kopff, 63, has written for The Occidental Quarterly as well as Social Contract, an anti-immigrant publication. At the Baltimore conference Kopf promised the club would be a forum for new ideas.

Naming the club after Mencken, the late, longtime Baltimore Sun scribe, was a curious choice. Like many of the club’s members, Mencken admired European culture and 19th Century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, and loathed Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal. But he also called the Anglo-Saxon “race” the most cowardly in history, and he was an atheist. That last fact coupled with the saying of grace before Friday night’s dinner caused one conference speaker to express his consternation on a blog afterward.

After Obama’s decisive win over McCain, many in the GOP said the party needs to recognize the democratic shift in the country and seriously court Hispanics and other minorities in order to reverse its fortunes. “As the party of Lincoln, Republicans have a moral obligation to make our case to Hispanics, blacks and Asian-Americans who share our values,” Karl Rove, the former strategist to President Bush, wrote in Newsweek.

By contrast, much of the talk at the Mencken club’s inaugural gathering was about how the GOP could regain power by more fervently courting the white vote.

Brimelow, 61 – who was introduced by Gottfried as “a real, as opposed to a John McCain, maverick” – said that’s not necessary. “The way to win is to get white votes. If [Republicans] did that, even without actually cutting off immigration, they could continue to win national elections for quite a long time.”

Look at Alabama, suggested Brimelow, British born, but now a U.S. citizen. With whites only comprising 65 percent of the electorate, “they’re in worse shape than American whites generally.” Yet McCain easily won that state, in large part because of support from 88 percent of white voters, he said.

“It seems like an implicit thing that everybody in the South understands how things are and they all vote Republican. Not that Republicans deserve this, but that’s how it works.” McCain, he added, should have said that Obama was the affirmative action candidate. “It would have been so easy. All he had to do is get up and say it.”

A big concern at the conference was perceived overbearing and unnecessary limits on hate speech. Brimelow said one of the first things he believes Obama will do as president is push through a federal hate speech law that will include “hate facts – the things everybody knows are true but can’t be said.”

He also bemoaned the recent jailing of a couple of 18-year-olds for hanging a noose in one case, burning a cross in the other. “It’s to the discredit of the establishment conservative movement … that these people are not being defended,” Brimelow said. “I know that they are rednecks.” But jailing people for political expressions is “almost unprecedented in American history, certainly in the last 100 years.”

It’s immigration, however, that is foremost on Brimelow’s mind. He blamed it in part for the nation’s inability to eradicate poverty. Many of those living in poverty are immigrants or the children of immigrants, and immigrants compete with and displace native-born Americans, he contended.

Several of those attending the weekend conference sounded gloomy about the future for what they see as true conservatives. Brimelow professed to be more optimistic. He predicted that Obama will do something “that will start to shock people right away. I think that whites – that is to say Americans – will organize … I think immigration will become an issue and it will become an important part of that organization process.”