By now, most of us are well aware of how the Koch brothers have run a multi-decade effort to fund right-wing economic orthodoxy by financing think-tanks, journalists, periodicals, colleges and professors. There’s often an element of racism at these institutions, but they aren’t explicitly focused on race. That’s an implicit acknowledgement that the broader US post civil rights-era integration has a limited appetite for outright racism.
It turns out there’s a counterpart to the Kochs, who has funded white supremacist organizations and rabble-rousers for decades.
He Spent Almost 20 Years Funding The Racist Right. It Finally Paid Off.
How did explicit racism move from a taboo to an open, unabashed force in American politics? A loose but sprawling internet army, often called the alt-right, gave white supremacy a massive megaphone. And with the rise of Donald Trump’s candidacy, it suddenly seemed to be everywhere at once.
In fact, that movement had an infrastructure — organizations, journals, conferences, money — that had been laid down years before. It was in large part funded by one person: a secretive and aging multimillionaire named William H. Regnery II, the most influential racist you’ve never heard of.
Regnery’s family have been arch-reactionaries for generations. His uncle Henry Regnery created Regnery Publishing, which published William F. Buckley Jr.’s first book. More recently, it’s been the home to far-right and white supremacist voices like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, and Robert Spencer. Regnery also helped create Washington Summit Publishers, which publishes white supremacists like Kevin MacDonald. Bill Regnery’s cousin Alfred, who ran Regnery Publishing, was the publisher of The American Spectator for a decade.
And yes, Regnery Publishing(under new ownership, though Alfred remains on the board) also published Donald Trump’s 2015 book “Time To Get Tough”:
More below the break…
Buzfeed managed to get an interview with Regnery, and their article is probably the most complete description of Regnery’s reach. He sent them an e-mail where he described a turning point:
“Against this ebullient optimism I 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.” […]
His traceable donations have gone chiefly to two organizations, both of which he established and led as founding president. The first was the secretive Charles Martel Society, named for a leading figure of the European Middle Ages who fought off Muslim invaders. That organization helped create the second: the innocuously named National Policy Institute, which became a nerve center of the alt-right. In 2011, Regnery hired Richard Spencer, the charismatic speaker widely credited with coining that term, to be the NPI’s president and director. — www.buzzfeed.com/…
The National Policy Institute’s first press-release called for deporting all illegal immigrants. The idea sounded fringe, until Donald Trump arrived on the scene and hoisted it atop his banner. There’s a fair bit of anti-semitism mixed into their racist brew, the NPI’s website contains many articles on “Jewish influence”.
Regnery’s “vision” for America includes carving up the US into segregated regions for separate races, an idea as old as Native American reservations. But he’s also got 21st century ideas, in 2004, Newsweek interviewed him about his plans to set up a whites-only dating site. Regnery publishes a pseudo-academic journal called the “Occidental Quarterly”:
Sitting on the Occidental‘s advisory board is a who’s who of the national anti-immigration movement, including Virginia Abernathy, a Vanderbilt University professor and self-avowed “separationist” who is directing a contentious anti-immigrant Arizona ballot measure, Protect Arizona Now. Also on the board is Brent Nelson of the American Immigration Control Foundation. He’s working with a coalition of anti-immigrant groups to support the congressional campaigns of Republican candidates who have opposed more lenient immigration policies. The Occidental‘s publisher is William Regnery II, a white nationalist and heir to the fortune of Regnery Publishing Inc., which recently published Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry.
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists the Charles Martel society which Regnery founded, as an extremist group and has an extensive report on it:
The Charles Martel Society and its journal have been very well received among academic racists in America — so much so that when Florida race scientist and professor Glayde Whitney (Whitney had written an adoring introduction to neo-Nazi David Duke’s anti-Semitic autobiography) died in 2002, his family asked that in lieu of flowers, mourners send donations to the society. […]
The society’s 2006 tax return showed that other board members included MacDonald; white nationalist Wayne Lutton, who edits the anti-immigrant hate journal The Social Contract, Jared Taylor, editor of the racist newsletter American Renaissance, and Kevin Lamb, who was fired from his managing editor position at Human Events in 2005, after his racist pieces for publications like TOQ were disclosed to his emplo
yers by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Lamb left TOQ in 2007, however, as a result of what he calls an “editorial purge.” He later joined the Social Contract Press as its managing editor.
Mother Jones also published a long profile of Regnery:
Long before Donald Trump’s election ushered in an era of resurgent white nationalism, a disaffected Republican named William H. Regnery II was brooding about the demographic plight of white people and plotting their rescue. Like Trump more than 20 years later, Regnery, the wealthy scion of a famous GOP family, had an increasingly dark view of a changing America: As he wrote, the United States had become a crime-ridden society with bad schools, high taxes, an intrusive government, and a penchant for political correctness that was “morphing into an intellectual tyranny.”
Worse, “a flood of immigrants were changing the look of America from a palette (sic) of prime colors to a third-world monochrome,” he wrote in a rant that would be at home on the bookshelf of Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon. “Instead of a lingua franca, the country clanged with many foreign tongues.”
By 1999, Regnery had come to believe that the only future for white people in North America was a reconfigured continent with a white-only homeland carved out of the former United States. He began consorting with Ku Klux Klan apologists, Holocaust deniers, eugenics boosters, and immigration foes. He set up two white nationalist nonprofits and steered money into them. He published fringe-right journals and books. Through his family’s famed conservative publishing house, Regnery had been on a first-name basis with the cream of the Republican establishment. But by 2006, his public views on race left him ostracized from the GOP.
During the 2016 election, Regnery’s colleagues avidly supported Trump, making robo-calls on his behalf.
As for Regnery, Trump inspired him to cast a ballot for the first time in a half century. “I tell people I voted twice for President,” Regnery said. “The first time for Barry Goldwater and the second time for Donald Trump.”
With Sessions and Bannon in place, there’s a chance that Regnery’s white nationalist dream could become a reality.