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“With this circus you’ll need nothing more”

Photo by Amanda Sandlin on Unsplash

All conservative roads lead to a KKK rally.

Yet at a conference this week in Washington, attended by some of the most important figures on the American right, participants argued for a new, non-racist “conservative nationalism” that could bring together a divided nation. Given the week’s headlines, they certainly had their work cut out for them.

Haha. Never mind the week’s headlines, take a look at some of the speakers.

Speakers took great pains to draw distinctions between the conference’s ideals and those of the alt-right. During an opening night speech, David Brog, one of the conference organizers, pointed out the exit door and told any racists in the audience that they should head out of it. Yet the speakers also overwhelmingly agreed that a central part of “national conservatism” involved opposing allegedly divisive cultural change wrought by mass immigration.

We’re not white nationalists, but …

In a panel on immigration, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax claimed that immigrants are too loud and responsible for an increase in “litter.” She explicitly advocated an immigration policy that would favor immigrants from Western countries over non-Western ones; “the position,” as she put it, “that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites.” (She claims this is not racist because her problem with nonwhite immigrants is cultural rather than biological.)

Is there any creature more flexible than a bigot explaining that what looks, sounds, feels and smells like bigotry is not in fact bigotry? Certainly no other vertebrate would dare claim that racism isn’t racism if you just object to people based on your stereotypes about their culture, rather than your stereotypes about their genes.

As for her belief that the U.S. would be better off with more white people and fewer non-whites, don’t worry, the not-racist law professor who said that black students are inferior is certainly only talking about deciding which immigrants are granted U.S. citizenship. So while her comments may sound eliminationist, it’s really just the acoustics of the room. Or something.

Talking of the right sort of immigrants, here’s what one Canadian had to say about the DOPUS:

Those few times Trump was brought up, on the panels I saw, were generally as a positive example. David Azerrad, a fellow at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, risibly claimed that Trump’s rhetoric during the 2016 campaign — in which he labeled Mexicans rapists and proposed a blanket ban on Muslim immigration — was not racist but rather “preaching civic nationalism” and “defending all Americans.”

Declaring that people from Mexico and Muslims are dangerous and that they can’t be Americans isn’t racism, xenophobia or Islamophobia. It’s just that special brand of paternalistic patriotism that only whites exhibit by screaming about brown hordes. Or something.

This practical reality is, more fundamentally than theory, why Brog and Hazony’s project is doomed. All their denunciations of racism in the abstract, however heartfelt, are empty without a full-throated denunciation of Trump — like a fancy of way of saying “I’m not a racist, but.” Yet they cannot denounce Trump and still claim to speak for “national conservatism,” because Trump is seen by most people (correctly) as this set of ideas made flesh.

There is no way to square this circle. The “national conservative” conference attendees may dream of a better conservatism, but they already have what they’re trying to create. And it’s much uglier than they can admit.

Not featured in this article but worth noting were statements by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Dogwhistle).

It’s time we ended this cosmopolitan experiment and recovered the promise of our republic. Let’s start with this: America is not going to become the rest of the world, and the rest of the world is not going to become America.

Sorry if all the dogs in your vicinity are barking like crazy. Hawley talks about cosmopolitans, and the cosmopolitan class, and elitist — you get the idea – A LOT. I’d say it is a nervous tick, but it is the sort that makes other people nervous.

Another speaker was Tucker Carlson, a syphilitic gonad of a man who has made a fortune by alarming the sort of white people who think multi-lingual signs in public bathrooms cause cancer. It’s hard to resist the idea that Vox was too easy on the organizers, speakers an attendees. Like the never trumpists, the conscience cringers and the furrowed brow-brigade in Congress, these conservative nationalists are ecstatic about life under their hideous orange DOPUS. But for some reason they like to pretend that they’d like something better.

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