Isaac Chotiner interviews historian Kathleen Belew about white supremacist ideology and its manifestation in various social structures in the contemporary USA.
An aspect of that ideology that ought to get more attention is how it is obsessed with the idea that white women aren’t having enough babies because patriarchal values and (white) nationalism are being undermined by multiculturalism, immigration policy, a certain shall we say rootless cosmopolitanism reflected in the power of certain shall we say internationalist cabals, and, crucially at this particular socio-political moment, feminism:
[White supremacist ideology] allows an opportunism in selecting enemies so that you can tack to the scapegoat of a particular time and place, but it also follows the central motivating logic, which is to protect the thing on the inside, regardless of the enemy on the outside. It’s about the fundamental importance of the preservation and birth rate of the white race. So the elements that are consistent across time are the idea that the white race can be threatened by intermixing and the idea that there is some kind of evil, élite force interested in eradicating it.
It’s not just about passive demographic change, and the news stories we see pretty often about when a county or a city or the nation will no longer be majority white. It’s about an apocalyptic threat perpetrated by what these conspiracists think of as a cabal. They see, for instance, abortion as a scheme to lower the white birth rate. They see residential integration as a scheme to lower the white birth rate. They see feminism as a scheme to keep white women out of the home and lower the white birth rate.
American conservatism is made up of a bunch of apparently disparate core ideas that are actually fairly closely connected:
(1) America is a white Christian nation.
(2) Enemies, internal and external, are working to destroy its racial (white) and religious (Christian) identity, which is synonymous with destroying America itself.
(3) This attack is also attack on (white Christian) American masculinity and manhood, which is what is protecting the nation from being destroyed by feminizing forces. It’s worth noting here that a key anti-Semitic trope has always been that the Jewish man is not really a man, but a soft, feminine creature, that uses its crafty unmanly intellect to undermine the (masculine) body politic.
(4) Feminism is the ultimate contemporary conspiracy to undermine the righteous, God-given social order. Contemporary conservative thought considers itself above all to be the first blast of the trumpet against the monstrous regiment of women.
The politics of reproductive freedom need to be understood within this larger framework, in which the spaces between patriarchy, white supremacy, and the American right wing are essentially non-existent. A “white supremacist” in merely an uncouth Republican — except that at the rate things are going, that adjectival modifier will soon be irrelevant:
Arizona state Senator Wendy Rogers, who is endorsed for reelection by former President Donald Trump, wrote in a Gettr post Saturday that “fed boy summer has started in Buffalo,” referring to the theory among some right-wingers that FBI agents are behind acts of violence and are seeking to blame conservatives.
The right wing fringe is now the right wing center, although the Sun will cool into a lightless cinder before either the mainstream media or the Democratic party’s leadership ever point this out to our so easily distracted populace.