White Nationalism by David Montgomery

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“White nationalism” is now the catchphrase of the day for the Left to use in maligning President Trump. In response to a question about the New Zealand killings, the President gave the perfectly reasonable reply that he did not see white nationalism as a rising threat. For this, he was immediately attacked by the self-appointed censors of political discourse. As the former president of Harvard University, Larry Summers, learned a number of years ago, questioning the dogmas of the left will bring down wrath but not constructive debate.

There are four reasons why skepticism about the threat of white nationalism is justified: numbers, vagueness, motivation and organization.

By the numbers, white nationalism clearly does not compare to Islamic terrorism. In 2017 alone, Islamic terrorists murdered 18,753 innocent men, women and children who would not submit to one form of radical Islam or another, and 236,000 in the past decade. The names of the organizations are a litany of terror: Al Quaeda, ISIS, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, the Moslem Brotherhood, the Taliban. In comparison, there were just 158 deaths from attacks by far right extremists in Europe and North America between 2002 and 2017. The left tries hard to conceal this simple fact by talking about increasing trends and percentages while obscuring the huge disproportion in actual attacks.

The label “white nationalist” has been applied to so many different people that it has become virtually meaningless except as a signifier of dislike. The label used to be “alt-right,” a term whose lack of specificity was obvious, but “white nationalist” sounds so much scarier. Most of those who are now labelled white nationalists by the social justice warriors abhor physical violence. Publicly opposing illegal entry by Hispanics crossing the southern border frequently earns the label. Opposing admission of economic refugees from Middle Eastern countries does the same. Even comparing the accomplishments of Western Civilization with failed states in Africa will earn the label, and wearing a MAGA hat will certainly do so. None of these actions have any connection to murderous attacks. With this vague and expansive use of the term “white nationalist,” any question about the topic is an invitation to be misinterpreted.

The murderers who have been labeled white nationalists were all loners and nuts. None were found to have any direct encouragement to act from a white nationalist organization. Their actions stemmed from a deep psychopathology, and while racist leanings may have affected their choice of targets, the violence came from within.

This should be obvious to those who apply the label “white nationalists” to such a large percentage of the American population. If most Trump supporters are white nationalists, then the likelihood of a white nationalist becoming a deranged killer cannot be significantly greater than the likelihood of a member of any other group, or the general population, becoming one. Normal people have not been made into killers by the political propaganda of extreme white nationalists, any more than they have become mass murderers of other types.

There does seem to be some evidence that the number of incidents in which sociopaths have murdered Jews or people of color has increased. Incidents in which disturbed students attacked a school or angry individuals shot up a workplace have also increased. But these incidents of deranged behavior are very different from the motivation of Islamic terrorists and Jihadis. There is an entire belief system behind Islamic jihad, dating back to Mohammed’s decision to convert Jews to Islam by force when they rejected his incoherent preaching in Mecca. This makes the pool of potential murderers much larger than the pool of racist sociopaths.

Granted that many perpetrators of suicide attacks have been forced to wear their suicide vests. Yet the core and leadership of jihad appear to be following the very clear precepts and instructions of the Koran. Even the lone wolf terrorists of recent years were converts to this belief, and not the deranged loners who carried out “white nationalist” attacks. Pope Benedict ignited a firestorm of criticism when he repeated the question that a Christian king asked a Moslem cleric about how Islam could justify use of violence to further religious ends. But Pope Benedict received no reasoned answer, just threats of bodily harm for insulting Islam. Point made.

The threat to Christians in Africa, to Moslems of different sects in Southeast Asia, and increasingly to Europeans from Islamic jihad is not only derived from the teaching of a religion that aspires to be universal. It reveals itself in well-organized terror attacks, establishment of territorial domination under Islamic rule, and continuing disruption of civil society. In Egypt, for example, the Moslem brotherhood has wiped out a large part of the Coptic Church, and ISIS has virtually driven Christianity out of Iraq. Boko Haram maintains control over large areas of Africa where it terrorizes the Christian population.

When I try to see the world through the eyes of a leader whose first responsibility is to safeguard the wellbeing of his country’s citizens, I see that in comparison to the threat of Islamic jihad on a global scale, the threat of attacks by deranged killers who espouse racist beliefs is “not that large.” Based on the numbers, specificity, motivation and organization, the threat of white nationalism pales in significance compared to Islamic jihad.

Every taking of an innocent human life is gravely immoral, whether it be in the form of abortion, euthanasia, gang violence, drug wars, Islamic terrorism or racist ideology. Traditional moral teaching does not measure evil by comparing how many are killed – each intentional killing of an innocent is as evil as the total of such murders. President Trump never questioned this moral principle, and no matter what CNN says, he condemned the killings in New Zealand explicitly and forcefully.

The President has different responsibilities as the Commander-in Chief, at least in the eyes of those with a realist view of international affairs. He is responsible for the security and domestic tranquility of the United States, and must rank threats not morally but in order of the damage they are likely to do if left unchecked. Constructive thinking and disagreement with his priorities is legitimate and useful but knee-jerk condemnation of his every statement is not. When the President states priorities that have a legitimate factual basis, he deserves a logical and reasoned response from those who disagree, not the shrieks of offended children who had their safe spaces violated.

David Montgomery is retired from a career of teaching, government service and consulting, during which he became internationally recognized as an expert on energy, environmental and climate policy.  He has a PhD in economics from Harvard University and also studied economics at Cambridge University and theology at the Catholic University of America,   David and his wife Esther live in St Michaels, and he now spends his time in front of the computer writing about economic, political and religious topics and the rest of the day outdoors engaged in politically incorrect activities.

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Letters to Editor

  1. John Leek says

    Of course there is a difference between jihadism and white nationalism. But the “day’s catchphrase” white nationalist the Left to use in maligning President Trump in only for a day. Every day brings more and more valid reasons for maligning Mr. Trump. Sorry, but it is not just the “left” that recognizes Trump as a malignant, toxic and cancerous force on America and our democracy. There is no knee jerk reaction when the majority of Americans see what a disaster this man has been and is as president. And “the shrieks of offended children who had their safe spaces violated”?? Oh dear, dear. Me thinks Mr. Montgomery sensationalizes too much.

  2. Jamie Kirkpatrick says

    Leave it to Mr. Montgomery to explain/justify/condone a political movement/ideology/philosophy (call it whatever you want) rooted in prejudice, intolerance, and racial hatred. The “sheiks of offended children who had their safe spaces violated?” Really? Fifty more dead souls in New Zealand might think otherwise…if they could. This article falls just short of my definition of hate speech. Perhaps it’s time for Mr. Montgomery to find another platform from which to spew his self-righteous claptrap.

    • Mr. Montgomery you Sir, if I can be so respectful should find another medium to carry your “hateful rhetoric” to others that believe as you do. There is no measuring stick in our modern democracy that has seen a President condone hatred as much as our sitting President. No President in modern history has had more scandals associated to their administration. From the time in Virginia to the present, the vitriol and violence that this President has unleashed on the American public and world is beyond anything and anyone in our life times has seen. I would suggested to you, Mr. Montgomery that you, find another location to live, among those that support this racist President and by your support, you Sir are as racist and bigoted as well. Please don’t darken the steps of progress that the good people of this nation and especially in Kent County has fought hard and long to attain.

  3. Has anyone else noticed Mr Montgomery’s sleight of hand here? He cites the death toll due to Islamic terrorists worldwide, much of which is due to what can essentially be characterized as chronic, slow-motion civil wars, in order to dilute the rising death tolls only in Europe and North America due to the rise of racist and anti-semitic white nationalist movements which are clearly on the increase.

    Mr Montgomery also writes that “The murderers who have been labeled white nationalists were all loners and nuts. None were found to have any direct encouragement to act from a white nationalist organization. Their actions stemmed from a deep psychopathology, and while racist leanings may have affected their choice of targets, the violence came from within.” With the possible exception of the 9/11 attackers, you could pair “white nationalists” with “Islamic Radicals” and “racists leanings” with “religious fundamentalism” and you would have an accurate description of the roots of contemporary domestic terrorism. While Al Qaeda, ISIS, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Taliban may be more lethal globally in terms of body count, the KKK, neo-Nazis, racists skinheads, neo-confederates and the Christian Identity movements appear to be more of an ascendent threat to the security and domestic tranquility on the homefront. Not convinced? Who are you more likely to run into during a road trip through (mainly) rural America these days – a member of Al Shabab or Boko Haram or a racist skinhead or neo-Nazi?

    But it’s the statement that white nationalist “loners and nuts” were not directly encouraged to act by white nationalists organizations that suggests Mr Montgomery is making a feeble attempt at gaslighting the Spy readership. It cannot be ignored that the current incarnation of white nationalism came to prominence on the coattails of Donald Trump’s election campaign and has only strengthened since his election by trump not only failing to convincingly disavow and condemn racists and racism but actually telegraphing support.

    As for the assertion that these people are “loners” is so 20th-Century. True to his conservative nature, Mr Montgomery is living in the past. Thanks to social media, there is no such thing as a “loner” anymore. Like their radical Islamic analogs, entire support groups along with how-to treatises on the means and methods to foment havoc and terror are available at your fingertips on 4chan and 8chan, to name just two websites. The chans are places where racial slurs and exhortations to violence and suicide are not just common but form the fundamental language by which users communicate. According to web statistics, 8chan is among the top 5,000 websites in the world, even though it does not show up in Google results, and 4chan, which is among the top 1,000, claims to host 1 million new posts per day and attract nearly 28 million monthly unique visitors.

    White nationalism not a rising threat? Nope, nothing to see here. Just move along.

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