A look inside the mind of a white supremacist

 A drawing by the author of Richard Spencer, Andrew Anglin, and Weev Auernheimer from left to right. All three men are well-known white supremacists. (Alex Klein/The Daily Campus)

A drawing by the author of Richard Spencer, Andrew Anglin, and Weev Auernheimer from left to right. All three men are well-known white supremacists. (Alex Klein/The Daily Campus)

If it is true that any publicity is good publicity, then the media has to figure out a better way to cover the activity of white supremacists. Whenever a journalist puts out a story about Stormfront, the Daily Stormer or some other Nazi organization, the members of that organization rejoice. More attention means more people exposed to their message. Articles about white supremacists almost certainly do get more people to visit a Nazi website, if only out of curiosity, and it is easier to turn one out of two hundred people into a fascist than it is to turn one out of twenty people into a fascist. The one thing Andrew Anglin and Andrew Auernheimer want more than anything else is to turn skeptical visitors into vicious radicals.  

Anglin, the editor of The Daily Stormer, says as much in a style guide he sends to every volunteer who publishes articles under his name. He writes: “The target audience is people who are just becoming aware of this type of thinking … The reader is first drawn in by curiosity or the naughty humor, and is slowly awakened to reality by repeatedly reading the same points.” The Daily Stormer style guide was recently made public by Ashley Feinberg of The Huffington Post, and it proves plenty that was suspected about internet neo-Nazis. The most important fact that can be learned from reading the Stormer playbook is that the people who create Nazi propaganda know that they are lying to their readers.

The “prime directive” for Daily Stormer writers is to “always blame the Jews for everything.” Anglin tells his writers that “all enemies should be combined into one enemy, which is the Jews … we want to leave out any and all nuance. So no blaming Enlightenment thinking, pathological altruism, technology … just blame Jews for everything.” Anglin and his lackeys know on some level that there really is no connection at all between most political issues and Jews. Nevertheless, they inform their readers that Jews are responsible for everything wrong in the world. This idea echoes Adolf Hitler’s idea that, “Propaganda … must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the so-called intellect.” Hitler wrote this in a section of “Mein Kampf” that, according to Anglin, is the basis for the “propaganda doctrine” of The Daily Stormer.

This “propaganda doctrine” might as well be called “lying.” The intention is to make someone believe something that is not true. As Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Public Enlightenment, said, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This idea is essential for just about every con man out there, but it is especially important in the realm of racial supremacism. Every supremacist is forced to accept a fantasy for reality. Weev Auernheimer, the webmaster for the Daily Stormer, has “Jewish ancestors,” and one can find videos on the internet of Andrew Anglin in the Philippines holding hands with an Asian woman whom he calls his “jailbait girlfriend.” Mike Peinovich, the anti-Semitic host of a popular alt-right podcast, fell out of favor with much of the Stormer community when it was revealed that he was married to a Jewish woman. These men are as unwilling to live by their own racist standards as everyone else in the world.

Anglin is fond of directly or indirectly sending his followers after specific targets. An old Anglin article on The Daily Stormer instructed readers to call and harass Hillary Clinton supporters after Donald Trump’s presidential victory. According to that article, “you can troll … people and definitely get some of them to kill themselves.” The mother of Richard Spencer, America’s most popular Nazi, once made a post on Medium.com detailing an encounter she had with a Jewish realtor named Tanya Gersh who had allegedly extorted her. The allegation was probably bogus, but Anglin and his followers clearly hold the truth in very low esteem, and they will jump at any opportunity to act like domestic terrorists.

Anglin doxed Gersh and her husband by posting their address and contact information on The Daily Stormer, and asked his readers to “hit ‘em up.” The Gersh household was barraged with menacing phone calls. Andrew Auernheimer left a voicemail in which he called Gersh a “wicked kike whore” and told her that “This is Trump’s America now.” Gunshots could be heard in the background of some phone calls. Six days after the campaign began, Anglin made another post on The Daily Stormer in which he announced a plan to “march through the center of (Gersh’s hometown) carrying high-powered rifles.” He said that he had managed to convince a Hamas representative and a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to appear at the rally. The men from Hamas and the IRG would join a slew of skinheads Anglin planned to bus in from surrounding towns and cities.

The rally never materialized, much to Anglin’s chagrin. It would have been the most successful demonstration of white supremacist power in the United States in recent memory. But it is unlikely that white nationalists feel particularly browbeaten in 2018. The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was a complete success for race radicals. A Daily Stormer writer, under Anglin’s name, called Charlottesville the top story of 2017, saying it was “the culmination of what myself and others had been working toward for half a decade.” This was because and not in spite of the murder of Heather Heyer, who was killed when the supremacist James Fields Jr. drove his Dodge Challenger into a group of counter-protestors. Anglin and others pushed the rumor that Heyer died of a heart attack, despite the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia reporting that the cause of death was blunt force injury. And while Anglin was complaining to the Washington Post that “there is a lot more hatred on (Heyer’s) side than ours,” Weev Auernheimer was telling his Nazi flunkies to “get people on the ground” at Heyer’s funeral.

Auernheimer, Anglin, Spencer and their ilk are mental and moral washouts, but that is not why they behave as they do. Their tactics are part and parcel of fascist thinking. In “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” Hannah Arendt described the first anti-Semitic parties in Europe not as nationalist, which they claimed to be, but as supranational. The first avowed anti-Semites claimed that they were not a party among parties but a party “above all parties.” According to Arendt, “their aim was a dominating superstructure which would destroy all home-grown national structures alike.” Neo-Nazis, like the original Nazis before them, believe that the pursuit of international white supremacy is more important than the preservation of anyone’s rights. As such, they feel entitled to do whatever they want to whomever they want. They would like to “rule from above and without national distinctions by a universal monopoly of power and the instruments of violence.”

Not all fascists conduct their business with such seriousness, though. Sam Hyde almost sidled his way into mainstream acceptance when his sketch comedy show, “Million Dollar Extreme Presents: World Peace” was picked up by Adult Swim. Six episodes aired on television in August and September of 2016 before the show was dumped due to Hyde having connections to the alt-right. Hyde wrote an article for The Daily Caller in which he claimed that he and the MDE team had been fired because some Adult Swim executives and an “establishment-climber Buzzfeed functionary” could not stand that he supported Donald Trump. While Hyde is probably telling an at-least-partial truth, Adult Swim is a private business, and if one is to accept the conservative idea of the free market, the network’s executives should be allowed to kick anyone they want off of the channel.

Hyde, in his Daily Caller piece, made it sound like he was fired for being a provocative comedian and a Trump supporter. Conservative outlets ate that story up, but it was not the whole truth. After his show was canceled, Sam Hyde told The Washington Post that he had intended certain jokes on “Million Dollar Extreme” to be winks to the KKK, which he said “is actually where a lot of my YouTube ad revenue comes from.” Hyde could have been lying or joking, as it is doubtful that most of his fans are card-carrying Klansmen, but it is not doubtful that he gets a lot of money from racists. He receives just under $500 every month from patrons through the crowdfunding site Hatreon.com. Hatreon.com is similar to Patreon.com, but lacks the latter’s hate speech restrictions. Together, Andrew Anglin and Weev Auernheimer receive more than $4,000 every month through Hatreon. In the bio of his Hatreon.com page, Hyde states “one of the guys behind this site is my buddy and I’m a believer.”

That buddy of his is probably Auernheimer. There is a picture online of Weev and Hyde together in which both of the men are performing a Nazi salute. In a 2013 stand-up performance, Hyde went on a drawn-out rant about how “homosexuality is the manifestation of intense perversion” and how “gay people are more predisposed to having mental disorders.” Hyde used to be very fond of this type of performance. He would appear at comedy shows, go up on stage, pull out a piece of paper, and start reading something that might as well have been pulled from the bowels of The Daily Stormer. These speeches were typically jokeless. They were read in a deadpan tone, and there was no reason to believe that Hyde was not representing his views honestly.

His favorite topic was the Jewish question; he used to tell audiences things like “Despite making up less than one percent of the world population, Jews absolutely dominate every important field, with most key figures in media, finance and academia being hardcore Jewish.” He called Jews “bloodsucking media vampires.” Sam Hyde publicly donated $5,000 to Andrew Anglin’s legal defense fund for the Tanya Gersh case. When the LA Times contacted him for comment, Hyde asked if the reporter was Jewish, said five grand was nothing to him, and then said “Don’t worry so much about money. Worry about if people start deciding to kill reporters. That’s a quote.” The real mystery is not why Adult Swim chose to cancel Hyde’s show, but how he could have believed that such a decision was not inevitable. Threatening to kill reporters is probably not looked upon favorably by television executives.

Sam Hyde embodies the alt-right trope of the person whose warped sense of humor is a cover for vicious bigotry. It is worth remembering that Andrew Anglin instructs his writers to keep the tone of content for The Daily Stormer “light” and to fill their articles with jokes rather than “vitriolic, raging, non-ironic hatred.” Supremacists consider humor to be among their most invaluable tools, which is odd, considering the fact that their “humor” is usually intended to convey serious prejudice. When people accuse Hyde of being an anti-Semite or a racist, he counters by saying his bigotry is only a put-on. Hyde often complains that his material is “not much different than Eric Andre having swastikas on his show.” However, Eric Andre is not an anti-Semite, whereas Sam Hyde is. When Hyde pretended to cry while talking about the six million Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, he solemnly suggested to his audience that the Holocaust, as it is reported by modern historians, did not take place.

There is some evidence to support the notion that racism and ethnocentrism are becoming more and more potent in America as the years go by. Hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan claim that their numbers are rising steadily now that Donald Trump is president. Trump, who received the endorsement of David Duke and a Klan newspaper, has been dogged by charges of racism since the 1970s, when he was accused of refusing to consider rental applications filed by potential black tenants. However, racism in the United States has a long and grotesque history, so it would be misleading to claim that racial tension is peaking in 2018.

12 United States presidents owned slaves. Richard Nixon, who believed that the solution to racial inequality was for blacks to inbreed, ran his 1968 presidential campaign on states’ rights and “law and order” to appeal to whites who opposed civil rights reform. Lee Atwater, a GOP operative who worked at various times for Strom Thurmond, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, famously claimed that, after 1968 politicians who were looking to appeal to racist voters started talking about “abstract” issues like forced busing, states’ rights and cutting taxes. After helping craft race-baiting campaign ads for the segregationist Jesse Helms in 1990, Dick Morris served from 1994 to 1996 as the chief political strategist for President Bill Clinton. Racism has always been an important force in American politics, but its power is smaller now than it ever was.

This does not mean that Hyde, Spencer, Anglin and Auernheimer will not have their way. It was obvious during the 2016 presidential election that fomenting racial tension is not a bad campaign tactic. Hannah Arendt noted the obvious in “The Origins of Totalitarianism” when she said that anti-Semitic and racist slogans “were highly effective in mobilizing large strata of the population.” It is possible for the American people to move backwards in terms of their acceptance of and enthusiasm for bigotry. This is the goal of every race supremacist, regardless of color. It is clear what Sam Hyde wanted to accomplish when he got up on stage and read out the reasons why he hated Jews, just as it is clear why Andrew Anglin applauded the man who murdered Heather Heyer. Supremacists agree on very few things, but they all share a common goal: they want to convince potential followers that certain kinds of people are not people at all. Once that has been established, it is easier to rationalize the chains, the camps and the gulag. All it takes is the right time, the right issue and the right propaganda to open up a well of hatred underneath the feet of the body politic.


Alex Klein is a staff columnist for the Daily Campus and can be reached via email at alex.klein@uconn.edu.