Editor’s Note: This is a transcript of Richard’s speech as compiled by Brett Stevens here at his “Amerika” website, which includes this transcript and more commentary on it.
Good evening, everyone. Long live Texas! Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
I’m just curious; I want to do a bit of a demographic study. If you’re a member of the media, please raise your hand. Okay, okay, put your hand own, please. That’s a very offensive gesture. Shut it down. We knew you were the lying media, but for God’s sake, that’s out of hand.
I’d like to first off thank Preston for bringing me here. He is truly a brave man and he is bringing a level of discourse to the university that otherwise probably wouldn’t be there. The fact is that we know universities have become stifling, in terms of what you can talk about, and Preston’s fighting against that and I greatly appreciate it. So please give him a round of applause.
I’d also like to thank the Texas A&M University Police. They have been absolutely professional with me; they also care about free speech and they have really gone the extra mile in terms of allowing this event to occur. So please give them a round of applause. Thank you.
So, just out of curiosity, please raise your hands if you are a Texas A&M student. Awesome. I am very happy to be here and I hope you all ask questions. I actually did grow up in Texas, so I am proud to say, the Alamo did nothing wrong.
Well. What is the Alt Right? Who are you? Pepe. Yeah, absolutely. I’m sure some of you have first heard about the Alt Right after the “hail heard round the world” that occurred at the NPI conference. That was a lot of fun.
I would say that that moment, which went viral, is an expression of a lot of different things. It is certainly the expression of the desire of a mainstream media to slander and just silence us with one thirty second footage. “Aww, these people are terrible.” But I think it also says something about the life of the Alt Right. We don’t allow other people to tell us what we can joke about. We don’t play by their rules. We have fun, we can be outlandish, and that is never going to stop.
So, the Alt Right can’t be defined by something from the past. We can’t be trapped in the past. But we also need to go forward guilt-free. We need to be high energy, we need to have fun, we need to be a little outlandish, we need to trigger the world. So all I would say is: keep it up. I love you all.
So what is the Alt Right? When I first started using that term, it was about mid-2008, and at that point, I think the Alt Right was fairly, you could say, negative in its meaning. We didn’t quite know exactly what it was. I knew that something was profoundly wrong with mainstream conservatism. That was evident enough with the George W. Bush administration, with the neoconservatives disastrous wars in Iraq and so on, and with the rest of the mainstream Right offering no answers, the religious Right, all that kind of stuff. I knew that we had to have a new starting point. I also knew that we needed to — this wasn’t a matter just of tweaking the Right, as it is — this was really the matter of a new beginning. Of a new starting point for conservatism in America.
You can actually look at the starting point of the conservative movement, and they talk about global capitalism, and free markets, and the Constitution, and vague Christian values of some sort. But they never ask that question of “Who are we?” They never ask that question of identity. They probably assumed it. They probably assumed a white America, a European America, but they never really asked about it and they were never really conscious of it.
And so the conservative movement became, in its way, a mirror reflection, a photographic negative, of the Soviet Union. It became an ideological nation, it became a nation based on abstract values, like “muh freedom,” “muh democracy,” “muh bombin’ muh commies and Muslims.” It was never a place; it was never a people; it was a kind of ideology. That’s what conservatism was. And so I don’t think George W. Bush was some kind of aberration, some kind of wrong turn to the conservative movement; I think sadly he was an expression of that general trajectory. Not towards identity, not towards nationalism, not towards a sense of “us” or who we are, but towards this abstract universalism that ends up in ridiculous two trillion dollar wars in the middle east, that no one understands and no one can even remember what started them.
So, in a way, George W. Bush was the founder of the Alt Right. He was at least the founder of the term, because I knew that we had to get away from that. We had to get away from him. So I started using the term “Alt Right” in about mid-2008, and at that point, as I said, I don’t think it had an essence quite then. It was just a sense of not-that; let’s get away from W, let’s get away from all that, let’s start anew. From there, the Alt Right evolved, it took on new meanings, and in a way it was outside of my control, absolutely — the Alt Right has never been the Richard Spencer agenda or anything like that — the Alt Right has been organic, that’s why it has succeeded, precisely because other people have picked it up and they have added meanings to it, and so on.
But it kind of evolved with me, in a way. After I dropped out of graduate school, I worked in what you could call the anti-war conservative movement. I wanted to oppose George W. Bush’s agenda but I wanted to do it from a Right-wing perspective. That is, I evolved too. And by around 2010, I would say, I had an idea of where that new starting place was going to be. And that new starting point was going to be identity. And that was going to be the question that we asked first.
So what is identity? In a way, it’s the question “who are you?” We all have many different identities. You could say that you’re a student at Texas A&M. You’re into weight-lifting. You went to a Star Trek convention. You like to wear sweatpants. These are elective identities. They say something about us, but they’re elective.
But then you can delve a little bit deeper, and you could say, “I’m a citizen of the United States. I grew up somewhere. We all grew up somewhere. We’re all part of something. We all come from someplace.
You can go even deeper, and say, “These are my parents. This is my family.” The Left in the eighteenth century had this line “an accident of birth.” An accident of birth. No birth is an accident. There’s no historical or cosmic accident in birth. You come from somewhere. You have parents. They have parents, they have a history. So you’re part of a family. And you grew up somewhere. And you can go deeper, and you can say that you are part of an ethnicity and you are ultimately part of a race. You might not like this. You might really resonate to the idea that we’re all individuals, we’re all citizens. “We’re just Americans. I don’t see color. But color sees you. That’s a good line — I think Trevor Noah said that to a young conservative. She says, “Oh, I don’t see color. I’m a good young conservative.” He says, “What the hell do you do at a stoplight?” It’s a good question actually. We all see color. And race isn’t just color. Color is, in a way, a minor aspect of race. But you’re part of something. Whether you like it or not, you’re part of a bigger extended family. You’re part of this world; you’re part of this history. And that race has a story to tell.
As a European, I can tell a story about people, people I never will know. Our lives stretch back to prehistory. We first started to become ourselves in the Greek and Roman world. So there’s a story that involves people you’ve never met. As a European, I can tell this story about the Greeks and the Romans, about the foundation of our civilization, about empire, about the coming of Christianity.
Sure, Europe’s a place. It’s a place on the map, the people, the blood and its spirit. That’s much more important than some map. There are Europeans all over the world. If we went into space, we’d still be European.
So we can tell a story. We went through tumults, we went through reformations, we went through revolutions, and we are who we are, and I think we’ve learned something about ourselves. That’s the story I can tell as a European. I think if I were an African-American I could tell a very different story. If I were to say what that story would be, it would be about being rooted in an African continent, and enslaved and kidnapped, and going through trials that perhaps I cannot imagine, but then becoming a people. You’re still a people. That’s the story I would tell. But it’s a different story.
So that’s what it means to be part of a race. A race is genetically coherent, a race is something you can study, a race is about genes and DNA, but it’s not just about genes and DNA. The most important thing about it is the people and the spirit. That’s what a race is about.
A lot of white people do not want to have a race. They say, “Oh, I’m just an individual. I’m just an American.” You have a race whether you like it or not. You’re part of a race whether you like it or not. When a Syrian refugee — so called — whether they’re from Syria or Africa or somewhere else in the middle east, when they enter Europe, they don’t look at anyone as “Oh, look, lookee there, this man, he’s Bavarian. Oh, he’s a Bavarian Catholic. Oh look, this guy must be from Ireland. Hmm, interesting. He’s Italian.” No, they don’t see that at all. They see us as white; they see us as white men. They see us as a race, and our enemy can see who we are whether we want to define ourselves as such or not. We are white.
So that is the foundation of identity. You can go up, you can look at elective identities — I’m into weightlifting, I’m into Star Trek — and you can keep going down, and you go down, and down, and down, and you get to the root of identity. You get to that base, where you can’t go any further. And that is race.
In America, we have a very peculiar conception of race. This has been perhaps the most racialized continent. It was a place that was an open country. It was an open country for Europeans who confronted people who were radically different than they were. And that confrontation, I’ll be honest, was terrible, bloody and violent. It was terrible, bloody and violent, but we conquered this continent. Whether it’s nice to say that or not, we won. And we got to define what America means, we got to define what this continent means. America, at the end of the day, belongs to white men.
While I was coming here on the airplane, I re-watched perhaps my favorite movie, which is John Ford’s The Searchers. There’s a moment in that film that I love. It actually comes from a very minor character. It’s one of the Sorgesens, who are a Swedish family. This movie The Searchers takes place in Texas. It’s a brutal movie. It’s about Indians capturing this young white child, and Ethan — played by John Wayne — and his companions chasing after her for years, years, almost endlessly. There’s a moment when this woman Sorgesen, her husband Lars says, “Texas — This terrible country — killed my boy.” Their boy died on a revenge mission against these Indians and the Indians killed him. And Mrs. Sorgesen said, “No, the country didn’t kill your boy. We’re Texicans. And that means we’re a human man way out on a limb. We’re going to be out on that limb for years, for decades, maybe a hundred years. But we won’t be out on that limb forever. At some point, Texas is going to be a wonderful place to live. It’s going to be a great place to live. But perhaps our bones have to be in the ground before that will happen.”
Texas is a wonderful place to live. And there are a lot of the white man’s bones in the ground to make that happen. White people did it. And I’m not going to ever claim that there wasn’t a lot of brutality that went along with it. But we did it. Our bones are in the ground, we own it, and at the end of the day, America cannot exist without us. We defined it. This country does belong to white people, culturally, politically, socially, everything. We defined what America is. But things change. The architect is what matters. It’s the genius behind something, it’s not just whoever happened to do the labor. Other people could have done it. But no one could have imagined it, no one could have designed it, because no one else did. History is proof.
But things change. What is America now? Is it great? “Make America Great Again” was the slogan that captured the imagination really of the world. Embedded in that slogan “Make America Great Again” is its opposite, and that is an acknowledgement that America is not great. I think we know that. I think we know that in our bones and our guts, that things are getting worse. Previous generations couldn’t imagine that their children would have a worse world than they enjoyed, even a worse world than their parents enjoyed. Now 75% of white people think the country is on the wrong track; who could disagree with them, exactly? Does anyone think it’s getting better?
“Make America Great Again.” The opposite is embedded in that statement. That’s what makes it in a way so powerful. We assume that America is not great. And it isn’t. And why isn’t it great? America is not great because in my lifetime, America has lost an essence. It’s lost a people, it’s lost a meaning. You listen to presidential inaugurations, these are these times when presidents will go up and tell us “what this is really about” and get everyone fired up, they don’t talk about America as an historic nation and a people with a story, as the product of a race, of a worldview, they basically talk about America as a platform for all of humanity. They talk about America as an economic system, effectively.
Many have talked about the Roman Empire’s decline. It went from being a people to being a population, then to being a mob. I think that says a lot about the fall of Rome. America went from being a frontier, to being a people, then to being an economic platform for consumers from around the world. And let there be no doubt: Americanization, in this worst possible sense of the word, this is what Hillary Clinton was talking about when she said she wanted a “hemispheric open market.” This is what George Soros and Mark Zuckerberg want. They want an undifferentiated global population, raceless, genderless, identityless, meaningless population, consuming sugar, consuming drugs, while watching porn on VR goggles while they max out their credit cards. Don’t deny that that is the kind of passive nihilism that so many in the elite class actually want. They want a world without roots, they want a world without meaning, they want a flat grey-on-grey world, one economic market for them to manipulate. That’s what’s happening in the world.
It isn’t just a great erasure of white people. It isn’t just an invasion of Europe, an invasion of the United States by the third world, it is ultimately the destruction of all peoples and all cultures around the globe.
I’m not paranoid, they’re just out to get me.
That’s what America has become. We might not all be able to put it into those words, but we know that that is what America is becoming. It’s becoming an homogeneous consuming mass, and no one wants it. Whether you’re black or white or Asian or Hispanic or whatever, no one wants that. And that’s what America has become.
I agree with liberals who might say, “Oh Donald Trump, he’s vulgar, he’s ridiculous, listen to what he’s saying, this is crazy.” Look, I agree. But just the fact that Donald Trump said that word “great” — “Make America Great Again” — meant that he had higher hopes than the Clintons, and the Zuckbergs, and the Bill Gates, and the George Soroses combined. That he had a sense of height, of upward movement, of greatness, of that thing that makes the white race truly unique and truly wonderful, that striving towards infinity, that however vulgar he might be that he had a sense of it.
And that’s what inspired the Alt Right. That’s what made Donald Trump an Alt Right hero. So this is where we are. We’re in a battle between that other America, that America we don’t want to talk about, that America that has our bones in the earth, that America that white Americans died for, that white Americans defined, and we have this other America, that’s just coming into view. This America that is a nihilistic economic platform for the world, that’s taking over the world and destroying everything in its path. That’s where we are. We’re at a tipping point.
What we need right now are people who are willing to speak truth to power. I find that there’s this amazing thing about the Left. And I have a certain respect for the Left, believe it or not. I understand the Left in a way. What I find so amazing about the people who are protesting me out there, who are attempting to create the largest safe space in the world of 100,000 people at Kyle Field, is that they think they’re the underdog. Let me let you in on a secret: Richard Spencer is not the Establishment. Richard Spencer is not running the government. Richard Spencer is effectively a heretic in the modern age. Think about those places of power. The US military, public education (academia), major corporations whether they’re financial on the east coast, Silicon Valley, what have you. What do they all agree on? “Diversity is good.” “We’re all the same.” “We’re one world.” “C’mon man, we all bleed red.” You might think that that kind of limp liberalism is some kind of underdog perspective, that you’re speaking truth to power by saying that nonsense. You are not speaking truth to power. The military-industrial complex agrees with you, so does every major corporation, so does the US government. You are not speaking truth to power, you are power speaking.
These institutions do not want you to have a sense of yourselves. They do not want you to have identity and rootedness. They do not want you to have duties to your people. They do not want you to think of yourself as part of an extended family that is bigger than any single individual, because the moment you have those duties, the moment you have that identity, is the moment that you are no longer the perfect, passive consumer-citizen that they want to create.
Have an identity. I don’t need to tell black people in this room to have an identity because you all have got it. You know who you are. Have an identity. I don’t need to tell that African-Americans, I probably don’t need to tell that to Native Americans or Indians or Asians or anything. But I will tell that to white people: have a goddamn identity, have a sense of yourself. Be a part of this family. You are not an individual, you are not “just an Amurrican,” you are not just a citizen, you are part of this family; be a part of it. Find that within yourself. Find that shadow of self. Not the day-to-day self, find that shadow of self, that European, that hero within you. Be that person.
Having an identity is the greatest challenge to the power structure that there is. Speaking truth to it means speaking the truth about race, about people, about nations, about who we are. You are not a rebel when you mouth this tired, boring, annoying, Left-wing pablum of the so-called “anti-fascists.” Or of these sinecured academics, people with six or seven figure salaries who think they’re Marxist revolutionaries. You are not speaking truth to power when you mouth their tired bullshit.
Have an identity. Be something bigger than yourself. Become who you are, become a member of the people and speak truth to power my brothers and sisters. Thank you very much.