On the eve of the most widely anticipated conservative event of the year, the group responsible for organizing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC 13) has chosen to feature the work of a controversial white nationalist professor on its website.
As of February 27, the American Conservative Union (ACU) website features an article by Dr. Robert Weissberg, a retired University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign political science professor with a second career as a white nationalist. Since the first CPAC conference in 1973, the American Conservative Union has been the principal sponsor of the gathering. ACU has a staff person, Vinh Nguyen, listed as a “CPAC producer.” And ACU’s executive director and chairman call the event to order and provide the initial welcoming remarks. Weissberg’s essay was found on the front page of the ACU’s site, just beneath a big banner advertising CPAC 13.
Weissberg’s short essay was entitled “Debating Liberal Tactics.” And the biography at the bottom notes that he’s taught at several universities and written 11 books. It leaves out some important details, however, including his repeated participation with a white nationalist outfit, American Renaissance, and his explicitly racist writings. Further, Robert Weissberg’s racist beliefs were well-known long before the ACU published his article.
The issue garnered national attention last year. After IREHR exposed Weissberg’s participation at the 2012 American Renaissance conference (and previous white nationalist events), National Review editor Rich Lowry publically gave him the boot from his magazine.
In an April 10, 2012 statement, Lowry wrote: "Unbeknownst to us, occasional Phi Beta Cons contributor Robert Weissberg (whose book was published a few years ago by Transaction) participated in an American Renaissance conference where he delivered a noxious talk about the future of white nationalism. He will no longer be posting here. Thanks to those who brought it to our attention."
Robert Weissberg and American Renaissance
Weissberg has been active with American Renaissance since at least 1999, when he penned the cover-story for the publication's March issue, "In Defense of the Racial Spoils System."
American Renaissance is a unique institution in white nationalist circles. It has published a monthly newsletter since 1990 and held periodic conferences since 1994. It has tried to create a think-tank, generating white nationalist ideas based on a flawed system of “scientific racism.” Although neo-Nazis, Klansmen, Holocaust deniers and other avowed anti-Semites read the newsletter and attend and speak from the dais at the conferences, American Renaissance has tried to create a white nationalism free of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Periodically, the tensions between having anti-Semites in the mix, but not anti-Semitism has burst into open conflict on the floor of its conferences. This conflict has not kept American Renaissance principals from working closely with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the lineal organizational descendant of the old white Citizens Councils.
At the 2000 American Renaissance conference, Weissberg spoke about "The Relationship between Blacks and Jews." The talk, entitled “Jews and Blacks: Everything the Goyim Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask,” argued that Jews and other whites should unite against racial minorities. They would supposedly sort out their own differences later.
His talk began with his theories about why Jews support civil rights and black causes, a practice which he termed "an affliction." Weissberg argued that it would be advantageous if Jews were on the side of white nationalists. Weissberg, who is Jewish, claimed that most Jews are actually racist, and that the right wing should be wary of anti-Semitism, lest it lose an "energetic" ally."Certainly, if one were looking around for people about to do in the Jews, why do we worry about the white Christians? Why not concentrate on where the real enemy is, the blacks," he told the crowd.
Singling out African Americans as the enemy, Weissberg added, "Jews cherish education, they are obsessed with it. Blacks, on the other hand, destroy it. Anybody who's gone to schools in the inner city knows that not only do they hate the idea of learning, but they physically destroy the schools and assault their teachers. (Chuckle) I could go on forever on this point."
The talk Weissberg delivered to the 2012 American Renaissance conference was on a “Politically Viable Alternative to White Nationalism.” He didn’t reject racism. Instead, he argued that that it needed an image makeover. He told the scientific racists and assorted white nationalists gathered at the Montgomery Bell State Park in the Tennessee woods that even though racial nationalism “is intuitive and written in our genes” a repackaging of white racial identity was necessary to win recognition.
He proposed retreat into “Whitopias” - a genteel form of enclave racial nationalism. He pointed out that there are many ways to keep existing Whitopias lily white, such as zoning that require large houses, and a cultural ambiance or classical music and refined demeanor that repels “undesirables.”
Weissberg the Academic
Early in his career, Weissberg wrote academic political science textbooks. In more recent years, he’s focused exclusively on white nationalist themes.
His 2008 book, Pernicious Tolerance: How Teaching to Accept Differences Undermines Civil Society, however, argues that“the erstwhile ‘tolerance’ crusade is part of a multi-front campaign aiming to subvert national identity and the likely outcome will be dreadful.”(p 170). In 185 short pages, he expresses racism, nativism, Islamophobia, and homophobia, all while attacking everything from the “grievance industry” to hate crimes legislation.
His most recent work, Bad Students, Not Bad Schools, Weissberg argues that black and Hispanic students are responsible for the decline of the American education system. He makes the outrageous claim that black people and Hispanics have genetically determined lower IQs than whites and Asians, and with Hispanics becoming a larger proportion of the population the average IQ in America is destined to fall.
This isn’t the first time the American Conservative Union ran into trouble over issues of racism. At last year’s CPAC several overt white nationalists were given the stage, including Peter Brimelow, John Derbyshire, and Robert Vandervoort. Unlike the National Review, the ACU refused to act last year when these issues were raised by human rights organizations, including by People for the American Way and IREHR.
The ACU publication on its website of a white nationalist such as Weissberg comes at a difficult moment for conservatives. Given the 2012 electoral outcomes, many movement leaders have discussed the necessity of outreach to women, African Americans and Latinos to win future elections. The ACU’s persistent blindness to the white nationalists it surrounds itself with, could jeopardize any effort to broaden their ranks. And the American Conservative Union’s failure to act in a morally responsible fashion undermines the legitimacy of ACU’s CPAC conference as well.
CPAC is scheduled for March 14-16 in Washington DC.
is vice president of IREHR. He coordinates our Seattle office, directs our research efforts, and manages our online communications. He has researched, written, and organized on virtually all facets of contemporary white nationalism since 1992, and is internationally recognized for this effort. Devin is frequently quoted as an expert by print, broadcast, and online media outlets. In 2007, he was awarded a Petra Foundation fellowship. more...
Follow him on twitter: @dburghart
Latest from Devin Burghart
- Tea Party Patriots Plan Nativist October Surprise
- A Brief History of Nativism: Part Five
- IREHR research featured in Brookings Institution piece on failure of immigration reform
- Tea Party Patriots Local Affiliated Groups Plunge by Nearly 90 Percent
- Map: Tea Party Patriots Local Affiliated Groups - July 2014