American Renaissance: Fashionable Clothes, And Unfashionable Ideas

[VDARE.COM
note:
Proceedings of last weekend`s


American Renaissance

conference—see

here
for

Jared Taylor
`s
preview—will soon


be available
on its site. Meanwhile, Hyatt Hotels is
reportedly rattled by the radical


campaign
to deny AR a
venue. Congratulate Hyatt on supporting American
liberties


here
]

Generally, when any political group
has a conference, the participants will dress in suits
or blazers and ties. Sometimes this is

listed


on


the


program
. When the media covers these meetings, you
expect to read about the content of the conference
rather than the dress code.

There are exceptions. During the
Democratic and Republican National Conventions or a

presidential inauguration
, there is often a roundup
of the outfits worn by delegates and politicians, a
la
Joan River`s

commentary
on the

attire
worn at the

Oscars
. The Washington Post has had a few
apolitical and semi-humorous pieces joking about John
Roberts` son`s

seersucker suit
or Jack Abramoff`s poor choice to go
with the

Mafioso look
when he pled guilty to charges of
bribery. The British National Party`s rising star Mark
Collett recently told me that the gossip pages made
quite a fuss over the

pink tie
he wore at his indictment for "inciting
racial hatred."

Yet rarely are the fashions the
only
focus of a political news event.

Nevertheless, The Washington
Post`s
story by Michael Laris [send him

email
] on last weekend`s
American Renaissance conference, although not in the
Style section, seemed to care exclusively about
what the participants were wearing. [Promoting
`Preservation` Of Whites in Suit and Tie
] Mr.
Laris—who dressed casually, but respectably, in a spread
collar, blue button-down shirt, chinos, and a pair of
driving moccasins—left the conference half way through
the first day of speeches. His piece was published
before the conference`s conclusion.

Laris opens up by noting that the
dress code of the AR Conference states
"Gentlemen will wear jackets and ties to all conference
events."
The only quote that AR`s founder and
president Jared Taylor is allowed in the entire article
is his typically charming and humorous response to Laris`
inquiry about the attire: "I don`t want an event I
sponsor to be characterized by slovenliness. In a
society of considerable ugliness, that`s one thing we
can control."

Laris went on about how the
participants wore their "their Saturday best" and
quotes various critics of AR about what this
signified. One protestor said "they are attempting to
be respectable and appear intelligent."
He quoted
another protestor as claiming that "donning nice
clothes is just a smarter tactic than wearing `your
robes and your hoods.`"

Nowhere in Laris` article did he
even mention the name of a speaker. Of the

six speakers
not mentioned, one was a prominent U.K.
politician (Nick
Griffin
), two are professors (Andrew
Fraser
and

J. Philippe Rushton
), two are acclaimed authors (Dan Roodt and

Guillaume Faye
), and one is a lawyer (Sam G.
Dickson).

In other words, they are all people
used to wearing coats and ties.

Mr. Laris did manage to find the
space to feature a quote from former Klan leader David
Duke—who himself has been

described
as having traded, "a white sheet for a
coat and tie"
—although he was not a sponsor or a
speaker at the conference.

The implication of Laris` article
was clear: were it not for the "smarter tactic"
of the dress code, all the participants at the
conference would dress like

Larry the Cable Guy
, if not in

paramilitary
outfits.

I attended the AR conference as a
journalist. For what its worth, the vast majority of the
attendees seemed used to dressing up, certainly as much
as at any other conference I`ve been to.

Of course, these first
impressions are not always right. So I actually talked
to dozens of attendees. The majority of them were
professionals or academics, intelligent, and friendly.

This should not be news to anyone
who knows anything about AR. Even their harshest
critics acknowledge that Jared Taylor and his followers
are not a bunch of rednecks and yahoos, but smart and
educated individuals. Left wing columnist and

perpetual
Peter Brimelow

denouncer
Max Blumenthal has

described
Taylor as "an
incredibly articulate, friendly fellow …who also happens
to be avowed white supremacist."

The Southern Poverty Law Center

calls
Taylor a "modern-day version of the
refined but racist colonialist of old"
and called
the conferences "well-attended,
suit-and-tie affairs
that reflect his international
reach."

In fact, the

ADL
actually

says
on its website this is precisely what makes
Taylor so dangerous.

It is
usually easy to dismiss a racist message when it is
crude or sensationalistic, but less so if it takes the
guise of a well-researched, carefully thought out
assessment of differences between races. The type of
genteel racism that American Renaissance
promotes seems on the surface almost reasonable

The Washington Post`s Laris
also discussed the attire of the few demonstrators
picketing the AR conference: "jeans, jackets and
sometimes face masks."

This was definitely an
understatement. The first day there were maybe twenty
protestors, all wearing all black clothes, black
bandannas and masks covering their faces (not much
difference

from  Klan hoods)
with signs like, "Stop Racism,"
"Change your name. You`re still the KKK."
and
"F— Off Nazi Scum and Die."
For some reason, the
latter sign did not get a mention in The Post
article.

The second day, there were half a
dozen

college students.
They weren`t all in black, but
they covered their faces with bandannas and had many
punk rock band patches sewed on to their clothes.

Caring about style almost as much
as Mr. Laris, I asked the protestors if they thought
that they were hurting their cause by dressing up like
homeless bohemians. (I did so as press. All the
participants followed the police`s request to not engage
the protestors.) Of course they weren`t, one replied:
"We`ve received very favorable

news coverage
."

Yeah.

This brings us to why we were
graced with Mr. Laris` fashion insights in the first
place.

Now, it is very plausible that he
simply does not get paid by the hour and wanted an angle
that allowed him to skip most of the conference and get
home in time to watch the Olympics.

But, at the risk of seeming to
suffer from what Richard Hofstadter called "The

Paranoid Style of American Politics
,"
I think
there was an ulterior motivation.

A typical

MSM hit piece
on AR would start off by saying
how the SPLC calls them a

hate group
. It would caricature a few views of the
speakers and maybe take a

quote
like Phillipe Rushton`s "it`s more brain or
more penis. You can`t have everything,"


out of context
while ignoring his

large and impressive body of work.
Then it would
give Jared Taylor a few sentences to respond, where he
always seems very reasonable.

The problem with that is that, if
the MSM article actually talked about what was said at
the conference, and mentioned the many academics and
professionals there, even if they were misrepresented as
"racist,"
"xenophobic," "extremist," or "fascist,"
lots of readers would still be intrigued by the
organization.

Through the providential gift of
the internet, these readers may

Google
American Renaissance and realize that
the

MSM smear
was completely mendacious. They may then

subscribe
to AR, check out its daily

news updates
—and maybe even its link to VDARE.COM!

So instead of talking about
"pseudoscientific"
theories made by professors,
Laris pretended the conference was nothing but a bunch
of

yokels
who clipped on a rayon tie between

cross burnings.

Now of course, there were some
people at the conference whose views I would consider
extreme. Although I didn`t talk to any, I wouldn`t be
surprised if there were a few rubes who didn`t go to the
same cotillion as Michael Laris and weren`t used to
wearing a jacket and tie.

Yet that can be said about any
movement. For every Jesse Jackson, there is a

Malik Zulu Shabazz
. Bill Kristol has

Meir Kahane
, and the Sierra Club has the

Earth Liberation Front
. In fact, I`m sure even

Morris Dees
would have been embarrassed by the
protestors outside the Hyatt had The Post
actually accurately reported what they were wearing and
doing.

But this doesn`t happen, because
the political and media establishment supports their
goals.

The Left is never forced to
apologize for or denounce their extremists, nor does

past political activity
make them pariahs, nor have
newspapers tried to find the

six degrees of separation
between their leaders and
a few nutballs (though some conservatives have

attempted to fill this gap
).

If there is any lesson you can
learn from Mr. Laris` article besides that you shouldn`t
wear madras after Labor Day, it is that the
Establishment Media will ignore the intelligent and
reasonable people on the politically incorrect side,
while presenting that the left`s extremists as
intelligent and reasonable.

At the AR conference, a
Jewish participant told me a

Murray Rothbard
anecdote to explain why he didn`t
care that he might possibly be in the same room as some
anti-Semites.

The late, great free-market
economist was once at a Libertarian Party convention in
the

1970s
. A distressed friend said to him, "Oh my
God! There are Nazis at this conference."

"There`s always one,"
Rothbard replied.

"What, a Nazi?" his friend
asked

"No, a

complainer
."

The next time we fret about a few
loonies or extremists destroying our cause and
movements, we should consider why their presence hasn`t
destroyed our opponent`s.


Alexander Hart (email
him) is a conservative
journalist.  He says he does not consider himself a
white nationalist, but is sympathetic to many of their
concerns, especially the threat that mass immigration
poses to the future of America and the West.