INTRODUCTION: We republish today’s letter from the Southern Poverty Law Center fully sharing our readers’ weariness with politics but also sharing the conviction that silence, or speaking with muted voice, is not an option in the face of evil. Though Views from the Edge rarely uses the word, the alt-right story behind the story of this historic moment has earned the rarely used word. This is what evil looks like. Take time to open the links for the full impact, but remember – evil has no standing on its own; it is completely dependence on the enduring goodness its wiles distort.
Last April, long before Stephen K. Bannon became the chief strategist to President Trump and the architect of one of the president’s most most draconian executive orders, the SPLC’s investigative blog Hatewatch published an analysis of Breitbart News, where Bannon was executive chairman, and its drift to the radical right.
The question that served as our headline “Is Breitbart Becoming the Media Arm of the Alt-Right?” was answered by Bannon himself when he told a Mother Jones reporter in July that Breitbart was, indeed, “the platform for the alt-right.”
Our recent research confirmed just how bad it was. Under Bannon, the comment section became infested with anti-Semitic language while their inflammatory coverage of migrants made it the radical right’s favorite daily news source.
Last week, The Huffington Post published a major article about Bannon’s affection for an obscure and disturbing novel released in 1973 that helped shape his worldview.
The French novel, authored by Jean Raspail, is “The Camp of the Saints,” with a subtitle reading “[a] chilling novel about the end of the white world.”
Bannon repeatedly referenced the novel on his Breitbart radio show, arguing that the migrant crisis in Europe is exactly what the novel foretold.
“It’s not a migration,” he said in January 2016. “It’s really an invasion. I call it the Camp of the Saints.”
As The Huffington Post summarized:
The plot of The Camp of the Saints follows a poor Indian demagogue, named “the turd-eater” because he literally eats s***, and the deformed, apparently psychic child who sits on his shoulders. Together, they lead an “armada” of 800,000 impoverished Indians sailing to France. Dithering European politicians, bureaucrats and religious leaders, including a liberal pope from Latin America, debate whether to let the ships land and accept the Indians or to do the right thing — in the book’s vision — by recognizing the threat the migrants pose and killing them all.
One man responsible for promoting the novel throughout the 1990s was John Tanton, the architect of the modern anti-immigrant movement. In 1994, Tanton’s Social Contract Press published the novel that featured an afterword by Raspail who wrote:
[T]he proliferation of other races dooms our race, my race, to extinction.
That the right-hand man to President Trump is a fan of this novel should deeply disturb Americans if they aren’t already. Linda Chavez, a Republican commentator interviewed by The Huffington Post for the story, said that while she supported some of Trump’s economic policies, his immigration policies were “extremely dangerous.”
As for Bannon and his affection for this racist novel, Chavez said he “wants to make America white again.”
As always, thank you for reading.