Over at The Nation Jeet Heer asks, “Why Does This Racist Keep Getting Silicon Valley Money?,” about professional bigot Richard Hanania.
Simple question, simple answer.
It’s one of the reasons that there is so little diversity there.
In recent years it’s been difficult to keep track of all the pundits or policy wonks on the American right who turn out to have secret — and often not-so-secret — lives as white supremacist provocateurs. This was certainly true during the Trump administrations, which had a weakness for appointing racist figures such as Sebastian Gorka and Darren Beattie. This was also true of nearly a dozen staffers associated with Tucker Carlson and his former show at Fox News. And it now applies to staffers and influencers in the circles around the presidential campaigns of both Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis. These stories sometimes — although not invariably — end with the racist staffer being fired.
Richard Hanania, a policy entrepreneur [What the hell is a, “Policy Engrepreneur?” sounds to me to be a rather opaque euphemism for professional asshole] who runs the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology and has a large social media footprint, recently joined the ever-expanding ranks of exposed racists. But he’s likely to continue to flourish, for reasons that illuminate the true sponsors of bigotry. Last Friday, Christopher Mathias published a superbly researched exposé in HuffPost documenting that between roughly 2008 and 2011 Hanania published, under a pseudonym, racist and misogynist comments barely distinguishable from Nazism. These included praise for eugenics and for the neo-Nazi agitator William Pierce (author of The Turner Diaries, an open call for race war). At the time, Hanania was between 23 and 28 years old.
More recently, Hanania has established a name for himself as a rising voice on the right, publishing in mainstream venues such as The Washington Post and The New York Times while being invited to speak at elite institutions like Yale and Stanford. Ohio Senator J.D. Vance has described Hanania as a “friend” and a “really interesting thinker.” The centrist pundit Matthew Yglesias wrote of Hanania, “He’s clearly quite racist! But I also think he’s written some good pieces and it’s important to read conservatives.”
Why I haven’t read Matthew Yglesias in years. You get sick of his, “Apart from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?” schtick regarding all sorts of malevolence and perfidy from right wingers in an attempt to play at being a very serious person.™
The bigotry Hanania voiced earlier hasn’t disappeared; indeed, it is still explicit (although more politely expressed) in his writing. Mathias’s most important contribution — building on the earlier research of journalist Jonathan Katz — is to establish that Hanania’s rising prominence has been supported by the advocacy (and sometimes the financial support) of a raft of plutocrats (usually with Silicon Valley roots), including Andrew Conru, Charles Koch, Marc Andreessen, David Sacks, Peter Thiel, and Vivek Ramaswamy. The last three have all blurbed Hanania’s forthcoming book The Origins of Woke, to be published by HarperCollins in September. According to Thiel, “Hanania shows we need the sticks and stones of government violence to exorcize the diversity demon.”
Because of Hanania’s wealthy patrons and supporters, he’s unlikely to be canceled. Very powerful people have invested too much in his career to pull the plug, especially since they give all evidence of sharing his worldview.
These Silicon Valley goons are privileged self-important bigots who think that they have created themself out of whole cloth by virtue of there unique intellect and work ethic.
They are (mostly) white boys who were born on 3the criminal enterprise formerly known as Facebook™ base, and believed that they had hit a triple,
Heer’s last sentence is the real keeper here, “Right-wingers have finally found a Palestinian they can like. It’s too bad he’s a Nazi.” (emphasis mine)