The Preserving Western Civilization conference drew about 100 men and women from Canada, the UK, and the USA to a suit-and-tie affair at a hotel near the Baltimore-Washington International airport. The event was organised by 76 year-old Michael Hart, who received his PhD in astrophysics from Princeton and is known in white nationalist circles for his proposal for a racial partition of the United States. Hart is also Jewish, as were a significant percentage of the conference speakers and the attendees. These were “scientific racists”, seeking to root their anti-Islamic politics in genetics, rather than simply in culture.
The conference from 6-8 February was the first significant white nationalist confab since President Obama’s inauguration, and influential figures such as J. Philippe Rushton, Peter Brimelow and a representative of the British National Party were among the speakers. As such, the proceedings pointed to the direction at least one part of the movement will take in the near future.
This was an attempt to create a new ideological pole friendlier to Jewish participation, but within the broader white nationalist movement. They would bind Islamophobia and nativism with scientific racism.
Opening the conference, Hart proclaimed that the white race and Western Civilisation are the “pinnacle of human history”. Setting the stage for the rest of the weekend, he outlined the three problems faced by Western Civilisation – Islam, immigration, and white guilt.
Islamophobia was a dominant theme of the conference. Hart would encourage the audience to equate Islam with Nazism, and the Koran with Mein Kampf.
In a professorial monotone, Serge Trifkovic kicked the weekend’s Islamophobia into high gear with a lengthy attack on Muhammad and all of Islam. Trifkovic, a Serbian expatriate who before becoming the foreign affairs editor at the paleo-conservative magazine Chronicles was a spokesman for the convicted war criminal Biljana Plavsic, warned that Western Civilisation faces an old existential enemy, an aggressive foe. Echoing themes from his inflammatory 2002 book, The Sword and the Prophet, he warned that the threat was not from “Islamo-fascism”, but from Islam. Period. Gloomily, he predicted that “the survival of civilisation is at stake”.
Rushton, the soft-spoken psychology professor at the University of Western Ontario and a leading figure among academic racists, went even further, contending that Islam was not just a cultural, but a genetic problem. According to Rushton, the Muslim problem is not just a condition of their particular belief system. Instead, he argued that Muslims have an aggressive personality with relatively closed, simple minds, and are less impervious to reason than one might expect.
Not to be outdone, Lawrence Auster, whose biographical details boast that his blog, View from the Right, was “influential in defeating the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill in the Senate in 2007”, pushed a different sort of policy proposal in front of this crowd. Pretending that he was president, Auster ran through a list of Islamopohobic charges while stumping for a startling Constitutional Amendment to ban Islam and all Muslims from the United States. His proposal received a rousing applause.
Armed with a handful of papers, Patricia Richardson took the stage on Sunday morning to talk Islamophobia from a British perspective. Searchlight readers are no doubt familiar with Richardson, an elected BNP councillor who takes pains to remind people that she is Jewish. When Richardson announced that she was from the BNP, cheers rang out. She ran through several news items to paint a picture of Muslim immigration as a demographic catastrophe. “If they’re not plotting and planning unrest, they’re planning how to get your money,” she noted.