Politics & Government

The Founder of the Alt-Right Is From Dallas

Mother Jones has a profile of Richard Spencer.

Richard Spencer

The “white nationalist” responsible for coining the phrase “alt-right” is, unfortunately, from Dallas. Mother Jones has a profile of him today:

Growing up in a wealthy part of Dallas in the 1990s, Richard Bertrand Spencer attended St. Mark’s School of Texas, an elite, all-boys prep school long associated with blue-blooded conservatism. (I was also a student there around the same time.) George W. Bush lived in the same neighborhood and sent his daughters to St. Mark’s sister school, Hockaday. Spencer’s father, an ophthalmologist, did not care much about politics but voted Republican out of habit. Spencer played varsity football and baseball and hung out with the popular crowd.

Every Thursday after school, Spencer, his mom, and his sister would order pizza from Domino’s and watch Family Ties and The Cosby Show. Spencer was friends with the only African American student in his class, John Lewis, and once invited him for a sleepover. Lewis says he never thought of Spencer as racist, but another classmate who asked not to be identified recalls Spencer making “a bunch of conservative, racially laced comments” that were objectionable even in high school. Spencer says he has no memory of this and attributes the recollection to “backward projection,” noting that he did not think much about race back then.

After graduating high school in 1997, Spencer went to the University of Virginia, where he double-majored in music and English and became deeply involved in avant-garde theater, trying out and discarding various radical ideologies like costume changes. The writings of Friedrich Nietzsche made a lasting impression; Spencer found his critiques of equality and democracy darkly compelling. He identified with the German philosopher’s unapologetically elitist embrace of “great men” such as Napoleon Bonaparte and the composer Richard Wagner. Yet Spencer found little in Nietzsche about the organization of the state; it was only after entering the humanities master’s program at the University of Chicago that he discovered Jared Taylor, a self-proclaimed “race realist” who argues that blacks and Hispanics are a genetic drag on Western society.


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  • GlennHunter

    Illuminating article. Thanks to Mother Jones I now know that men like David Lynch, A.J. Burnette, and David Beckham—who’ve all worn their hair long on top and buzzed on the sides, just like Richard Spencer—actually have haircuts that mark them as fascists.

    • Mavdog

      David Lynch, A.J. Brunette and David Beckham do not have hairstyles that evoke that worn by Adolf Hitler. Richard Spencer’s hairstyle does. Likely on purpose.

      • Kevin Bullard

        Too true…when I see Sinead OConner, I think Benito Mussolini!

        • Mavdog

          I think Charles the Bald when I see Sinead O’Connor. Fits with her commentary, similar to how Adolf fits with Spencer.

          • Kevin Bullard

            10.4! Even Bob Marley noted this in his anthem “Crazy Baldheads” – Yes sir, eternal vigilance IS the price of freedom!

          • Mavdog

            If Marley were still among us he could revise the song to be “Crazy Combovers”. It would be appropriate…

    • T_S_

      It’s been kind of a trendy hairstyle for quite a few years, and likely doesn’t reflect any link towards having fascist leanings for about 99% of the people who get it.


  • OldLakeHighlander

    With a background in theatre and costumes, he should be able to come up with something more interesting than Brown Shirts.

  • JamieT

    Funny, I searched “Hitler hair” on Google Images – you can, too – and got at lot of returns of Hitler, none resembling Richard Spencer.

    But I did find this, which was closer:


    Closer to Hitler, that is. Was Spencer perhaps trying to emulate Hitler during the latter’s famous Emo Period?

    More interesting was a Google Image search for “long bang combover”.

    All of which is neither here nor there, in my opinion. What’s distressing to me is that this St. Marks seems clearly to be little more than a madrassa for white boys, hurling the sparks of radicalized young men of all persuasions out willy-nilly into the tinder of an unsuspecting public. Down on Polk Street I believe the words “St. Marks” are spoken only in a murmur.

    • Mike Morris

      It’s called a fashy haircut it’s from the Hitler youth, 1488 normie the oven just got 10 degrees higher

  • SheeeitLawd

    Bowl cut is the real fascist haircut

  • MattL1

    Do I really need to read beyond “St. Mark’s”? No? Cool.