Every so often the Left’s mask slips entirely.
Such was the case in a remarkable recent editorial from the New York Times’ editorial board. Entitled “There are No Lone Wolves,” the article attempted to place several so-called “lone wolf” attacks into a pattern of overall global violent white supremacy.
Building off the case of Payton Gendron, the then- 18 year-old who pleaded guilty this week to gunning down 10 African-Americans in a Buffalo supermarket in a racist attack last May, the Times quickly segued into a universal theory of white supremacist violence.
According to the Times Gendron wrote a manifesto “motivated by the fear of great replacement theory, the racist belief that secretive forces are importing nonwhite people to dilute countries’ white majorities” one that had been directly influenced by Brenton Tarrant, who had also invoked replacement theory and had killed 51 people in a shooting at a New Zealand Mosque a couple of years earlier.
Here we see the liberal motte-and-bailey technique at work. The Times takes an uncontroversial fact (that Gendron was influenced by Tarrant) to make an unrelated and intellectually unsupportable claim (that “replacement theory” is a dangerous conspiracy theory.) In fact, replacement theory is not a dangerous conspiracy theory, but mass replacement itself is a dangerous policy—primarily for its direct effects on social cohesion but also for the violent backlash that it occasionally inspires.
Political violence against innocents is always evil, but in assessing how to stop that violence, it is important to understand that the motivations leading to violence matter.
If people are committing violence, for example, because they believe, for example, that most people are alien pod beings from another planet, then we should do everything we can to delegitimize their dangerous and delusional views. But replacement theory is not a crazy fever dream of conspiracy theorists, it is a very important empirical phenomenon, and there are many people adamantly opposed to our elites’ great replacement policies who are equally adamantly opposed to violence. Even the Times notes that the violence it chronicles is a transnational phenomenon, which makes sense because replacement policy is a transnational phenomenon in historically European nations from the United States to France to Australia.
The New York Times and its fellow ideological travelers are central actors in promoting replacement, a fact that they alternately deny and exult in. This is what my Claremont colleague Michael Anton has referred to as the “celebration parallax (e.g., “That’s not happening and it’s good that it is”). In 1970 the United States was 85 percent white non-Hispanic and today it is 57 percent white non-Hispanic. Under the Biden Administration almost three million people illegally crossed the border in 2022. This is almost nine times the number that crossed in 2017, the first year of the Trump presidency. That kind of increase is a political choice—not an accident. As long as demographic replacement continues as a matter of elite policy, it is inevitable that strong reactions to replacement—most of them peaceful and political, but a few evil and violent—will continue.
According to polling cited by the Times, one-third of Americans and 61 percent of French believe in replacement theory. Perhaps that is because the Left writes books and articles celebrating it? Have you been to Paris or London recently? I’ve spent a fair bit of time in both cities in recent years. It’s no coincidence that notable left-wingers like John Cleese have said about London that “It’s no longer an English City any more.” Now you may think that is wonderful or terrible, depending on your political or social commitments, but it’s pure gaslighting to claim it’s not happening. The Times and their fellow travelers would be more convincing if they honestly acknowledged replacement is happening, acknowledged that there are losers from mass replacement, and made an honest case for why it is still good.
“The modern notion of replacement is a foreign import,” the Times informs us with no sense of irony. But yes, foreign imports—who they are and what their relationship to the historic American population will be is exactly what is at issue here. This problem simply can’t be whisked away by conjuring up an “extremist” or “white supremacist” bogeyman.
Adding to the dishonesty of its framing of the problem, the Times defines white supremacist violence as its own category, rather than as part of a general category of interracial violence in the United States, one in which whites are overwhelmingly the victims and not the perpetrators. Does the Times think the interracial violence for which whites are overwhelmingly victimized is not at all racially motivated? They won’t even ask that question, let alone answer it.
Nor are their proposed solutions to this problem at all reassuring. “Extremists succeed when they have access to political power,” the Times claims, and it demands that America “weed extremists out of positions of power.”
On the surface this seems reasonable. Who wants extremists in political power? But the problem with this superficially benign formulation is that in our political system, other than the politically unaccountable left-wing bureaucracy, “access to political power” is achieved overwhelmingly through democratic means—i.e. winning elections. So when someone wants to “deny extremists political power” what they really mean is that they want to overturn democracy when democracy selects the “wrong” people, and instead substitute something else in its place.
Instead of promoting democratic norms, engaging with controversial issues seriously, and treating their political opponents respectfully, the Times and its fellow travelers have done everything possible to demonize them. It is part of a global campaign to shut down right-wing dissent, something even the Times editorial acknowledges has dangers. It mentions \Prevent, a British program originally “focused on jihadists has now been reoriented to white supremacists, though there are complaints that the net of problematic right-wing views is being cast too widely.” The Times acknowledges that, of course, actual right-wingers (not New York Times-approved pseudo-right eunuchs) are the only people who can reach dangerous people and convince them to reject violence. Yet the Times editorial celebrates the removal of the rhetoric of “extremists” from the Internet and other mainstream spaces. Moreover, the Times’ and legacy media’s relentless campaign against Elon Musk’s Twitter is all about removing non-violent right-wing speech from the public square. The Left’s message continues to be: your speech is violence—our violence is speech.
Because of their ideological commitments, the Times cannot accept that so-called “extremist” rhetoric will only stop when the Left’s extremist policies that fuel it stop.
By fixating on a few dangerous and violent lone wolves on the far-Right, they ignore the anti-white wolfpack of which they are among the leaders, one that is increasingly devouring the mainstream American Right before it turns its attentions to even more vulnerable prey.