Michael Malice, author of The New Right: A Journey to the Fringe of American Politics and host of the Your Welcome show, reflected on Andrew Breitbart’s “revelation” on the shaping of politics in a Friday interview on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.
The “new right,” said Malice, had internalized Breitbart’s lesson by entering and competing within the political battlespaces of culture.
“The difference between the new right and traditional conservatives — and I think this is somewhat changing — is it’s less of a focus on, ‘Let’s go to Washington’ — and this is Andrew Breitbart’s revelation — if you’re getting to Washington and you’re arguing with them in Washington, by the time you’re there, you’ve lost the battle, because they’re at the universities, they’re in the media, and again.”
“Washington is the consequence” of American culture, determined Malice, with “traditional conservatives” engaged in defensive “rearguard action.”
Affecting political change requires a “focus” on culture, assessed Malice, describing culture as “upstream” from politics.
“This is the precise message that Andrew had that resonated with me, and I was Andrew’s first employee,” said Marlow. “This was it. He gave a speech, and I was a college student, and he talked about the culture being upstream from politics. Everyone on the right now thinks that. I think everyone’s coached up.”
Marlow recalled Breitbart’s advice to conservatives and others on the right: [Andrew Breitbart] specifically said, ‘Don’t go to your statehouse if you have these values. Go into Hollywood. Go into the professoriat. Go into the media. Fight back on these playing fields that the left dominates.”
Malice described his latest book as an examination of the origins of “new ideas” and the left’s domination of news media and academia.
“It’s a book about ideas and how ideas develop, and how ideas permeate through the culture,” remarked Malice. “I think it’s a book for people on the right [explaining] how you get to the point where the left gets to dictate who you listen to and what kind of questions you can ask. Conservatives have an understanding that somehow — and it’s vague — the left has this kind of control of the microphone. When you ask conservatives, ‘How did we get to this point?’ they don’t really have a good answer, and that’s not even a criticism of conservatives. … The idea with conservatives usually is, ‘Well, things used to be good at some point in the past, and then the left took it over; Hollywood or television or colleges, and now they’re running the show,’ and what I go through in this book is, that’s not accurate. They’ve been running the show for a very long time.”
Malice echoed Dennis Prager’s maxim of preferring clarity to agreement: “I’m in favor of division, because I don’t think there’s any talking to these people. It’s got to be division or destruction, because they want you dead, as Kurt Schlichter often says.”
President Donald Trump has made political inroads for the right, assessed Malice, by not acquiescing to reflexive left-wing accusations of “racism.”
Malice stated, “Having them set the rules of debate, you’re automatically losing. So that is a big new right epiphany, and here’s how Trump has moved that needle. It used to be, for a very long time, that a very good technique that the left would use is calling something racist. Everyone, I think most rational people,hink being racist is a very bad thing.”
“It’s a technique about power in many cases,” added Malice. “One of the things that Trump did, ‘You’re a racist,’ he’s called, ‘You’re racist. You’re racist. You’re racist,’ and he’s like, ‘No, and shut up.’ And now it has to be escalated, because that’s not effective, to ‘white nationalist.’ You can see on Twitter the number of mentions of ‘white privilege’ and ‘white nationalism’ at places like the New York Times have exponentially increased in the last few years. This is not a coincidence, because this is the new mantra.”
Malice described National Review founder William F. Buckley as a self-appointed arbiter of American conservatism who had purged “awesome and courageous intellectuals” like Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard.
“William F. Buckley is one of the big villains of this book, because he spent his entire career expelling people from ‘proper conservatism’ and driving them into the wilderness, doing the left’s work for them,” assessed Malice. “This would make sense if it got you some victories. It’s absolutely appropriate to no longer want to associate with certain people because you think they’re bad actors individually or that their ideas are toxic. This is a line any movement [or] scene has to draw. The question is: What did it gain you?”
Malice went on, “Every idea that National Review-types argue for today was a progressive idea 20 years ago. Conservatism is just progressivism driving the speed limit for them. During the 1950s, they were against civil rights in the South. Buckley said it was appropriate that whites run the South because black people — these are his words — were ‘comparatively retarded.’ And then National Review [goes],’ Oh! It was a mistake. We’ve always been for civil rights. Oops.’ So what principle has changed in between?”
“You also see that same mindset today where they talk about Trump voters — we don’t want them to have influence — because they’re comparatively retarded. This is their approach to this day. Same thing. … What are you conserving? Many of these people were awesome courageous intellectuals, people like Ayn Rand [and] Murray Rothbard.”
Breitbart News Daily broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.