Roaming Millennial a right leaning Youtuber decided to conduct an interview with Alt-Right icon and spokesperson Richard Spencer which of course was met with resounding criticisms. These criticisms range from those appalled that Spencer was granted an interview at all to those upset that Roaming Millennial didn’t press Spencer more by combating his points during the interview. I hope to address some of these issues and in turn to show why I think the interview was perfectly reasonable and the outrage is unwarranted.
Firstly on the issue of Spencer being granted an interview that just seems a bit ridiculous being that Spencer is a nationally recognized figure in the media who has been on countless other programs and interviews. Why then is it an issue when Roaming does it but not CNN? I seem to be missing the problem there. Some say that by giving Spencer a platform we are essentially normalizing his ideas. I fear this to be greatly misguided thinking. By denying his ideas sunlight we would be doing a far greater service not only to him but his movement by allowing it to grow outside the public square of ideas. This is far more dangerous than the possibility of Spencer saying a disagreeable policy idea.
Additionally on the issue of the interview itself there seems to be this weird notion that an interviewer ought to be pointed and cutting with the questions almost in a combative manner. Unfortunately what people appear to desire is more of a debate than an actual interview. The true purpose of an interviewer is to make the interviewee comfortable to the point where they are able to respond and freely communicate their ideas with little coercion. The interviewer is meant then develop those ideas in a manner that can be better understood by the reader or viewer. The interviewer is not meant to be combative by lecturing the source, arguing or debating . Moreover it makes zero sense to create a hostile situation when the goal is to create a comfortable environment and thus allow for defenses to be bypassed. It seems rather foolish to have different principles for different people. If the interviewee was somebody other than Richard Spencer I would wager that nobody would have thrown the fuss on display about the manner of the interview.
I also see some individuals upset that Roaming didn’t refer to Spencer as a Nazi. Yes its possible that Spencer shys away from the term due to the negative historical connotations. However I don’t understand why people are so quick to use such terminology to refer to people who are clearly not Nazis. Nazis have a historical legacy which isn’t good so why would these individuals want to empower the movement by associating this new ethno nationalist element with historical Nazis? What is to be gained by doing so? I simply don’t see what is to be gained especially since the term Nazi is being diluted in American political discourse already by progressives.
Finally there were some who became indignant due to Roaming referring to the hypothetical policy proposals of the ideal Alt-Right candidate being similar to center Left. This sort of indignation is to be expected from people who simply throw political terminology around without the requisite knowledge of what the terms are. Anybody with a basic understanding of political science ought to know that the far right/ethno nationalists/Nazis are essentially progressives but instead of caring about POC justice they care about white justice. Their policies are essentially the same on the environment, healthcare, infrastructure, etc. They differ on things such as societal make up and immigration policies. They are fundamentally different sides of the same coin. Perhaps that indignation comes because the left can’t simply dismiss them due to having similar policy positions. To me this seems likely. But even more likely it is due to the inability of the left to combat these ideas in an intellectual manner. The left is so used to simply stating that the debate is over on issues it has forgotten the ability to debate. If you disagree with Spencer then state why he is wrong. I personally have already done so in an older post on the subject of ethno nationalists and am happy to debate ones I encounter and show why I believe their ideology is wrong.