Three Cheers for the H.L. Mencken Club

Benjamin Villaroel, American Renaissance, September 19, 2014

The H.L. Mencken Club (HLMC), which has established itself as a haven for serious dissent from the Right, will be holding its seventh annual meeting in Baltimore, from October 31 to November 2.

In his opening address at the H.L. Mencken Club’s first gathering, Paul Gottfried outlined the purpose of the group:

If the H.L. Mencken Club can achieve that for which it has been formed, it should have an eventful and–for those who disagree with us–profoundly disruptive future. We are part of an attempt to put together an independent intellectual Right, one that exists without movement establishment funding and one that our opponents would be delighted not to have to deal with. Our group is also full of young thinkers and activists, and if there is to be an independent Right, our group will have to become its leaders.

And, indeed, there is much to be said of the HLMC’s impact on the unauthorized right since its inception in 2008. For example, the number of people associated with the club who have been purged from the ranks of the Respectable Right is an honor roll of real conservatism–and a sign they are doing something right:

The list above is hardly comprehensive (see also: William Regnery, Jack Hunter, Peter Brimelow, etc.), but it shows the stubborn fearlessness of the HLMC. And for those of us inclined to believe that a genuine counter-establishment will rise from the castaways of today’s cognitive/managerial elite, the HLMC appears as a kind of vanguard.

This “vanguard” is not the product of wishful thinking. Richard Spencer, the perennial master of ceremonies, has gone far since he helped put together the first gathering in 2008. At the time he was the managing editor of Takimag, a delightfully reactionary site, but soon moved on to found his own, more radical, site, Alternative Right. Today, he runs Radix Journal and is president of the National Policy Institute.

F. Roger Devlin is another luminary who has attended every HLMC gathering–and gave a spectacular speech at the 2011 gathering. Dr. Devlin is perhaps best role model there is for independent scholars on the right. His writings can be found on nearly every website the mainstream fears: American Renaissance, Counter-Currents, The Occidental Quarterly, and Vdare, among others. His regular writings over the last several years have influenced more than one member of the rising, “Dark Enlightenment.”

The HLMC has also served as a platform for promoters of Human Biodiversity, and not only its more prominent bloggers like Steve Sailer and John Derbyshire, but also their more academic counterparts, such as Byron Roth, Michael Hart, and Henry Harpending. While the Establishment Right’s interest in science consists almost solely in denying climate change, the HLMC considers areas of study that will become steadily more important given current demographic trends: IQ, evolution, and behavior genetics.

Remembering Prof. Gottfried’s remarks of six years ago, although there is still a strong, yet tepid, conservative establishment, the HLMC calmly smashes its PC strictures. As I sat in the audience last year, I thought perhaps the conference could be summarized with one line from Milton’s Paradise Lost. When the fallen angels have been sent to Hell after losing their power struggle in Heaven, they debate their next move. Moloch calls for a renewed rebellion, “Which if not Victory is yet Revenge.”

Registration is now open for what is sure to be a first-rate conference.

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