Update: A group of racist academics, conservative pundits and anti-immigrant activists held their debut conference, dubbed "Preserving Western Civilization," (PWC) outside of Baltimore, Maryland, from February 6 – 8, 2009. Around 70 people attended the event, at which presenters railed at the alleged threat that multiculturalism poses to the United States and other Western countries.
Most speakers portrayed the immigration of non-whites, especially Muslims, as the chief threat, saying that "the menace they present hasn't been realized yet" and arguing that the United States should enact laws prohibiting Muslim immigration and outlawing the practice of Islam. Others sought to prove that an asserted biological intellectual inferiority of non-whites further threatened Western countries generally, and the United States in particular.
The stated aim of the conference was to defend "America's Judeo-Christian heritage and European identity." This theme set it apart from similar events that attract anti-Semites because they generally focus on European-American identity, not on the country's Judeo-Christian heritage.
The PWC conference modeled itself after the biennial conference held by American Renaissance (AR), a white supremacist publication. A number of the speakers at the PWC conference have also attended AR conferences, which often attract neo-Nazis and other racists and anti-Semites.
The following is some background on some of the speakers at the PWC conference:
Michael Hart, the organizer of the conference, is an astrophysicist and author of the racist book Understanding Human History, which focuses on alleged differences in intelligence between various ethnic and racial groups.
Hart engaged in a heated confrontation with David Duke, the former Klan leader and anti-Semite, during the 2006 American Renaissance conference, when Duke used a question and answer session to voice anti-Semitic views. Hart was apparently more comfortable with racism than with anti-Semitism. He set the tone the first day of this conference when he warned the audience that many people, especially academics, felt they could lose their jobs and be labeled "racists" if they spoke openly about the themes presented at the event.
Lawrence Auster, a writer who has contributed to The National Review, a mainstream conservative publication, as well as to American Renaissance, best summed up the conference's aim when he said on its final day that they had come to "discuss the fatal threats to our civilization [but] without the anti-Semitism." Auster, who made a number of anti-Muslim statements, argued that followers of sharia (Islamic law) should be deported from the United States, that Islam should lose First Amendment protection, and that the religion itself should be banned in the United States. He also suggested that the United States invade Saudi Arabia to protect the use of its oil fields from Muslim backlash.
J. Philippe Rushton, a Canadian professor of psychology, has for many years been one of the primary voices offering a racist view of intelligence, arguing that races differ biologically in intelligence. His work has sometimes appeared in mainstream scientific publications. Rushton's presentation, "The Heritability of World IQ Differences," was the same talk he gave at the 2008 American Renaissance conference. He asserted that there is increased support for the claim that whites have higher IQs because their ancestors lived in colder climates and that skin color is directly related to IQ, with darker skin meaning lower IQ. He also dredged up one of the oldest notions in racist pseudo-science, the claim that races differ in IQ based on brain size and that blacks have the smallest brains and therefore the lowest IQs.
Peter Brimelow, editor of VDare, a Web site that features the work of racists, anti-Semites, and anti-immigration ideologues, delivered one of the most extreme presentations at the conference. He argued that the influx of "non-traditional" immigration is a problem all over the Western world and that the loss of control over the country by "white Protestants" will mean a collapse of the American political system. He urged that whites respond by creating an explicitly white nationalist political party.
Steve Farron was formerly a professor of Classics at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is the author of the 2005 book, The Affirmative Action Hoax: Diversity, the Importance of Character, and Other Lies. In his presentation, he argued that affirmative action in the United States discriminates against whites in college admissions and in jobs. He also discussed a study that reportedly showed that whites are smarter than blacks even if they have less education and are from a lower economic class, and that affirmative action was "put into place" to address this alleged situation. Farron also claimed that another study had shown that an increase in black police officers increased the rate of property and violent crime in a community.
Roger McGrath, an academic who has taught at various universities and written a book on the nineteenth-century American west, focused on the alleged "downfall" of California due to the influx of non-white, particularly Latino, immigrants. Referring to the increasing Latino population and declining white population in California, McGrath declared, "The ethnic cleansing is almost complete."
Lino Graglia, a professor of law at the University of Texas in Austin, argued that the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to anyone born on American soil, is invalid because it was not properly ratified (a longstanding claim among many sections of the extreme right) and was not intended for its current use. He asserted that the law is improperly used to protect illegal aliens born in the United States.
Brenda Walker, a California-based anti-immigrant writer and activist notorious for demonizing Hispanic immigrants and culture, warned that Western civilization is allegedly under attack by "immigrants and multiculturalism." She argued that non-Western countries do not properly protect women's rights and that heightened immigration from these countries would lead to the curtailing of these rights in the United States. She stated, "We can have multiculturalism or women's rights and safety. Not both."
Julia Gorin is a contributing editor to Jewish World Review, a Web site, and a conservative comedian. She has contributed articles to a number of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The National Review, and The Huffington Post. Gorin delivered a comedy routine filled with anti-Muslim and anti-Obama jokes during the event's banquet dinner.
Washington Summit Publishers, a leading publisher of racist books, sold numerous racist tracts at the conference, including copies of American Renaissance. Louis Andrews manned the publishing company's table, as he did at the 2008 American Renaissance conference. Andrews is also a director of the National Policy Institute, a self-styled racist think tank.