Richard Spencer, who leads a movement that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism, raises his fist as he speaks Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M officials say they didn't schedule the speech by Spencer, who was invited to speak by a former student who reserved campus space available to the public. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
According to Reason’s Robby Soave, white nationalist and alt-right leader Richard Spencer attempted to crash a Libertarian gathering in Washington D.C., but after a heated argument with one of its famous attendees, Spencer was escorted out.
The incident happened Saturday night during 10th annual International Students for Liberty Conference at the the Marriott Wardman in Woodley Park where the event was being held. Spencer reportedly attempted to host an “unscheduled and unwanted conversation” at the bar of the hotel regarding his pro-white nationalist views with attendees.
According to economist and author Steve Horowitz, the group “Hoppe Caucus” — a group of “alt-right libertarians” named after philosopher Hans-Hermann Hoppe — intended to bring Spencer to the hotel at the same time as the ISL conference as an intentional troll, even including a sign that said “Richard Spencer ISFLC 17.”
Soave gives more details of Spencer’s time at the hotel, and his inevitable departure.
Eventually, Jeffrey Tucker—an influential libertarian thinker—confronted Spencer and made clear to the alt-right provocateur that he “did not belong” at ISFLC. Some shouting ensued, and hotel staff intervened. Shortly thereafter, Spencer left.
It’s not completely clear whether Spencer departed of his own accord: he seems to think he was forced to leave, while others say he asked security to see him out safely, even though he was in no danger. But it hardly matters: the Marriott Wardman hotel is private property, and should enjoy the absolute right to evict irksome and unwelcome guests from its premises.
Horowitz says that when conference attendees heard Spencer was at the bar, and number went to confront him. At first there was an attempt at rational discussion, but as the crowd grew in size, and the shouting match between Spencer and Tucker grew heated, the hotel staff saw fit to kick everyone out of the bar. Spencer reportedly asked to be escorted out for his own safety, though Horowitz denies that Spencer was ever in any danger.
You can watch video of the exchange between Spencer and Tucker below:
One common theme many of the Libertarians discussing this incident share is that Spencer, and the alt-right are not welcome amongst the Libertarians. As the Libertarians of SFL demonstrated, and Soave writes into words, “the incident should make abundantly clear that the alt-right’s racism is incompatible with the principles of a free society. Libertarianism is an individualist philosophy that considers all people deserving of equal rights. In contrast, Spencer is a tribalist and collectivist whose personal commitment to identity politics vastly exceeds the left’s.”
As well, the SFL President Wolf von Laer said in a statement that his organization did not invite Spencer, and that they “reject his hateful message and we wholeheartedly oppose his obsolete ideology.”