Richard Hanania, Rising Right-Wing Star, Wrote For White Supremacist Sites Under Pseudonym

Hanania is championed by tech moguls and a U.S. senator, but HuffPost found he used a pen name to become an important figure in the “alt-right.”
Richard Hanania, now a prominent right-wing pundit, wrote articles under a pen name where he asserted that some races are inferior to others.
Richard Hanania, now a prominent right-wing pundit, wrote articles under a pen name where he asserted that some races are inferior to others.
Illustration: Jianan Liu/HuffPost Photo: Getty Images, Richard Hanania

A prominent conservative writer, lionized by Silicon Valley billionaires and a U.S. senator, used a pen name for years to write for white supremacist publications and was a formative voice during the rise of the racist “alt-right,” according to a new HuffPost investigation.

Richard Hanania, a visiting scholar at the University of Texas, used the pen name “Richard Hoste” in the early 2010s to write articles where he identified himself as a “race realist.” He expressed support for eugenics and the forced sterilization of “low IQ” people, who he argued were most often Black. He opposed “miscegenation” and “race-mixing.” And once, while arguing that Black people cannot govern themselves, he cited the neo-Nazi author of “The Turner Diaries,” the infamous novel that celebrates a future race war.

A decade later, writing under his real name, Hanania has ensconced himself in the national mainstream media, writing op-eds in the country’s biggest papers, bending the ears of some of the world’s wealthiest men and lecturing at prestigious universities, all while keeping his past white supremacist writings under wraps.

HuffPost connected Hanania to his “Richard Hoste” persona by analyzing leaked data from an online comment-hosting service that showed him using three of his email addresses to create usernames on white supremacist sites. A racist blog maintained by Hoste was also registered to an address in Hanania’s hometown. And HuffPost found biographical information shared by Hoste that aligned with Hanania’s own life.

Hanania did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story, made via phone, email and direct messages on social media. (On Sunday, two days after this story was published, he posted an essay to Substack confirming HuffPost’s reporting. “Recently, it’s been revealed that over a decade ago I held many beliefs that, as my current writing makes clear, I now find repulsive,” he wrote.)

The 37-year-old has been published by The New York Times and The Washington Post. He delivered a lecture to the Yale Federalist Society and was interviewed by the Harvard College Economics Review. He appeared twice on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Fox News’ former prime-time juggernaut. He was a recent guest on a podcast hosted by the chief writing officer of Substack, the $650 million publishing platform where Hanania has nearly 20,000 subscribers.

Hanania has his own podcast, too, interviewing the likes of Steven Pinker, the famous Harvard cognitive psychologist, and Marc Andreessen, the billionaire software engineer. Another billionaire, Elon Musk, reads Hanania’s articles and replies approvingly to his tweets. A third billionaire, Peter Thiel, provided a blurb to promote Hanania’s book, “The Origins of Woke,” which HarperCollins plans to publish this September. In October, Hanania is scheduled to deliver a lecture at Stanford.

Meanwhile, rich benefactors, some of whose identities are unknown, have funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into a think tank run by Hanania. The think tank doles out cash to conservative academics, and produces political studies that are cited across right-wing media.

Hanania’s rise into mainstream conservative and even more centrist circles did not necessarily occur because he abandoned some of the noxious arguments he made under the pseudonym “Richard Hoste.” Although he’s moderated his words to some extent, Hanania still makes explicitly racist statements under his real name. He maintains a creepy obsession with so-called race science, arguing that Black people are inherently more prone to violent crime than white people. He often writes in support of a well-known racist and a Holocaust denier. And he once said that if he owned Twitter — the platform that catapulted him to some celebrity — he wouldn’t let “feminists, trans activists or socialists” post there. “Why would I?” he asked. “They’re wrong about everything and bad for society.”

Richard Hanania’s story may hint at a concerning shift in mainstream American conservatism. A little over a decade ago, he felt compelled to hide his racist views behind a pseudonym. In 2023, Hanania is a right-wing star, championed by some of the country’s wealthiest men, even as he’s sounding more and more like his former white supremacist nom de plume: Richard Hoste.

Unmasking Richard Hoste

Starting in 2008, the byline “Richard Hoste” began to appear atop articles in America’s most vile publications. Hoste wrote for antisemitic outlets like The Occidental Observer, a site that once argued Jews are trying to exterminate white Americans. He wrote for Counter-Currents, which advocates for creating a whites-only ethnostate; Taki’s Magazine, a far-right hub for paleoconservatives; and VDare, a racist anti-immigrant blog.

In 2010, Hoste was among the first writers to be recruited for AlternativeRight.com, a new webzine spearheaded and edited by Richard Spencer, the white supremacist leader who later organized the deadly 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. (“Little fucking kikes,” Spencer reportedly told his followers at a party after that rally. “They get ruled by people like me. Little fucking octaroons. My ancestors fucking enslaved those little pieces of fucking shit.”)

White nationalist Richard Spencer (center) and his supporters clash with Virginia state police in Emancipation Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering, Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
White nationalist Richard Spencer (center) and his supporters clash with Virginia state police in Emancipation Park after the "Unite the Right" rally was declared an unlawful gathering, Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

Spencer bestowed Hoste with the honor of writing one of the introductory articles for the launch of AlternativeRight.com, which would become a main propaganda organ of the nascent “alt-right,” the online fascist movement that exploded into the public consciousness due to its ties to former President Donald Trump. (Spencer shuttered the site in 2013, and it was later relaunched under another name.)

“We’ve known for a while through neuroscience and cross-adoption studies... that individuals differ in their inherent capabilities. The races do, too, with whites and Asians on the top and blacks at the bottom,” Hoste wrote in the 2010 essay, titled “Why An Alternative Right Is Necessary.”

He lamented that Republicans hadn’t done enough to stop Democrats’ “march of diversity” despite “irrefutable evidence” that some races are “better than others.”

“If the races are equal,” Hoste wrote, “why do whites always end up near the top and blacks at the bottom, everywhere and always?”

AlternativeRight.com used a hosting service called Disqus to allow readers to leave comments on articles. Hoste had his own Disqus account, @RichardHoste, to interact with his readers.

In 2012, Disqus suffered a data breach, with hackers stealing the details of more than 17.5 million users. Hoste was one of those users. HuffPost has reviewed data showing that Hoste’s account used a unique password on Disqus that was also used to log into other Disqus accounts that commented on AlternativeRight.com.

This indicates Hoste was using so-called “sock puppet” accounts — hiding behind yet more fake names — to comment on the site. The comments from these accounts are written in a style similar to Hoste’s, and they are linked to email addresses belonging to Richard Hanania. The account @RA74 was set up using Hanania’s Gmail address, which Hanania has shared publicly before. The account @RAH2, which uses Hanania’s initials, was set up with Hanania’s email address at the University of Colorado, where he was a linguistics student. And the account @CJusD was attached to Hanania’s email address at the University of Chicago, where he studied law.

The connections between Hoste and Hanania don’t end there.

Hoste’s author biography at AlternativeRight.com stated that he was the founder and editor of a separate blog called HBD Books. “HBD” is a shortening of “human biodiversity,” which in white supremacist circles at the time was the preferred euphemism for race science.

Hoste sometimes wrote about his personal life on HBD Books, explaining that he dropped out of high school, got his GED and attended community college, and was eventually “accepted to a flagship state university” before getting into an “elite college” for post-graduate studies.

All of this biographical information aligns with Hanania’s own. He once mentioned on a podcast that he dropped out of high school and received a GED. A 2004 article from a newspaper in Oak Lawn, Illinois, notes Hanania as being on the dean’s list at Moraine Valley Community College. And a copy of Hanania’s resume shows that he attended a state university, the University of Colorado, before going to another school, UCLA, for post-graduate work.

Moreover, the HBD Books website — where “Hoste” left all of these clues about his real, offline identity — was registered to an address in Oak Lawn, the same Chicago suburb, with a population of about 57,000 people, where Hanania grew up and where his parents still live.

Other points of overlap between Hoste and Hanania’s lives can be found online ― like when Hoste wrote about one of his first jobs.

“What is interesting to me is whether there are a lot of high IQ people who simply CAN’T do manual labor,” Hoste wrote in the comment section of a 2009 blog. “As a teenager I tried working at a pizza place and MacDonalds [sic]. I was the worst employee there. I actually felt sympathy for low IQ kids, knowing that this is what they must’ve felt like in school. Blacks and Mexicans shook their heads at me. It was really traumatic...”

Twelve years later, in 2021, Hanania also wrote about angering his co-workers as a hapless teen fast-food worker. “I worked at McDonalds, TGIFriday, other restaurants because I had nothing better to do as a teenager and young adult,” he tweeted. “I was really bad at it, my coworkers hated me because I screwed up the entire supply line.”

In a 2021 tweet, Hanania wrote about being "really bad" at his McDonald's job as a teen. "Richard Hoste," the pseudonymous author of HBD Books, also wrote about being a bad McDonald's employee in 2009.
In a 2021 tweet, Hanania wrote about being "really bad" at his McDonald's job as a teen. "Richard Hoste," the pseudonymous author of HBD Books, also wrote about being a bad McDonald's employee in 2009.
Screenshot via Twitter

And in 2012, a sock puppet account registered to Hanania’s email address — which shared the same unique password as the @RichardHoste account on Disqus — posted about weight in the comment section of a racist blog: “I was fat since I was a little kid. In high school, I lost the weight and have yo-yoed back and forth a few times since.”

Hanania recounted a similar personal story, in an article on his Substack, nine years later in 2021. “I was always fat growing up,” he wrote, “and reached about 210 as a teen, before a rapid drop to around 160 when I was around 17 (thanks ‘bullying,’ which kids aren’t allowed to do anymore apparently). I’ve been yo-yoing between 160 and 210 my entire adult life...”

The Eugenicist Blogger

Hoste sometimes expressed disgust with fat women. “If a woman lets herself be fat, she’s refusing to put the bear [sic] minimum effort into life necessary to experience love, respect, and esteem,” he wrote in the comments section of a 2012 blog. “Or maybe she’s accepted feminism and convinced herself that it doesn’t really matter.”

He added: “Fat people not only are disgusting to look at; their obesity reflects some ugly personality traits.”

This type of rank misogyny and fat-shaming was common in the online circles Hoste frequented at the time. One of his email addresses, according to data HuffPost reviewed from another data breach, was connected to an account on AutoAdmit, also known as XOXOhth ― a largely unmoderated message board, purportedly for lawyers and law students, that’s infamous for its anonymous users’ hatred of women.

In 2009, Hoste published a blog on HBD Books where he argued that “large-scale female involvement in politics” is a “bad thing.”

“Women simply didn’t evolve to be the decision makers in society,” he wrote, adding that “women’s liberation = the end of human civilization.”

That same year, Hoste wrote an article called “White Goddess,” first published at The Occidental Observer and later reposted by Taki’s, about a woman he deemed worthy for public office: Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican nominee for vice president.

“It has been suggested that Sarah Palin is a sort of Rorschach test for Americans,” Hoste wrote. “The attractive, religious and fertile White woman drove the ugly, secular and barren White self-hating and Jewish elite absolutely mad well before there were any questions about her qualifications.”

Hoste said he would be “rooting for Palin” in the 2012 election, “just so I can watch liberals’ heads explode after the goddess of implicit Whiteness beats” then-President Barack Obama. “If it’s going to be a long time until a White awakening,” he wrote, “we may as well be entertained while we wait.”

According to Hoste’s collected writings at the time, it appears that by a “white awakening,” he was referring to a realization by whites en masse that they are superior to non-whites, and that they’d be better off abandoning multiracial democracy for something resembling a whites-only ethnostate.

Hoste’s arguments for a whiter America and Europe most often relied on the false claim that white people possess a superior intelligence. “While an increasing Muslim underclass might not inspire as much bad art, the IQ and genetic differences between them and native Europeans are real, and assimilation is impossible,” he wrote in a 2009 piece for The Occidental Observer.

Hispanic people, he wrote in a 2010 article in Counter-Currents, “don’t have the requisite IQ to be a productive part of a first world nation.” He then made an argument for ethnic cleansing, writing that “the ultimate goal should be to get all the post-1965 non-White migrants from Latin America to leave.”

“If we want to defend our liberty and property, a low-IQ group of a different race sharing the same land is a permanent antagonist,” he wrote.

“Women’s liberation = the end of human civilization.”

- Richard Hoste, in a 2009 blog post

The bulk of Hoste’s bigotry, however, was directed at Black people. He lamented what he saw as the growing preponderance of “miscegenation,” or white and Black people dating each other. “For the white gene pool to be created millions had to die,” Hoste wrote once. “Race mixing is like destroying a unique species or piece of art. It’s shameful.”

For Hoste, white people were “naturally smarter and less criminal” than Black people; white women’s “fear of black men” was “very far from irrational”; whites had better “modes of moral reasoning”; and Black people had “low intelligence and impulse control.”

In 2009, Hoste live-blogged his reactions to a CNN docuseries called “Black in America 2,” which the network billed as an “investigation of the most challenging issues facing African-Americans.”

During a segment of the docuseries about Black American kids visiting South Africa, Hoste wrote: “If they had decency, blacks would thank the white race for everything that they have.”

Hoste also commented on the attractiveness of the host of the series, a renowned broadcast journalist who has mixed-race heritage. “Soledad O’Brien has a skin tone and hair that most other blacks would kill for,” he wrote. “I think I understand why mulattos associate with their black side. For a ‘black’ chick, she’s a 10, for a white chick, a 7.”

And when CNN showed footage of a Black teenager crying because she failed some classes at school, Hoste wrote: “Telling a race with an IQ of 85 that they can do whatever they set their mind to is cruel.”

When Hoste wrote about race science, claiming again and again that Black people are inherently less intelligent than white people, he often openly embraced eugenics as the solution, including coerced or forced sterilization.

“There doesn’t seem to be a way to deal with low IQ breeding that doesn’t include coercion,” he wrote in a 2010 article for AlternativeRight.com. “Perhaps charities could be formed which paid those in the 70-85 range to be sterilized, but what to do with those below 70 who legally can’t even give consent and have a higher birthrate than the general population? In the same way we lock up criminals and the mentally ill in the interests of society at large, one could argue that we could on the exact same principle sterilize those who are bound to harm future generations through giving birth.”

In a 2011 article on Counter-Currents titled “Answering Objections to Eugenics,” Hoste laid out a plan for sterilizing people with IQ scores of less than 90. From the article:

It would be hard to abuse a law that forcibly sterilized everybody with an IQ under 90 provided that the person scored that low on an objective test blindly graded. Somebody who wants to argue that he had a bad day would have the right to an appeal, which would consist of another IQ test.

If a libertarian wants to propose that even somebody with an IQ of 90 has rights, they would have to oppose government having the power to lock people up in mental institutions. We already let the state decide that some people aren’t fit to participate in society even if they’ve yet to do anything wrong. This is a system open to abuse, but still a necessary evil. Letting the unintelligent breed is as surely damaging to society as letting schizophrenics run loose.

Hoste’s racism was also evinced by the writers he chose to cite. In a 2010 article on AlternativeRight.com, Hoste described learning about a December 1997 speech by William Pierce called “The Lesson of Haiti.”

Hoste linked to a transcript of Pierce’s speech, without acknowledging who Pierce was: the leader and founder of the National Alliance, a violent neo-Nazi group, and the author of a novel called “The Turner Diaries,” a murderous race war fantasy that has inspired multiple white supremacist terrorists, including Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

In this 2000 photo, William Pierce stands at a lectern with the symbol for the National Alliance, the neo-Nazi group he founded.
In this 2000 photo, William Pierce stands at a lectern with the symbol for the National Alliance, the neo-Nazi group he founded.
MICHAEL WILLIAMSON/THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES

Hoste’s article on AlternativeRight.com was basically a recapitulation of Pierce’s speech about Haiti, recounting how a British explorer in the early 20th century traversed the country to answer the question, “Can the Negro rule himself?” The explorer had come to the racist conclusion that no, Black people cannot govern themselves ― a conclusion that delighted Pierce in 1997 and seemingly energized Hoste in 2010.

“The biggest enemies of the Black Man are not Klansmen or multinational corporations, but the liberals who have prevented an honest appraisal of his abilities and filled his head with myths about equality and national autarky,” Hoste wrote.

Goodbye, Richard Hoste; Hello, Richard Hanania

Hanania’s journey to conservative prominence started sometime in the mid-2010s after he appeared to abandon his double life as “Richard Hoste” and started writing under his real name. At this time, he was winding his way through academia, according to a copy of his resume ― earning a J.D. at the University of Chicago Law School in 2013 and a Ph.D. in political science at UCLA in 2018, and then landing a postdoctoral research fellowship at Columbia University’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies.

In 2015 — five years after he’d used the Hoste pseudonym to argue that Black people can’t govern themselves, and four years after he laid out his plan to sterilize people with IQs of less than 90 — Hanania published an op-ed in The Washington Post with the headline: “Donald Trump never apologizes for his controversial remarks. Here’s why he shouldn’t.”

The article was based on research Hanania conducted as a Ph.D. student, which found that voters responded positively to public figures who didn’t show contrition after making racist or sexist remarks. (The piece referenced, in part, Trump’s refusal to back down from his bigoted remarks about Latino people.)

In the summer of 2020, Hanania started to build a readership for his libertarian political writing. Among his readers was Hamish McKenzie, the co-founder and chief writing officer of Substack. “The pandemic happened and huge numbers of people became addicted to social media and [Hanania] emerged from his cocoon in academia to start pushing some hot cultural buttons,” McKenzie recounted recently in an episode of his podcast, “The Active Voice.”

One of Hanania’s first viral pieces on Substack — a 2021 article titled “Why Is Everything Liberal?” — was cited by columnists at The Washington Post and The New York Times. It also led to his first invitation to appear on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” America’s most-watched cable news show at the time.

The Washington Post declined to comment this week on Hanania’s past appearances in the paper. A New York Times spokesperson said that “Hanania didn’t inform our editors or anyone at The Times, nor were we aware” of any writing he’d done under a pseudonym before the paper published one of his essays. Fox News didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance declares victory at his 2022 midterm election night party in Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 8, 2022.
Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance declares victory at his 2022 midterm election night party in Columbus, Ohio, Nov. 8, 2022.
GAELEN MORSE via Reuters

A short time later, J.D. Vance — then a GOP candidate for U.S. Senate — called Hanania a “friend” and a “really interesting thinker” during an interview with right-wing YouTuber Dave Rubin. Vance, now a U.S. senator representing Ohio, didn’t respond to a request for comment about his relationship with Hanania.

Hanania’s star continued to rise as he found a receptive audience for his tirades against the supposed evils of “wokeness” and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Editors at right-wing and mainstream media outlets published his work, including at Newsweek, where he whinged about America’s history of anti-racist protests, lamenting how academia refers to the 1993 “Rodney King riots as an ‘uprising,’ as if it was an honorable struggle for freedom rather than a criminal rampage.” (Newsweek did not respond to a request for comment for this story.)

At the right-wing site Quillette, Hanania wrote about how Twitter supposedly discriminates against conservatives; at the National Review, the prestigious conservative magazine, Hanania wrote about how “culture, not economics, decides most voters’ choices.” At The Wall Street Journal, he argued that anti-Trump bias in media and academia was infecting the social sciences. (Quillette and the National Review did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. The Wall Street Journal declined to comment.)

Elsewhere — including at the publications Task & Purpose, Reason, Palladium Magazine and The American Conservative — Hanania wrote about foreign policy, with a special focus on Afghanistan and China.

Hanania was making a name for himself. By 2022, he was selected as a visiting scholar at the Salem Center at the University of Texas at Austin. The center — funded through right-wing donors including billionaire Harlan Crow — is led by executive director Carlos Carvalho. “I have no comment,” Carvalho told HuffPost when asked about Hanania.

Hanania was also tapped to be a lecturer for the “Forbidden Courses” program at the University of Austin, the unaccredited school funded by venture capitalists and founded by former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss, now a prominent right-wing influencer herself. The university did not respond to a request for comment about Hanania.

Earlier this year, Hanania spoke to the Yale Federalist Society, the school’s chapter of the conservative legal organization, about what the government has done to “discriminate against whites and men.” The chapter did not respond when asked for comment.

And this October, Hanania is scheduled to teach a seminar at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. The school did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Meanwhile, Hanania has continued to publish Substack articles that share the same obsessions as his former white supremacist pen name, Richard Hoste — IQ scores, eugenics, the need for fat-shaming — even if he writes about these subjects in a more moderate tone. An annual subscription to Hanania’s Substack costs $70, though free subscriptions are also available. It’s unclear how many of his subscribers are paying. Substack did not respond to multiple requests for comment about Hanania and how much money he’s making through the platform.

Hanania — just like Richard Hoste did — often writes warmly about Steve Sailer, a blogger for the white supremacist site VDare. (Sailer once wrote that Black people “tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups” and “need stricter moral guidance from society.”)

“Steve is one of the most agreeable people you’ll meet,” Hanania tweeted recently.

“What’s clear is that a coterie of powerful tech billionaires and millionaires are invested in Hanania.”

During his appearance on “The Active Voice,” Hanania recommended that McKenzie, the Substack CWO and co-founder, read Sailer and Emil Kirkegaard, a far-right Danish activist who has called homosexuality a “mental illness.” (McKenzie, who didn’t push back on Hanania’s recommendations, did not respond to a request for comment for this story.)

On other occasions, Hanania has cited the work of Ron Unz, the Silicon Valley millionaire and Holocaust denier who runs the far-right Unz Review, a site that publishes the work of neo-Nazis. (A “Richard Hoste” was a frequent commenter on The Unz Review in the early 2010s.)

On his podcast, Hanania recently had a friendly conversation with Amy Wax, the University of Pennsylvania professor facing disciplinary proceedings for, among other alleged offenses, inviting a white supremacist to speak to her class and making racist remarks such as that “our country will be better off with more whites and fewer minorities.”

He also recently had an hourlong interview with Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist and close ally of presidential candidate Ron DeSantis who is widely regarded as the architect of the moral panic about “critical race theory” being taught in schools. “We need to eliminate affirmative action in all of our institutions,” Rufo told Hanania.

And in May, Hanania tweeted a link to a Substack article he’d written about one of his favorite subjects: “the reality of Black crime,” or as Hanania alternately put it, “the pathologies of the inner city.”

“I don’t have much hope that we’ll solve crime in any meaningful way,” Hanania tweeted while promoting the article. “It would require a revolution in our culture or form of government. We need more policing, incarceration, and surveillance of black people. Blacks won’t appreciate it, whites don’t have the stomach for it.”

A short time later, the world’s richest man, and the owner of Twitter (since rebranded as “X”), replied to Hanania’s tweet. “Interesting,” Elon Musk wrote.

Who’s Funding Richard Hanania?

In 2020, before Richard Hanania was very well-known, he became president of a new, obscure think tank called the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology. The only two other members of this think tank were also right-wing academics: George Hawley of the University of Alabama, and Eric Kaufmann of the Manhattan Institute. (Hawley and Kaufmann did not respond to HuffPost’s requests for comment.)

The journalist Jonathan Katz, on his Substack page The Racket, did a series of recent investigations into Hanania and CSPI ― finding that the organization, which describes itself as “interested in funding scholars studying woke attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors,” took in over $200,000 in donations in 2020, its first year registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

The next year, in 2021, CSPI received over $1 million in donations. Some of that money went to conservative grad students and Ph.D. candidates across the country, with grantees receiving anywhere from $1,000 to $45,000.

But it was Hanania who pocketed the most, with $137,500. He did even better the next year, taking home $160,000. Along the way, CSPI’s mailing address changed — just as Hanania’s did, according to public records — from the San Gabriel Valley in Los Angeles to Sierra Madre, California, indicating he’s running the think tank out of his home.

Here’s how Katz described the way CSPI has functioned:

In addition to being a laundering service for handing out money to reactionary academics, it is a paper mill for “studies” that back up reactionary talking points, to be spun into articles and opinion pieces with headlines such as “Social trends causing rapid growth in people identifying as LGBT, report says” (from the ideological astroturfing Sinclair Broadcast Group), “The Lockdowns Weren’t Worth It” (WSJ) and “The new class war is over identity” (Washington Examiner) — the latter being an anti-LGBTQ screed that ended, “My name is Dominic. I’m a trans woman, and my pronouns are me, me, me.”

But who would be interested in funding such a project? Especially one that has provided a nice yearly salary to Hanania, who, at least in 2020, was still a relatively unknown libertarian blogger?

Katz found a couple of answers. $200,000 came from the Conru Foundation, run by millionaire Andrew Conru, who created AdultFriendFinder.com, the matchmaking and hookup site, before he sold it for $500 million in 2007. (Conru didn’t respond to a request for comment about his donation to Hanania’s think tank.) Another $50,000 in donations came from the Mercatus Center, a think tank at George Mason University funded by the right-wing billionaire Koch brothers and run by the libertarian economist Tyler Cowen, whom Hanania has interviewed on the CSPI podcast. (The Mercatus Center also did not respond to a request for comment.)

But then the paper trail runs dry. Katz found that nearly a million dollars in donations to CSPI are from a dark-money donor, or donors, whose identities are unknown.

What’s clear, however, is that a coterie of powerful tech billionaires and millionaires — people with the kind of resources to fund something like CSPI — are invested in Hanania, maybe seeing him as a potential new éminence grise, an intellectual who can articulate and promote their specific blend of techno-utopian, anti-democratic politics.

Marc Andreessen — the powerful Silicon Valley venture capitalist and billionaire, and a buddy of Elon Musk — has appeared on CSPI’s podcast, hosted by Hanania, three times. He talked to Hanania for two hours in 2021, and last year sat down with Hanania twice to discuss their “Nietzschean” interpretations of the TV shows “Breaking Bad” and “The Shield.” (In the episode description for the interview about “The Shield,” a police show, Hanania argued that it’s “white cops” maintaining order in America, while Black cops are corrupt and tied to “gangbangers.”)

Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm where Andreessen is a general partner, did not respond to a request for comment about his relationship with Hanania.

Meanwhile, a number of billionaires and millionaires have supplied blurbs to promote Hanania’s book “The Origins of Woke,” which HarperCollins is set to publish in September. (The publishing company did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

Tech mogul David Sacks gushed that Hanania’s book “offers conservatives a playbook for fighting woke ideology in the fields of law and politics, where they can actually defeat it.”

Peter Thiel, the right-wing venture capitalist and billionaire, expressed excitement over the book’s takedown of diversity, equity and inclusion programs. “DEI will never d-i-e from words alone,” Thiel wrote. “Hanania shows we need the sticks and stones of government violence to exorcize the diversity demon.”

And Vivek Ramaswamy, the GOP presidential candidate with a net worth over $600 million — a fortune derived, in part, from his work in biotech — wrote that Hanania is “unafraid to transcend the Overton Window on issues of race and gender,” and that his book “delivers a devastating kill shot to the intellectual foundations of identity politics in America.”

HuffPost reached out to Thiel, Sacks and Ramaswamy for comment and received no reply.

Entrepreneur Peter Thiel speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 21, 2016.
Entrepreneur Peter Thiel speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 21, 2016.
J. Scott Applewhite via Associated Press

Hanania mentioned all of these men in a June Substack post while describing what he celebrated as the “Tech Right,” a new Silicon Valley-based conservative movement that, among other beliefs, embraces transhumanism and “longtermism.”

The cult of “longtermism” has swept through Silicon Valley in recent years, with Musk and Thiel among its most well-known acolytes. It’s a worldview that often prioritizes the health of future generations of humans — even ones millions of years hence — over people currently living in the here and now, suffering and getting by on planet Earth. (Musk’s goal to colonize Mars, for example, is a longtermist project.)

Its adherents are often obsessed with IQ scores and scientific racism, and the famous computer scientist Timnit Gebru has criticized longtermism as “eugenics under a different name.”

The scholar Émile Torres has also noted that longtermism’s “transhumanist vision of creating a superior new race of ‘posthumans’ is eugenics on steroids,” a recapitulation of 20th-century beliefs that ushered in “a wide range of illiberal policies, including restrictions on immigration, anti-miscegenation laws and forced sterilizations.”

It’s maybe unsurprising, then, that Hanania has emerged as a scribe for this new “Tech Right.” After all, he had years of practice writing about eugenics as Richard Hoste, advocating for precisely those types of policies.

The maintenance of the quality of the population requires not just a stable population at all levels but the active weeding out of the unfit,” Hoste wrote in 2011 for Counter-Currents, the white supremacist site.

“There is no rational reason,” he wrote, “why eugenics can’t capture the hearts and minds of policy makers the way it did 100 years ago.”

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story mistakenly described Hamish McKenzie as the CEO of Substack. He is Substack’s chief writing officer and co-founder.

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