John Klar, erstwhile gubernatorial candidate and self-described leader of the short-lived Agripublican movement, has been a busy beaver. He regularly contributes opinion pieces to little-read far-right outlets such as True North Reports and The American Thinker. They’re not worth reading, but they do merit the occasional bit of scrutiny.
After all, this is a guy who got 12,762 votes for governor in 2020. He got walloped by Phil Scott, but that’s still 21% of the Republican electorate who either agree with Klar or hate Scott so much they’d prefer an unknown alternative.
Last week, Klar posted two pieces on consecutive days, each are on the same subject: the evils of the Black Lives Matter/antiracism movement and its essentially alien nature. The pieces include notable displays of Vermont nativism, unsubtle racism and white victimhood. (Maye he should move to Stratton.)
First, his February 19 TNR piece (click through at your own risk) entitled “Vermont Liberals Gaslight…Themselves?” Let’s run down the highlights, shall we?
Klar begins with a reference to “Vermont’s headlong rush to defeat ‘systemic racism,” presumably in quotes because he doesn’t believe in systemic racism. He then, without evidence, claims that Vermont “led America in displaying BLM flags at schools.” The reference he cites is one of his own 2019 columns, in which he did not try to rank the states in prevalence of the BLM banner.
And then we get to his assertion that the “victimized citizens” in this sphere are white Vermonters. I’m sorry, what? They have to look at a few banners, but none of them get killed in acts of police violence.
Klar proceeds to slander political figures including “the vitriolic [Montpelier City] Councilor Conor Casey” and “Vermont’s RINO Governor” Phil Scott. He accuses those seeking racial justice as “gaslighters” bent on suppressing white conservatives.
He throws in a quote from an “expert” named Douglas Murray. In case you don’t know the fellow, he’s a right-wing “intellectual” from Great Britain. Think of him as the home country’s Ben Shapiro equivalent. The quote is from Murray’s The Madness of Crowds, which diagnoses ALL the madness as occurring on the left. He doesn’t mention the growing nativist/nationalist movements all over the globe; his focus is on gay, gender, trans and antiracism activism. The real enemies of, you know, people like Murray and Klar.
Klar’s February 20 piece, “The BIPOC Crusade Hits Vermont,” was the real winner, though. He begins by again painting white folks as the real victims. He points out the audacity of POC activists in Burlington for holding a listening session that excluded whites. Now, if I have to explain why a minority group might occasionally want to exclude others in order to have an honest exchange, you’re probably not listening to me anyway. Well, to Klar, it was “blatantly illegal.” As a source, he cited [checks notes] the Allan Bakke case??!?
That’s the original challenge to affirmative action in college admissions, from all the way back in 1978. I don’t know why he thinks the ruling applies to a non-governmental community meeting, but whatevs.
Klar makes the case that “the BIPOC Crusade” and Black Lives Matter are purely outsider phenomena that had to be imported to Vermont. In fact, he used a racist dog-whistle in doing so: “Activist blacks who have suffered urban oppression are in short supply in Vermont, so they are bussed in.” Later, he calls the imported activists “carpetbaggers,” a notorious epithet of the post-Civil War South.
He specifically names as “carpetbaggers” Tyeastia Green, Burlington’s director of Racial Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, and UVM student/activist “Skylar Nash” (his name is “Skyler,” Jon boy.)
This piece features a quote from another European extremist, Ryszard Legutko, last seen having a scheduled lecture at Middlebury College canceled due to safety concerns. Campus activists had depicted Legutko, quite fairly it would seem, as “homophobic, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic.” Like the notorious Charles Murray experience at Middlebury, Legutko’s invitation came from the Alexander Hamilton Forum, a right-wing campus organization that gets at least some of its money from the Koch Brothers family of right-wing nonprofits.
Legutko, like Douglas Murray, sees intolerance and totalitarianism as a purely left-wing phenomenon.
Klar follows up with an Animal Farm reference, and depicts Green and Nash as “ideological elites, slurping at Vermont’s unguarded trough!”
Yep, they’re pigs. Nice.
The cherry on this shit sundae: Klar calls Green and Nash and their like “insensitive, deaf-eared bigots” who “insult and malign the indigenous population of rural Vermont.”
Did somebody pull a 180 on the definition of “indigenous population” when I wasn’t looking? Shall we ask the Abenaki about Vermont’s “indigenous population”?
The charitable explanation for John Klar is that he lives so far in the boonies, and his experience is so shuttered, that he doesn’t know any better. Unfortunately, he’s clearly got a brain. Also unfortunately, his own campaign biography says he has lived in many places and “traveled much” to “many countries.” So he’s not some blinkered dirt-road pure Vermonter.
So he’s got no excuse. He’s a racist, nativist xenophobe who tries to provoke fears of “the other”. By his rhetoric, he would seemingly like to build walls around Vermont and keep out those with different or uncomfortable ideas — or differently-colored skin.
Again, nearly 13,000 Vermonters thought this guy would make a great governor. That’s one measure of our state’s intolerance problem.