This 'creepy' men-only group is feeding an 'apocalyptic view of America' to a conservative think tank
Founded in 1979, the Claremont Institute was once a mainstream conservative think tank along the lines of the Heritage Foundation. But in recent years, Claremont has taken an ultra-MAGA turn and become a bastion of extreme ideas and conspiracy theories.
A key figure in Claremont is attorney John C. Eastman, known for promoting a game plan for using fake electors to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.
In an article published by The Guardian on August 22, journalist Jason Wilson examines a "secret men-only" group with "financial ties" to Claremont: the Society for American Civic Renewal (SACR), founded by former industrialist Charles Haywood.
Wilson reports, "SACR's most recent IRS filing names Haywood as the national organization's principal officer… SACR's public-facing presence is confined to a slick one-page website advertising the organization's goal as 'civilizational renaissance' and a society 'with strong leadership committed to family and culture.' The site claims SACR is 'raising accountable leaders to help build thriving communities of free citizens' who will rebuild 'the frontier-conquering spirit of America.'"
Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project on Hate and Extremism, describes the website's rhetoric as "palingenetic ultra-nationalism," which, Wilson notes, is "a feature of fascism that proposes a revolution as a means of national rebirth."
Haywood, according to Wilson, has been featured on Claremont's podcasts. And Haywood is so far to the right that even Rod Dreher, a former American Conservative columnist, has described him as "seriously bats***t crazy."
Wilson reports, "One idea (Haywood) has repeatedly raised on the website is that he might serve as a 'warlord' at the head of an 'armed patronage network' or 'APN,' defined as an 'organizing device in conditions where central authority has broken down' in which the warlord's responsibility is 'the short- and long-term protection, military and otherwise, of those who recognize his authority and act, in part, at his behest.' The 'possibilities involving violence' that APNs might face, Haywood writes include 'more-or-less open warfare with the federal government, or some subset or remnant of it.'"
Haywood openly praised the January 6, 2021 rioters in an article published by The Worthy House on March 21, 2021. Haywood wrote, "The protest was pretty awesome in every way. Its most precise analog in American history…. is the Boston Tea Party.'
The Niskanen Center's Laura K. Field believes that Claremont has taken a dangerous turn — including its association with SACR.
Field told The Guardian, "Some of the Claremont Institute's leaders have taken on an apocalyptic view of America and think we're already in a situation where our society is more conflict-ridden than we were before the Civil War."
Field, discussing Claremont's ties to SACR, warned, "What's creepy about the local-level stuff is that this country has a history of local autocracy.… The way they're acting undermines the rule of law."
The Guardian's full report is available at this link.
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