Here’s something that’s flown completely under the radar: in a December episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Tim Dillon favorably quoted Steve Sailer, a prominent white supremacist writer and race science proponent, during a conversation in which he fully endorsed the racist Great Replacement conspiracy theory. You can find a clip of the conversation here. I will transcribe the relevant portion of the conversation below, both for the record and because you really do have to see it for yourself:
DILLON: Here's the thing, and I know this is gonna sound horrible, because we're—I think even if Jesus were to come back, he would even say, "Enough with the refugees." We gotta not fuck up the whole world and then take them all in. Like this writer Steve Sailer said, he had a great quote: "Invade the world, invite the world." Can't do it. We can't go around fucking everything up. And then all these people show up and we go, "Well, we owe them." I don't owe them. I didn't do it. I didn't bomb them. "Well, your tax dol—." It's like, we have to stop letting people destabilize all these countries and then let them in. We have floods of refugees here.
ROGAN: Why do you think the refugees are coming in from the southern border like they are? Why do you think they're allowing that to happen?
DILLON: It's economic migration. And the reason is that a lot of these business owners and rich people benefit from cheap labor. They want gardeners, they want nannies, they want chefs. They want people doing their nails. They want, if you own—
ROGAN: Do you think they've thought of that? And said, "Let's let them in so they can do our nails”?
DILLON: Of course they have. They don't wanna pay American wages. If you can hire someone at $3 an hour or whatever it is, off the books, illegal labor. You know how many construction projects go up with illegal labor? You know how many of these construction projects in Miami, they're building like 20 new towers in Miami with floating bathtubs for Bitcoin criminals. And God only knows, the Paul brothers, and God bless everybody. I like them. But they're building all these big, big towers in Miami. How's that? I'm not doing it. It's illegal labor.
ROGAN: Is it really?
DILLON: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.
ROGAN: Wow […] So how do you mitigate that? So you think that's literally why they're letting everyone in? You don't think it has anything to do with voting?
DILLON: Yes. It has a lot to do with voting.
ROGAN: It has to do with, allowing people to register to vote—
DILLON: Certain demographics are better for the Democrat party. And we know that. However, Republicans up until recently didn't care that much. 'Cause they thought they could turn Latinos Republican. And some of them will. Some Latinos are Catholics, and they go, "We don't wanna do gender monopoly and gender musical chairs or whatever games they're playing over there. We are gonna stick with." And a lot of Latinos don't vote. So you have a large percentage of people that don't subscribe. They go "The political system's bullshit, who cares?”
This is replacement theory: the belief, as propagated by the likes of Tucker Carlson and Elon Musk, that Democrats are facilitating mass immigration into the US from Latin America in order to consolidate their own power. As Carlson put it in 2020, per PBS:
“Demographic change is the key to the Democratic Party’s political ambitions,” Carlson said on the show last year. “In order to win and maintain power, Democrats plan to change the population of the country.”
More extreme versions of the theory, which has inspired violent extremists like the 2022 Buffalo mass shooter and demonstrators at 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, describe a global plot to replace white people. Again per PBS:
Simply put, the conspiracy theory says there’s a plot to diminish the influence of white people.
Believers say this goal is being achieved both through the immigration of nonwhite people into societies that have largely been dominated by white people, as well as through simple demographics, with white people having lower birth rates than other populations.
The conspiracy theory’s more racist adherents believe Jews are behind the so-called replacement plan: White nationalists marching at a Charlottesville, Virginia, rally that turned deadly in 2017 chanted “You will not replace us!” and “Jews will not replace us!”
One proponent of the theory is Steve Sailer, a white supremacist writer credited with devising the ideological underpinnings of the strategy that won Donald Trump the White House. Per New York:
After Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss to Barack Obama, the Republican establishment undertook a rigorous postmortem and, looking at demographic trends in the United States, determined that appealing to Hispanics was now a nuclear-level priority. And yet their successful candidate in the next election won by doing precisely the opposite. The Trump strategy looked an awful lot like the Sailer Strategy: the divisive but influential idea that the GOP could run up the electoral score by winning over working-class whites on issues like immigration, first proposed by the conservative writer Steve Sailer in 2000, and summarily rejected by establishment Republicans at the time. Now, 17 years and four presidential cycles later, Sailer, once made a pariah by mainstream conservatives, has quietly become one of the most influential thinkers on the American right.
Sailer is also known for the axiom Dillon quoted above:
On foreign policy, too, Sailer has been a pervasive if subtle presence on the right. During the mid-2000s, he popularized the phrase “Invade the World, Invite the World” to parody the apparent bipartisan foreign policy consensus of the last two decades around large-scale military intervention abroad and large-scale immigration at home. It took some time, but by the summer of 2016, the mood of the country had caught up with Sailer. Breitbart began using “Invade the World, Invite the World” to describe the ideology of John McCain and Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump’s stated hostility to elites’ perceived “globalist” overreach proved to be a major asset in his campaign.
I cannot stress this enough: Sailer is a white supremacist. There is no ambiguity about it. In the late 90s he founded the Human Biodiversity Institute, a think tank dedicated to various pseudoscientific endeavors, for instance race science, which holds that black people are genetically inferior to white people. To this day he writes regularly for the far-right websites VDARE and Taki’s Magazine. Here’s an excerpt from a column he published on VDARE a few days ago:
Public swimming pools are a wonderful amenity and important for teaching swimming to prevent drowning. Blacks need to learn to swim more so that they don’t drown so much in motel swimming pools on team trips.
On the other hand, mixed race / mixed sex swimming hasn’t always worked out so well. Swimming requires form-fitting swim suits. Different cultures have different track records of training their young males to be able to deal suavely with being in the water with young females in swimsuits. The Swiss are pretty good at it, but Muslims and blacks less so.
I’m not totally against black-only swimming pool sessions. Black boys pestering nonblack girls in swimsuits has long been a problem at public swimming pools, and black girls don’t like being compared to nonblack girls in bikinis.
And here’s an excerpt from a column he published in Taki’s in November:
“The World Is Becoming More African,” trumpets The New York Times, only eight years after I started warning that the United Nations’ projections for sub-Saharan Africa’s population growth suggest a massive problem by the middle of this century, one that is comparable in scale to climate change but is being talked about orders of magnitude less often.
In a decade when fertility is plunging worrisomely in competent countries like South Korea, Africa appears set to grow rapidly for decades, promising the world a blacker future
Of course, the future is unwritten. I wrote in 2015 about U.N. estimates that the sub-Saharan population would continue to soar through 2100:
“Africa is almost certainly not going to add over three billion residents over the next 85 years. Something else will happen instead, ideally a decline in African fertility to sustainable levels rather than mass migrations or a rise in the death rate.”
The prospect of an endless flow of surplus Africans into Europe’s great cities, turning Barcelona into Baltimore and Salzburg into St. Louis, is depressing, to say the least.
Is it possible that all Tim Dillon knows of Steve Sailer is the single quote he brought up to Rogan? Sure, anything’s possible. But I don’t think it’s the case. As it turns out, this wasn’t the first time he’s whipped out that line. He also cited it in an October 14th episode of his own podcast, during a much longer anti-immigration rant that reveals more than a passing flirtation with contemporary nativist rhetoric. The relevant passage is below, but I’ll include a bit of lead-up for context. What you should know is that Dillon is discussing an October demonstration outside the Sydney Opera House that reportedly included the chant “gas the Jews,” which authorities recently determined to in fact be “where’s the Jews.” As you’ll see, Dillon appears to be operating under the assumption that these protesters were immigrants; as best I can tell, this is not based in any evidence.
I'm gonna be honest. I don't think it's ever gonna work. I don't think it's ever gonna work. I don't know if you bring in all these people from all over the world, into America, that have all these different cultures, some of them are gonna assimilate and respect Western culture, some of them will not. And you're gonna have to deal with that. And they're gonna be chanting "death to this one" and "death to that one." There is just not much you are gonna be able to do if you bring in all of these different cultures with the hope that some of them are going to assimilate. Because cultures have assimilated in the past. That seems to be the hope. But then some of them are gonna chant "Gas the Jews" outside of the Opera House.
So everybody that says, "Well, if we said one thing about immigration." If people said, "Well, immigration might have some negatives," every person, every celeb, every left shitlib on Twitter was like, “What do you mean, you Nazi scum?" And they were like, "No, everybody comes to these places for the same reason. Because their daughter wants to see Barbie." And then fast forward, some of those people are chanting "Gas the Jews" outside of a opera house. Are they being good Australians?
It hasn't been a stellar week for multiculturalism. It just hasn't been. It doesn't mean there can't be better weeks. There can be some good weeks. This has not been a great week for multiculturalism. Doesn't mean that it's a completely doomed project. It means that you're just going to live with some level of it not working out quite as well as you thought. It's like a marriage. It's just not gonna work out quite as well as you thought. Because when you're high and you're just tweeting and you're like, "Everyone's coming to my country to listen to my cunt," which is what all these people thought. Everybody thought everybody was coming here, they wanna see U2 at The Sphere. Just like we do. And then some of them actually just wanted to go and chant "Gas the Jews." That's what some of them wanted to do there. Was that a test when everybody came in? Was there, "What's your idea of a fun Saturday night? Are you a homebody or do you wanna go outside the Opera House and yell ‘Gas the Jews’?”
If you think it's a good idea to keep invading, as Steve Sailer said—you might not like Steve Sailer. Most of you retards don't know who he is. Here's the point. The people that would hate me for mentioning his name don't know who he is. Here's the point. If you're gonna continually invade the world and then invite the world, if you're gonna knock over all these countries, prop up all these dictators, the Middle East does cling to some an archaic form of religion, a theocracy. But a lot of that's because we propped up a lot of these goons to begin with. 'Cause they were doing business with us. So they oppressed their people and kept their mouth shut and they were able to do our bidding and work with our multinational corporations. Iran is a perfect example from that. You look at a progressive country that goes, that turns on a dime and now is a huge problem. An incubator of fundamentalist philosophy.
To sum up: in response to antisemitic chants in Australia in the wake of the Hamas attacks, Dillon concludes that multiculturalism in America may be a doomed project. Also, he doesn’t think it’s a viable project anyhow. Also, he seems to think “multiculturalism” means immigrants assimilating to and "respecting" “Western culture.” I’m not a “Webster’s dictionary defines X as Y” guy, but I'm not so sure that's an accepted definition.
Four years ago I described Dillon as comedy’s Tucker Carlson. I’m honestly kind of surprised by how thoroughly he’s grown into the role. The man, who I must stress is a comedian, has lately devoted his platform to all the same reactionary complaints Carlson spent years making on Fox News, from lengthy incoherent rants about trans people to lengthy incoherent rants about immigration. Just the other week he appeared to take pleasure in defending images of border patrol agents chasing down migrants with lassos:
But these are people that are enforcing the law in the way it has been enforced forever. Whipping and wrangling. And this is what's going on in Texas. You have people out there, because the people are coming in illegally and they're breaking a law. Listen, whether you like it or not, that's what's happening. And then the sheriffs in Texas, or the border patrol, I don't know who these people are, I don't know who it is. Walker, Texas Ranger. I don't know. But they're rangers. These are real live Texas law enforcement. And they're on horseback and they're doing what they do. And it looks terrible to people that are living, like, people in New York City, they read the New York Times, they open it and go "Oh my, do you see what they're doing in Texas? They're whipping the Mexicans in Texas that are coming over the border.”
How else? And I'm not saying that we should whip people, but there's gotta be some enforcement of the border. And it is Texas. You get what I mean? I don't know what they can do. They're on a horse. They could pull out a gun and shoot the people. No one would like that. No one's gonna be happy with that. YouTube's not even happy I just said it. I guarantee you they're not even happy with that. These freaks in Venice aren't even happy with that I said it. But I'm not—but what would they do? They're on a horse. What are they going to do?
A few minutes later, after admitting that as “someone who has a little bit of money” he’s unaffected by these issues, Dillon veers again into talking points that sound suspiciously like replacement theory:
So the benefits to the rich of immigration are a ton. It is actually the middle class and the lower class that bear the brunt of the negative impacts of immigration. Those are the people who are more likely to deal with some of the negative. They have increased competition for work. The state and local resources are being drained by just too many people. They are dealing with crowded hospitals, crowded schools. They're potentially dealing with an uptick in crime. Not to say that all the immigrants are criminals, but there are people that come to this country. They don't have skills. And some of those people inevitably are going to have to make money, have to make some type of living illegally, like many of our own citizens make a living illegally.
The biggest issue is going to be the mass migration of people from one area to another. That could be due to political instability, economic conditions, climate change. All the political upheaval in Europe and America is all directly related to this singular issue that countries cannot take an unending stream of immigrants without some type of backlash from the citizens that live in those countries. This is a fact. People tend to like their countries. They tend to like the way things are. That doesn't make them racist, doesn't make them Nazis. They just like familiarity. They like tradition. They like things the way they are. So the United States has already taken in over a hundred million immigrants in the last, you know, a hundred years. There's no other country that's absorbed more people from more different cultures than the United States of America.
But we have a lot of problems. Everyone knows it. We've got wealth inequality. Okay? We've got a small, you know, a concentration of wealth in smaller and smaller hands. We have automation and AI disrupting work. We have a tremendous amount of debt from foolhardy wars we shouldn't have fought. We're maintaining a very expensive empire all around the world. You know, at a certain point you have to wonder about the amount of people that you can just bring in. This is just a fact. This is not—I love different cultures. I come from New York City. I don't care. I don't want to live in a white ethnostate. It has no appeal to me. I don't care. I think, though, that you have to do it in a way that makes people understand the cost-benefit analysis of what's happening.
I must once again stress that this is all white nationalism, full stop. It is no different than what you’ll hear from Tucker Carlson or any of the populist far-right politicians gaining power in Europe. In fact, that “people tend to like their countries” bit sounds remarkably similar to an exchange between Dave Smith and neo-Nazi Richard Spencer that I wrote about in 2020:
A few minutes later, Smith suggested the right’s bigotry isn’t all that unreasonable: “The idea that if you reject the idea of these demographic changes and say, ‘I don’t like that,’ that you’re now the most evil person in the world… If you went to Italy and said ‘Hey everyone, in 50 years this is gonna be mostly French,’ they’d be like ‘No, that’s bad,’” he said. “And I don’t think that makes them evil for wanting to maintain their country.”
I’m not here to go line-by-line through Dillon’s comments and fact-check them. If you’re reading this newsletter in 2024, I hope you don’t need me to explain what makes extremist rhetoric extremist, even if the speaker insists they’re not a Nazi. The point is how far down the rabbit hole Dillon has gone. This man is an extremely popular comedian who just headlined Carnegie Hall during the New York Comedy Festival and will be featured at the Netflix Is A Joke Festival in May. Mere weeks ago he spouted a racist conspiracy theory on the most popular podcast in the US—whose host just renewed his partnership with Spotify in a $250 million deal—while citing a white supremacist he’s praised before. He doesn’t believe multicultural societies can thrive, and he doesn’t think it’s racist to take issue with "demographic change." This is all very bad.
I’m reminded of something a former late night writer once told me. As she described it, an under-appreciated problem of the genre is that its writers basically sit around all day watching cable news, then writing jokes and sketches based on what they saw. As a result, the “comedy” we find in late night describes a reality none of us actually live in, a world of manufactured crises, propaganda narratives, and scandals that affect maybe two people. It seems to me that much the same thing is happening in the right-wing comedy sphere, where people like Dillon and Rogan mainline right-wing media and regurgitate it for their own audiences. (I recently watched an episode of Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast where Shane Gillis said he’d fallen asleep reading Douglas Murray, the neoconservative British writer who once described Muslims in Europe as “a demographic time-bomb.”) These men offer frightening examples of what the rabbit hole actually, physically does to a person. It drives them mad.
The quoted passages in this newsletter have been lightly edited to remove filler words/phrases and false starts. If you find any inaccuracies, please let me know.