Texas-based screamer, Infowars founder, and Donald Trump enthusiast Alex Jones has been spinning conspiracy theories about the Rothschilds for some time now, but the talk radio host’s anti-Semitism reached ever greater levels of non-subtlety this week.
On his radio program Tuesday, Jones ripped into Rahm and Ezekiel Emanuel, declaring the Chicago mayor and his healthcare wonk brother to be the head of America’s “Jewish mafia.” The Emanuels, according to Jones, are the secret hand behind Uber and its allegedly dehumanizing ambitions, as well as the conspiracists who secretly devised the global tax that is the reported spike in Obamacare premiums. “[Rahm] would…tell Obama to shut up in cabinet meetings, I’m in command,” Jones said of the erstwhile White House Chief of Staff. “And Obama would do what he said.”
All this time, you might have thought Barack Obama was president between 2008 and 2012? Wrong again, sheep: Obama had merely been doing the Jewish mafia’s bidding.
Anti-Semitism is at home within Jones’s noxious world-view. The Jews are globalist anti-humans, gangsters out to usurp your nation and your life force. Not all of them, of course. But enough of them. One of the most alarming features of this election is that this hateful buffoonery actually matters now. Lest you think this is merely a rant against the Emanuel brothers, who are Jewish, Jones whines that he’s “been called out in hundreds of newspapers in the last month, as being anti-Semitic, because I talk about a global, corporate combine.” The global, corporate combine is not a Jewish conspiracy, but it is, in Jones’s telling, a conspiracy consisting of global, corporate Jews who secretly control everything.
This clip shouldn’t be a wakeup call: Jones is a 9/11 conspiracy theorists who says awful things about other American minority groups, Muslims included. But Jones is yet another American institution that this election season has exposed and demystified. In an electoral year marked by a nationwide geyser-burst of paranoia and dread, Jones could almost seem like a beacon of—well not sanity, obviously, but a type of insanity that could be safely enjoyed and perhaps even weirdly admired when cast alongside the more dangerous and less cartoonish version of itself.
Donald Trump is a higher-order threat to the American idea; the bunker-dwelling, nutritional supplement-hawking, doomsday-prepping Jones, who is by far the funnier and more oratorically dazzling of the two, appeared to the wishful viewer to be in on his own joke. Check out this volcanic and undeniably entertaining rant from last month.
At the outset, Jones swallows a fear-sob, his cry making a motor boat-like rattle as it plunges backwards down his throat. “It is an absolute fact that they are coming for all of us,” Jones says, stricken with confusion and pain. “And I am SO PISSED at the filth that runs our government,” he belts in capital letters, embarking on a rant that hardly loses momentum a full five or six minutes later. Jones is paranoia theater of the highest order. In watching that clip, I was reminded of the rapper DMX’s tendency to break down in sobs in the middle of his concerts.
But Jones is more than shtick (so is DMX, for the record). Jones has a real-world purchase that might verge on actual influence, and when Trump appeared on his show on December 2, 2015, long before that February’s Iowa caucus, the Republican front-runner was effusive in his praise. Since then, Trump has allegedly looked to Jones’s Infowars website for talking points, while Jones himself was a vocal figure at this summer’s Republican National Convention.
Moreover, there’s a theory of life and existence running through Jones’s paranoia. Probably the most famous clip of his is this forceful and stunningly economical statement of purpose, in which Jones celebrates the pure physicality of primal man—”I like to eat! I like to have children!”—then links his own proud primitivism to a recognizably American brand of reaction: “I’ve got the fire of human liberty!” he screams. “I’m setting fires everywhere!” The whole thing makes a terrifying kind of sense, positing, as it does, a connection between primal human nature, American notions of freedom, violence, and engorgement—enough sense that you have to think that Jones actually must believe some or even all of it.
Millions of voters have elevated one of Alex Jones’s kindred spirits to a leadership role of a major American political party, giving Jonesism a degree of widespread popularity and mainstream institutional protection. Whether Alex Jones and his ilk can be sent back down to their diet pill-stocked basements will be one of the biggest questions looming over American political life, however the country votes on November 8.
Related: Trump Watch [Tablet series]
Armin Rosen is a staff writer for Tablet magazine.