The hilariously misnamed Southern Poverty Law Center is a non-profit group that purports to fight “hate and bigotry” and to seek “justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.” Though it makes the most of the goodwill and reputation earned in the 1960s, today they exist mainly to spread hatred, incite violence, and grow their fundraising base. George Orwell, call your office.
While founded as a civil rights organization in 1971 Alabama, the SPLC has morphed gradually into an institution that targets anyone who dares disturb regnant liberal orthodoxies. Their website features a “Hate Map” that is updated annually and which shows the location of various “hate groups” around the country. Interspersed with neo-Nazi organizations and the dying vestiges of the Ku Klux Klan are groups such as the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values and the nationally recognized think-tank, Family Research Council.
These latter two organizations teach a Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage and argue for pro-life causes. Hate, apparently, is agreeing with President Obama’s public views on marriage up until mid-2012. It also means that, as a recent Gallup poll shows, a clear majority of Americans are horrible bigots who don’t deserve to air their views on abortion in the public square—let alone harbor such views in the first place.
Recently designated as a “hate” group by the SPLC is the Center for Immigration Studies, a DC-based think-tank run by immigration expert Mark Krikorian. CIS’s nefarious purpose according to its website is to “seek fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted.” But, as Krikorian recently pointed out in a Washington Post op-ed, CIS has been around since 1985. What, pray tell, has changed other than CIS having an individual more amenable to its views residing in the White House?
By blurring the lines of distinction between groups that have no place in civil society and groups who simply express different political views, the SPLC contributes to the rise of intolerance and the ever-growing divide between the ruling class and Americans who reside in flyover country.
That the SPLC’s pronouncements have caused violence should surprise no one. By labeling scholar Charles Murray a “white nationalist,” they helped give purpose to a “student” mob at Middlebury College, who shouted Murray down and assaulted professor Allison Stanger. Their “Hate Map” led a deranged man in 2012 to open fire in the lobby of the Family Research Council because the SPLC labeled the think-tank as “anti-gay.” Miraculously, only one security guard was injured in the ensuing melee. Future recipients of violence instigated by the SPLC may not be so lucky.
None of this seems to bother Morris Dees, the SPLC’s co-founder and chief trial attorney. Dees, a direct marketing guru who is married to his fifth wife, has made millions scaring liberals into thinking an American equivalent of the Third Reich is always just around the corner.
Carl M. Cannon of Real Clear Politics gives the lowdown on how Dees made out like a bandit:
“The business model is simple, albeit cynical, and best illustrated by its most famous case. In 1987, a Dees-led legal team won a $7 million judgment against the Ku Klux Klan in a wrongful death suit on behalf of Beulah Mae Donald, the mother of a 19-year-old kid murdered by members of the racist group. But the defendants’ total assets amounted to a building worth $52,000. That’s how much Mrs. Donald, who died the following year, received. But Dees reaped $9 million for the SPLC from fundraising solicitations about the case, including one showing a grisly photo of Michael Donald’s corpse.”
These strategies have allowed the SPLC to amass upwards of $300 million in its coffers. As the lyricist Ira Gershwin once wrote, nice work if you can get it.
Conservatives aren’t the only ones to notice Dees’ profligacy on his own behalf. Liberals such as Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein have launched withering critiques of Dees, with the former publishing a 2009 take down of Dees titled “King of the Hate Business.”
The SPLC is a hate group that traffics in liberalism’s worst tendencies: intolerance, closed-mindedness, an overly-legalistic mindset, and an urge to make other opinions unlawful. By increasing division and discord between citizens, they are only helping to rend our nation asunder.